Sometimes God Prepares You When You’re Not Looking

Everything we go through can make us better. God uses both good and bad experiences to grow us, shape us and prepare us for what lies ahead. And oftentimes He does that when we’re not looking.

Two weeks from today my husband and I and our three little munchkins are venturing out on a 17 hour road trip to Iowa. Last year when we made the trek, our littles were 3, 2 and 5 months. This time they will be 4, 3 and 17 months (that’s almost a year and half for you non-month counting people).

It feels somewhat less intimidating this time around because we’ve actually done it before. However this year, our little guy who wasn’t even crawling yet last year is now running, constantly on the move and in full-blown boy mode. It is no easy feat to keep him strapped into a car seat for a 45 minute trip, let alone a cross country voyage.

I thought I was preparing well, pulling out all of our activities from last year and stocking up on some cheap dollar bin items sure to keep the little humans busy for at least 5 minutes intervals. But God knew I needed more prep than having good stuff packed in the car.

Yesterday we had to venture across town (about a 45 minute drive) for an appointment for one of the kids. No biggie. I have to take all three of the little rascals to appointments in far away places fairly often, so I didn’t think too much of it. Just another day.

However, God had other plans.

Zadok trying very hard to be a little gentleman and open the door for his sisters.

Any time I go somewhere with all of the kids, it doesn’t matter how early we’re ready, we still somehow manage to leave late. It could be a last minute potty break, explosive diaper, an independent shoe-putter-on-er or a determined seat belt buckler or door opener. If are ready to go 30 minutes early, we might stand a chance to get to our destination on time.

This day was par for the course. Ready 15 minutes early, we still left the driveway five minutes late. And you know what happens when you’re late, right?

We hit construction traffic. An 18 wheeler blocking all directions in the middle of an intersection because he misjudged his turn and had to do a 15 point turn to back up and make it through. While we’re waiting in the traffic in the middle of nowhere, one of my girls pipes up from the back seat, “Mommy, my tummy hurts. I think I have to go potty.”

I pleaded with her to try and hold it. She’s mighty tough and said she could. Once we broke free from the traffic it was another ten minutes to find a place with a restroom. I parked, unbuckled all three kids, and locked hand-in-hand we marched into the restaurant bathroom. While my little girl took her sweet time and sang her potty song for all to hear, my other little girl attempted to keep Zadok out of all the nasty spots he tried to get into in that stall. **Taking three littles to a public toilet is always an adventure in and of itself.**

Finally, a flush, 4 pairs of hands washed and a troop march back to the mom-mobile. I buckled all three back in, passed out snacks and water and got back on the road to arrive at the appointment quite late. Fortunately they were all very kind and understanding.

After the appointment as I checked out, I had to keep one child from running out the front door and second from taking snacks from another baby in the waiting room while the third was staring zombie-eyed at the television.

When we got back to the car, the kids were all hangry for lunch. In case you are not familiar with this term, let me help you out because it will soon become part of your daily vocabulary:

Hangry– when you are so hungry that you become angry.

We can be a hangry family at times, so I knew this might happen. Since I’m not of fan of dragging everyone out to eat all tired and grouchy, we just wiped hands and broke out more snacks and waters. A few minutes into the drive home, Zadok got mad and threw his pacifier and quickly became inconsolable. So much so, that I pulled over to hunt for the pacifier that had become wedged between the seat and the door. With a baby now soothed, I crawled back over the seats and we started for home again.

You never know what God will teach you through your kids… and road trips.

It was smooth sailing until about 5 miles from our house when we got stuck in a stand still of more random traffic. Zadok had fallen asleep which would later end up completely ruining his afternoon nap.

All of this happened before lunch. It was a long morning. But I was proud of myself for taking each debacle in stride, jumping into action and not getting angry. Any time we travel, far away or across town, issues get amplified and more dramatic. I’ve learned to roll with it and always pack extras of everything.

I didn’t ask for or expect yesterday’s little training day, but I’m thankful for it because I definitely needed to be reminded of what it’s going to take for a smooth 17 hour road trip to Grandma’s house in two weeks.

So don’t be surprised if your day turns out different than you expect or hope. It doesn’t mean it was just a bad or rough day. God might be preparing you for something bigger, something greater that’s just around the corner.

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