People may make plans in their minds,
but the Lord decides what they will do.
When I was twelve years old my family loaded up the car and headed out on a road trip. My sister and I were excited to get to spend a part of our summer with our cousins in Waco, TX…so much so that we hardly even fought with one another in the back of the car. We played “I Spy”, engaged in thumb wars, read (in my case) and slept (in my sister’s) in order to pass the time.
At some point, however, the trip began to feel unusually long to me. I swiped the map from my parents and, upon close inspection, realized to my horror that we were traveling in the wrong direction. Not only were we nowhere close to Waco, we were only an hour away from the Texas/Louisiana border.
Not wanting to process the magnitude of my parent’s error alone, I leaned over to my eleven-year-old sister and pointed out our location on the map. Let’s call this mistake number one. As it turned out, mistake number one was not that big of a deal…Emily looked blankly at the map…which led to mistake number two. Keeping my finger on our current location, I used the other hand to point to the home town of our beloved cousins and said, in my best-soap-opera-cliffhanger voice:
“This. Is. Waco.”
What followed was a tantrum of epic, and possibly biblical, proportions. To be fair, the perceived ferocity could be attributed, in part, to our proximity to one another in the backseat of the car. But, let me tell you, it was a humdinger: angry rants, hot tears, thrashing, sobbing, gnashing of teeth, the whole nine yards. Don’t get me wrong, I was equally furious at the thought of all of the wasted time we’d already spent in the car and the idea of driving allllll the way back to Waco was unbearable to me. I just wasn’t as….expressive?…as my sister.
Finally, my dad had enough and pulled onto the shoulder of the road to get control over us. Once my sister’s outrage had been reduced to lip-sucking hiccups, my parents broke the news to us: we were not going to Waco to visit the cousins.
We were going to Disney World.
My sister and I sat there in stunned silence. We were so full of righteous anger over things not going our way- not going the way they were supposed to go – that we couldn’t process what they were telling us. As it turned out, my parents had hoped to get farther along in the trip before announcing the surprise to us. While visiting family was always wonderful, they had other plans for us, different plans for us, experiences that we hadn’t even thought to dream about.
They wanted to give us more.
It’s been a little over a week since I returned from Rwanda and I’ve spent that time processing all of my experiences. At times, it has been overwhelming and every time I thought about consolidating those experiences into a post I became overwhelmed.
Because it’s impossible.
There is just no way to get it all into a single post. Every day offered its’ own story. Some were hysterical. Many were beautiful. And a few were almost unbearably heartbreaking. But each story held meaning and deserves to be shared. So, I’ve decided to write each day (maybe two) as their own post. Over the next few weeks, I’ll post the activities and pictures. I hope, in the end, you’ll feel as if you were there.
Going is always better when you’re with friends.
I have to admit, I had my own ideas about this trip – how it would happen, where I would go, what I would experience – and, from the get-go, God took that map I’d written in my heart, crumpled it up and tossed it over His shoulder.
For God had His own map, you see.
And it was so, so much more.
Fields along the path to the True Vineyard sheep farm in Kinigi.