If you had not guessed it already by my Facebook posts, the final destination of our current family vacation was Tucson, Arizona. And if you read my previous blog, you know that we embarked on this journey to fulfill a promise my husband made to someone he loves very much, his grandma. However, we arrived in the most roundabout way and through it we were once again reminded by God to trust Him, even in the smallest of things.
When we started planning this vacation we were hoping to catch a Space-A flight or find a remarkably cheap deal on an RV rental because we are on a tight budget and therefore we never made airline reservations. It was a big risk, but the airfares would have put us beyond our budget so we decided to trust God and let Him work out the details. When the day got closer to our departure date, we were delighted to find out that there were two Space-A flights to El Paso, TX. However, upon arriving at the terminal, we were told the flight was full and there was no room for us. With no other published flights, we thought that our only other option was to just hit the road in our Subaru Outback. After the second day on the road and only advancing about 8 hours with our girls asking to stop for potty breaks every 30-45 minutes, we were both feeling pretty discouraged. I have to admit that my faith wavered and the idea of arriving in Arizona with our sanity intact was looking doubtful. And then we did something crazy.
While approaching Dayton, OH, my husband told me that two Space-A flights had just been published from McGuire AFB to Yuma, AZ. I said, “You have to be kidding me!” If we had waited a few more days, we could have taken one of those flights and still have been there earlier than driving. He then asked me, “Do you want to turn around?” I was not sure, but when we asked our seven-year-old, she gave us a resounding “YES!” What did we do? We turned around. We stopped at a water park resort that day and had a blast. The next day, we drove 8 hours in one day. There was no complaining from the girls and no asking for potty breaks every five minutes. I do not think those were even our children. We made it home in time to spend a full day at our house and sleep in our own beds before flying out Monday morning.
When we arrived at the terminal (again), they confirmed that there was still room on the flights to Yuma and that we would be able to depart on the flight. I was greatly relieved. What kind of transport did we take? We rode on a KC-10, an air refuel-er. It had to be one of the smoothest flights I have ever taken. The flight was perfect for traveling with a toddler. Since we were the only “civilians” on the flight, there was plenty of room for them to walk around and even run a little bit. When my toddler was tired, I was able to lay her out on two seats for her to fall asleep for 2 hours! The pilots let my seven-year-old see the cockpit and gave her a little flying “tutorial.” She also got to see the boom operators station, the area used to control the refueling of other aircraft. When she was done on her tour she came running to me and said, “Mommy, I have to be the luckiest girl in PA.” Even after such a great flight, there were a few details that needed to be worked out.
One of the things that was pressing on our minds before arriving was how we were going to get from the passenger terminal to our hotel on the military base. Although the walk would have only been a 20-30 minute walk, in 108 degree weather with 2 kids and luggage, it sounded like a nightmare. However, when the shuttle driver picked us up from the aircraft to take us to the passenger terminal, he offered to drive us to the hotel. Even better than that, our hotel room was ready two hours earlier than check-in time so instead of trying to figure out what to do with our girls for 3 hours in Yuma, we had one hour to eat lunch and walk around the exchange (retail store on a military base). And if nothing else could go our way, when my husband went to pick up the rental car, they were out of the car we had selected on our reservation so they gave us a free upgrade. God is good. He is so good.
Looking back at how this whole thing started I could see why the El Paso flights were not the best choice. Even if we had been able to get on, it was a commercial flight filled to capacity with reservists. My girls would have been restrained to their seats for 4-5 hours which would have made it more uncomfortable for all of us. I have to admit that when El Paso was looking bleak, we did not stop to pray and ask God whether we should wait or drive there. Despite our failure to ask God for His guidance, the trip to Ohio was painful enough to get us to turn around. In our impatience to get going, we didn’t even ask the guy at the terminal if there were other flight possibilities to the AZ area that were unpublished. We just relied on the published information, even though we knew better. However, once we decided to turn around, everything went so much smoother.
That is how life is. You don’t always make the right decision, but when you give it to God he has a way of turning you around and keep you heading in the right direction. It might be a little painful on the way, but you will get there with His help. We also learned that with every decision, we need to stop, pray and ask for direction. I am convinced that if we would have done that, we would have known never to hit the road.
Thank you God for your great mercy and always taking care of us even the smallest detail.
Now to wait for his direction on how we are going to make it back. Stay tuned.