By Reba Phelps
Summer vacation looked a little different for this single mom and her daughters this year. We traded in our accustomed relaxing sound of waves crashing onto a white sandy beach for the breathtaking snowcapped mountainous terrain, geysers, bison and crystal clear creeks.
As a family, we have never traveled west together. It truly was a monumental task for us to take the three day road journey, one-way, into land we have never seen. At times, it was intensely distracting to stay focused on the Interstate. The rocky mountainsides and the winding rivers were constantly vying for my attention. I had to fight the urge to let my 14 year old continue her driver’s education and get behind the wheel of the Buick….I clearly remember my parents letting me drive at that age but Kathryn wanted no part of it.
Because of her refusal to drive I put her on critter patrol. She had to announce every critter she saw that was not on the normal list in Louisiana.
There was so much to see along the way. Historical markers, that included a stop on the Pony Express and one of the last stops on the Oregon Trail. Fields and fields chock full of elk and bison. We were in heaven. Oh, did I mention that the temperatures never reached above 75 and there was zero humidity? There was one point where Kathryn actually thought she was losing hair because her mane had suddenly become manageable and tame.
Our largest stop along the way was Pikes Peak. I did my Goggle research before taking the accent up the mountain so I was well aware of the steepness that was not guarded by guardrails and good sense. On our way into the park we were stopped by a Park Ranger. She showed me how use low gears for the descent, advised us to turn off the air conditioner, and just enjoy the road while paying attention to other drivers and critters that may spook us off of the road.
Once she instilled a little fear….we opened the sunroof and we were on our way in the little white Buick.
We stopped at a few places and took selfies to prove we were there. We stopped at the designated overlooks and just stared at God’s majestic work. It was truly indescribable beauty to behold. I refused to look down as I was driving up but I noticed that Kathryn had scooted to the middle of the car and Meredith was almost in my lap the higher we climbed while our ears constantly popped.
It was also noticeable that the cars coming down the mountain were hugging the yellow line and creeping over to my side. I could not understand why there was a sudden shift in the atmosphere. My daughters were scared and they were scrambling for a Christian radio station. For some reason, at point, I decided to look past the passenger’s side of the window and straight down all at the same time.
My eyes could not bear to see how far away we were from ground level. Suddenly, I was helping to locate that radio station to provide the comfort we needed. I knew I had not read of any deaths on this mountain, so people make it up and down all the time and live to tell about it. At this time I could feel my legs locking up and possibly shaking a bit. Being the adult in the car that my daughters looked up to, I had to get myself together. We all started singing the first song on Sirius XM, The Message, simultaneously.
“You, are still my God, you’re still my rock, my only hope Lord, you’re all I got, in every valley and mountaintop….I say Hallelujah, you’re still my God.”
At this point we were settling in for the last one thousand feet of driving and we had calmed down and felt certain that we were going to live. We pulled over at the final stopping point while still singing the song. We were giddy with excited and relief.
As other vehicles were pulling in at the same time, we instantly noticed that the vehicle next to us was singing the exact same song, evidently listening to the same radio station as well. We could not help but chuckle at each other when we exited our cars. The mother and her sons in the other car said, “You too?”
I simply replied, “Yes, we started praying and singing a few miles back.” It was a knowing glance between two moms who were very thankful to be in the presence of fellow believers witnessing the beauty that God created for his children to enjoy.
We were also thanking God for the perfect soundtrack he provided in the background to help cast out our fear and worry. But, doesn’t he have a sense of humor?
In every valley and mountain top…….You’re still my God.
“My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved my enemies.”
2 Samuel 22:3-4