On my way home from a successful Walmart trip with my 3-year-old and baby, I drove by a field so full of white geese that I thought it was a patch of snow or those small, white calf huts at first. It was remarkable. I had never seen so many geese.
I was overcome by the beauty of it and how amazing God is to create these creatures to migrate and travel in flocks. I have to find a way to write about this in a blog post, I thought. I love when God delivers writing inspiration in everyday moments.
Both kids were asleep, so I decided to try to get a closer look and a picture to go with my would-be post. I turned down a gravel road and stopped for a couple of pictures and videos on my phone.
With the kiddos still sleeping, I decided to try another road. I turned onto the highway again and went back a mile. I turned on another country road. This one was rock at the beginning but then turned into gravel—okay, maybe dirt. (Since I grew up on country roads, I probably should have turned around the moment I noticed the layer of rock ended, but those birds were calling me).
I wanted to get up the hill so I could have a good view of the thousands of geese in the field. However, the tires started to spin and the mud flew. You see, we had had several inches of rain the week before, so things were a little soggy.
I realized that as amazing as the birds were, the mud was a little more than I had bargained for.
I began to pray (in my head and aloud), “God please help me.” I stayed remarkably calm as my tires spun and the mud sucked me in. I really didn't think I was getting out of there, and honestly, there's no way I should have.
At no point was I afraid for our lives—my dignity, maybe. As I rocked back and forth spinning my tires, I contemplated the embarrassment of telling my husband. I considered my alternate escape options—most involved trudging through the thick, sloppy mess of mud with a 3-year-old and 3-month-old. The calm began to fade, and I began to feel panicked. I envisioned a tractor rumbling down the road, a kind farmer in the area hooking up a chain, and pulling my and my still sleeping children to dry ground. But there was no farmer. And there didn’t seem to be any options. Except to pray. So, I continued to pray.
Suddenly, the van turned and I was facing the direction I had come from.
It felt like a miracle. I sat in the driver’s seat amazed to be facing the right direction to get me out of this mess. It literally felt like God’s hand reached down and picked up my van as if it were no more than a Hot Wheels car and turned it around. I have no other explanation for the sudden spin and change in direction.
I thanked God but knew I wasn't done yet. After more spinning tires and unresponsive gas pedal pushing, I was about to give up, call someone (I still didn’t know who) to come get me, and begin the walk of shame through the mud with two kids.
Then, the tires gained some traction, and we began to move in the right direction. In my rearview mirror, I saw the mess I left behind (two weeks later, the marks were still visible from the highway). And I saw the mesmerizing birds.
I stopped before turning on the highway and thanked God for his protection and help in getting unstuck in the mud.
It was only by God’s grace that I got out of that mess.
As I sat in my house with my kids after unpacking the groceries, I realized that the fact my van was parked in the driveway, my kids were safe, and no one was covered in mud or traumatized was nothing short of a miracle.
God didn't heal a terminal illness, change water into wine, or send me a burning bush, but he spoke to me that day with a miracle.
He told me that He will take care of me even when I make a stupid decision to get a closer look at some silly geese. He told me that He can do anything and so much more than I have ever imagined.
It may sound crazy, but I know God’s presence was in that van keeping me calm and my kids sleeping. He was pushing my van from the back, nudging me closer to the highway. He was behind the wheel turning it and straightening it at just the right times. When the van suddenly turned to face the right direction, it really felt like his great big, almighty hand reached down from heaven and spun us around. I still can’t find words to explain it any better.
What's the message for those who aren't stupid enough to drive down a muddy road to get a better look at migrating geese?
God can and will perform everyday miracles in your life.
I think of the Toby Mac song, “Beyond Me.” God has plans for me and you that we can’t even dream up. God used my not-stuck in the mud miracle to give me assurance that He can and will use me in ways so much bigger than I understand.
Maybe it’s through my writing. Maybe 5,000 people will read it. Maybe only five, but God will make sure it’s the right five. The ones who need to hear this message.
God wants you. He wants to do things in your life bigger than you ever imagined, but you have to give Him control. Open your heart and surrender to Him, let Him reach down and grab your van on the muddy road to turn it in the right direction. I knew I couldn’t get out of that mess by myself, so I had to turn to Him. Rely on the Lord, trust in Him when you find yourself on a muddy road in life. Call out to Him and recognize His presence. Let Him have control. He is far more capable than you and me.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)
I pray that my life is way beyond me; instead, Lord, let it be about you and how you can use me. Thank you Father for taking over when I drive on muddy roads. Thank you for everyday miracles and the way you take care of me. Help me to always rely on you and seek you when I get stuck.
In Jesus’ Name,
*Originally published January 2016