If you know anything about Pat and myself, you know this past year has been a real faith walk. God's given us just enough to get by. Just recently we were able to go to San Diego. Pat had two speaking engagements back to back the same evening in the Los Angeles area and we figured, since we were close, we'd go to our old stompin' grounds, San Diego. Note to self: never book two speaking engagements within two and a half hours of each other. It was crazy!
Of course, at the first place (thank the Lord we got there two hours early) many technical glitches. Pat made it to the podium just in time. Folks there were gracious and kind, when the "question and answer" time was cut short. I was starting look a bit glassy-eyed by the time we got to the second place and I couldn't imagine how Pat found the energy for the second talk.
After that we drive to San Diego, sure it's only another hour and a half, why not? Pat's driving so, I book a hotel did I say hotel? Pardonne moi. I meant la Motel de Seis. Did I mention we brought the dogs? Yes, let's add another layer of difficulty. Two dogs...Jack Russells....Yeah. So I book a hotel and there's no refunds because it's so late. I check with Pat and book it for two days.
We get there and it's not like other Motel 6's. It's dark (we can see the bridge to Tijuana) and we had to kind of do a weird U-turn over a dirt road to get there --and the Motel 6 sign is literally duct taped over the old Day's Inn sign. It's creepy, but I think, okay, we sleep with one eye open and maybe they'll let us cancel the second night. We walk in the lobby and there are idols with evidence that they're, you know, worshipped. Kinda' creepy, right?
What you don't know about our family (especially Pat) is that we've made a rule about going to places with idols. We don't. We don't shop at them, eat at them or sleep in them. I mean places that are actually worshipping them. No judgment if you do; everyone has their call from God on that issue. Some minister from the inside. Some pray for them.
It's just that, since the girls were little and we read about the idols that God found detestable in the Bible and the girls were horrified when we ate at places with them, we kinda' made a decision to stop. We, mostly meaning Pat....especially tonight...when it was after midnight and every Motel 6 was filled with people celebrating Mardi Gras. And, the worst for me as a mom? No refunds. I know it was just a dumb idol, but if there was ever a time it was calling me to sleep it was that night (not really, just my imagination :)). I mean, God knew that, had we known we wouldn't have slept there, but it was too late right? Wrong.
So, we sadly turned away and went to the gas station across the street to try and plead our cause. No go. No way. I called back. The person on the line wanted to know why we didn't want to stay there? I handed the phone to Pat. He meekly explained to the person on the other line about the "no idols" standard. The person was actually understanding, but said there were no refunds, not even for the second night. We paid for two nights and that's what they were charging us. Finally, around 1 a.m. we found another Motel 6 a half hour away that had room. I felt so tired and so...abandoned by God. I mean, really, Lord? No refunds?
"Where are you in all this, Lord? Here we are trying to serve You on a shoestring and this happened?" As I looked at the Motel 6 sign getting smaller in the rearview mirror I finally said, "Well, it's God's money and if He want us to spend it this way, okay."
The next night it so happened we were at the same gas station at the exact same time of early morning, and I wished I could have gone back in time and told them that everything was going to work out all right. The next morning, Pat had talked to another person from the chain who turned out to be a believer (we think) and they agreed to pay for one day. Then we had a terrific day playing at the beach, eating yogurt and all manner of fun events that ended us up right where we had been lamenting 24 hours. What a difference a day makes.
To top it off, on the way home the man who invited Pat to speak offered to pay for our Motel. God didn't have to do that, but He gave a gift to this spoiled child of His for her husband living up to His convictions. God is good. Even if He had made us pay, He already paid the ultimate price so I could spend eternity with Him. Everything I have to pay is just loose change.
Joshua 24:15 King James Version (KJV)
15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.