“One can believe intellectually in the efficacy of prayer and never do any praying.”      – Catherine Marshall

Our Praycation has put us on the move again; Mike and I are heading East now. As we drove through the Idaho Panhandle and into Montana, we’ve been filled with nostalgia.  So many old things to look at … so many past seasons and events to contemplate.

Mike has been very patient with me asking over and over, “Should we get that shot?”  He now just nods, as I flip the u-turn and drive back in hopes of re-capturing  what I saw just moments ago. (It’s like a disease that only other photographers will understand.)

One of the most fascinating things we’ve observed so far is a rock quarry in the middle of nowhere, lined up with old car after old car.

I’m not sure what it is about Montana, but the state appears to be one endless collection of old cars; it is a living museum of expired automobiles and abandoned buildings. (My next blog will share photos of some of our favorite old buildings.)

Rock Quarry in MT

Cars in Rock Quarry (MT)

“It is strange how we hold on to the pieces of the past while we wait for our futures.”

-Ally Condie, Matched

Rock Quarry Cars

Quarry full of cars (MT)

“Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were.”

– Marcel Proust

Quarry full of Cars (MT)

Quarry full of cars (MT)

Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,  I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Philippians 3:13b,14

Cars in a Quarry

I’m always torn when it comes to  nostalgia:  Looking back is good for learning lessons and for celebrating wonders and successes.  Living in the past, however, is a burdensome habit …. makes it kinda hard to embrace new people and moments when my heart and hands are full of days that will never return, especially when those memories are nothing more than the dead weight of resentment and anger.

While we’ve had many  opportunities to look backwards, many of the people we talk to are looking forward.  The number one prayer need that Mike and I encounter has been that we pray for the children of those we meet.  Another Praycation Encounter emphasized the concern of parents for their children.

This encounter involved a change in our itinerary.  Instead of driving straight across Idaho, we decided, at the last minute, on the more scenic route through Sandpoint.  Live music outside of an Italian restaurant lured Mike and I inside for lunch along the river, where we had an outdoor patio and a busy waitress to ourselves.

“Ask her,” Mike urged.  This has become code, for sharing  our “Praycation mission” and asking if there is something we could pray for.

The waitress had a strange mix of joy and pain in her eyes.  “You know, I used to be very angry at God.  I didn’t really know Him, and I definitely didn’t know Jesus,  just that Something was out there. I had this idea that every path was going to somehow lead to Him, although I could never seem to find Him. ”

She then told us how her daughter, 16 at the time, was in a horrific accident with no hope of recovering because of the severe brain damage.  Devastated, the woman screamed out her pain to this God whom she didn’t understand.

Miraculously, her daughter began to communicate with her mother through sign language.  This distraught woman learned that her daughter had seen Jesus.

“Did He send you back because He has something for you to do?”

“No,” the girl replied.

“Do you want to come back?”

“No,” came the answer again.

“Then why has He sent you back?”

“For you,” the girl replied.

Mike and I teared up as this mother shared about dropping to her knees on the spot and repenting. “That was eight years ago and my life has been filled with some of the worse challenges you could imagine, but the anger and bitterness is out of my life.  As I have learned of Christ’s love and forgiveness, I have learned to truly love people who have betrayed me. I don’t know how to explain it.”

Her prayer request is for her daughter who is in a wheel chair and who has speech defects, but who lives independently in a different city. This daughter is experiencing a difficult season at present and needs encouragement.

And so, we pray for a young woman named Brianna, and for the many like her whom God has touched with His mercy, yet who struggle from time to time in this broken world.

Thank You for loving the broken hearted and the lonely.  May You be our rock in unsteady times. May courage find a way to hearts, even when we are most weary and uncertain.  May hope fill us again and again.