“Let’s go camping!” My husband, Mike, suggested as we discussed our summer plans.
After spending the last five years pursuing our now 16-year-old son’s adoption from Colombia, we eagerly awaited a relaxing, low-key summer. Three months lay in front of us to settle down and learn how to be the family God created us to be.
“Camping sounds splendid. Let’s do it!” I quickly agreed, so we booked ourselves for a weekend in Austin, Texas as soon as school got out. We then planned a second camping trip to Tyler State Park a month later. We hoped to borrow a friend’s pop-up camper as we’d done many times in the past. (You didn’t really think I could spend a week in a tent, did you?)
With our camping plans in place and some money to spare, Mike’s surprising news thrilled me.
“A guy I used to work with came looking for me today. He has a small RV that he can’t use anymore, and he offered to sell it to me for about $3,000. What do you think? Is it something we can afford? I doubt we’ll ever run in to this kind of deal again.” His eyes looked at me with this hopeful grin, yet he knew I’d never been known to splurge that kind of money in the past, even for a deal like that.
“Only $3,000? Sure! Can we get it before our camping trip two weeks from now?” My complete change in character surprised him.
A week later, Mike drove home with a beautiful twenty-six foot RV hooked up behind his truck. We ended up paying the guy $3800 for it. We wouldn’t learn until later just how great of a deal we’d really gotten.
Over the next week, I stocked it with random dishes, utensils, camping gear, and bedding. Mike and I had our own little master bedroom, while the couch and table made into beds for the boys to sleep. We had a small bathroom and a fully equipped kitchenette.
Our first trip consisted of three days at Lake Travis in Austin, Texas. In three short days, we roasted marshmallows with the couple who introduced us to our son, had dinner with one of Juan David’s friends also adopted from his orphanage, and watched the boys play soccer with two other Colombian boys adopted years earlier.
After three days, we drove to Lake Whitney to spend a few quieter days together as a family, swimming all day and watching the sun set in the evenings. We enjoyed seeing our boys spend quality time together without any electronic devices. They began to appreciate each other’s company, despite the four year age difference between them.
Despite all the fun we had, I struggled with having spent that money rather than putting it in a secure savings account. Mike assured me we could liquidate the camper if we had an emergency and come out with more cash than we paid for it.
A month later, we pulled the camper to Tyler State Park. My anxiety settled as we relaxed, floating around the lake all day long. Then Mike cooked over the fire each night. Mike and I began dreaming of future trips we could take, as a family or as a couple to just get away. Yes, this little camper was a true blessing.
I buried myself in a book for the hour long drive back home, only to be jolted from my concentration as we finally made it to our exit, only fifteen minutes from home.
A car from behind barreled right into our beautiful house on wheels. Mike swerved to the right, but the impact still pushed the truck right into a small SUV in front of us. Glass everywhere, the camper destroyed beyond repair, and the first driver’s car totaled. Thankfully, no one got hurt.
Accidents happen. Stuff can be replaced. But we drove the rest of the way home bewildered, knowing we’d seen the last of our camping adventures in our little RV. The driver of the car that hit us didn’t have insurance, and Mike had failed to insure the camper under our own insurance. The truck damage was covered under Uninsured Motorists, but not the camper. We got two trips out of it and visited three Texas lakes. So much for that blessing.
“When God takes something away, He usually has something better waiting.” Mike had such a humble attitude, even though he felt especially humiliated when he went back to work.
I struggled to follow his lead. I wished we’d never bought that camper. I was angry with God for teasing us. I fumed at Mike for not insuring it. I detested the first driver for not paying attention. I no longer saw the blessings in those two trips. I only saw loss. I had to pray my way through the struggle over the weeks to come. That irreparable camper sat in the driveway behind the house, constantly mocking me. What a waste.
The insurance covered the damage to the truck but could only offer $500 for the “trailer”. Neither one of us felt at peace to attempt suing the uninsured driver, so we waited for the insurance to call when they had the $500 check ready.
About a month after the accident, Mike sent me an urgent text around midday. “Rachelle, call me! I need to tell you about something immediately!”
“The insurance reviewed our claim again and decided to cover all of the damage to the camper!” His tearful words brought tears to my eyes.
The insurance settled with us for double the amount we paid for the camper. After they took out the deductible and towing fee, we received a check for $7,000. A week later, we met a Christian couple selling their own family camper for $7500. Six years newer and five feet longer with a slideout that doubled the living area. An extra room on the back held four bunk beds, in addition to the couch and table that made into beds, and the master bedroom. Plenty of room for everyone, even the dogs and a few guests. The cabinets held bedding for all seven beds, plus the kitchen came fully stocked. We fell in love with it and offered them $7200. Not only did the guy take our offer, he lowered it even more, down to the $7,000 that the insurance gave us. A complete upgrade, not even a penny more than our original investment.
Jehovah Jireh. My God provides, even more than I could ever ask or imagine.
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Read our adoption story, in pieces, on my book blog: www.unexpectedtearsbook.blogspot.com
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(The sequel, Painful Waiting, is still in production.)