Special Thanks to: Jim at Applied GMC (www.appliedgmc.com) and Gabe Livingston (http://www.livingstonfamilyadventures.com)

Saturday morning we started prepping everything to leave our campground and head to the Lake House to have Christmas with Michael's family. Everyone was excited and giddy. Michael had just fixed our brake issue with the RV last weekend and was excited to test it out. The kids were excited to spend time with the Grandparents and for a change of scenery. Nothing could have prepared us for what was about to happen though...

The RV was having some difficulties but we thought it was just because she sat in the cold for a couple weeks and would get better when she warmed up. We were so wrong. About a mile outside of the campground she died completely. For the first time we were stuck on the side of the road. We systematically went through each system trying to figure out the problem. We racked our brains, discussed all possibilities, tried and tried, but no love was to be had. Michael was stressed because he was worried about the kids and I. I was stressed because I was worried about his frustration, and because I just started a new job and was supposed to train that night. It never looks good to miss work, it looks even worse when you just started. I also really like this job, it works great time wise, and I really like my boss. For four hours we tried numerous things before breaking down and deciding we needed to try and get the RV towed back to the campground.

I called around but only one person in this very small rural town had a tow truck that could tow an RV, and he was heading to a Christmas party. We couldn't just leave the RV, so we started searching the Internet. I texted my boss to explain what was going on and he was super understanding about everything. I felt horrible about it, but there wasn't anything else I could do. About that time I thought about Jim at Applied GMC who has always said if you need help, call. Even though they were in Florida perhaps they could give us some suggestions. So we called and Jim was still there. He said it could either be a clogged fuel line or a fuel filter that was under the carburetor (which we never knew existed). We tried switching to the Auxiliary tank but still nothing. About this time we had completely run down the battery trying to start it and had to start jumping it with the van.

The triplets had been cooped up in the van for almost 6 hours. They had done so well, but they are only 2 (almost 3), so it wore on them. They were cranky, tired, and frustrated, which all came out as fits, screaming, and crying. So I did my best to distract them and play the best we could. Michael called Jim back and he explained step by step how to get to the filter and get it off. Then he called back with the part number we needed and where to go. We put the kids in the RV with Dad and I sped off to get the part. Being super hopeful this was our fix due to the shear wretched condition of this filter, what Jim said, and what the guys at Autozone said, when I got back I put the kids back in their seats in the van. Michael changed the filter and still nothing.

The kids were screaming and crying to leave, Michael was at the point of giving up, and I was completely worn out. I was kneel on the floor in the back of the van when all the sorrow and trials we have faced this year washed over me. Combined with the hopelessness that I felt at that very moment, I burst into full body sobs. I couldn't control it, tears just poured down my face. The triplets have never really seen me cry before and instantly the van got super quiet except for my crying. They stared at me like I had lost my mind. I buried my face in my hands, slumped forward, and started saying out loud, "Please help us, God. I give this over to you. Please help us, God." I kept saying it over and over, and then the kids started saying it with me. "Please help us, God." It was something to her that coming out of these little mouths. I got up, dried my eyes, hugged each of the kids and told them I loved them, and went to the front seat continuing to ask for help out loud.

About that time Michael came to the window and said he was going to take it apart again and check for a clog behind it, which he forgot to do before. After little while he tried to start it again, but still nothing. Quiet tears streaming down my face, the kids and I prayed aloud again. Then it happened. The RV started and stayed running. I was in utter disbelief and extremely grateful. It was the best sound. The kids and I started cheering as Dad emerged from the RV to disconnect the jumper cables and get us underway. After 8 hours of sheer panic we were finally headed to family. 

I titled this Kindness of Strangers and Divine Intervention, because if it wasn't for both, we would still be stuck on the side of the road. Jim at Applied GMC did not have to take the time to walk us through everything, and help us, because he was getting nothing in return besides helping another GMC motorhome owner. He did though, and without his help we never would have found the problem. Gabe, my boss, did not have to be understanding and try to make me feel better about missing training, especially since I just started. He did though and it really helped aliviate my stress where my job was concerned. God did not have to listen to our pleas for help, but I will always be convinced that he did. It was all of these that helped get us get off the side of that road. It was all of these that helped give our family hope and got us to our larger family for Christmas. 

It was a horrible situation but it was also a learning experience. Not just about the RV but about people and God. Strangers can make a big difference in our lives and what may seem just a simple gesture to them can make a world of difference to others. I have always believed that and have tried to help others any way that I could. This time it was us that desperately needed help in a few areas, and it was provided by those who did not know us or knew us very little. As far as my lesson on God. I grew up learning that you pray in silence, in your mind. I started to wonder a couple of weeks ago, what if God doesn't listen to our thoughts because they are so chaotic and so many of us? What if God only listens when we speak out loud. So a couple of weeks ago, while driving I talked to God out loud, asking for guidance and a sign for the direction we should go. The next day I learned about a job opportunity I could do while on the road, that I enjoy, and that worked with the children's schedule. This time I prayed for help out loud and we found our way back on the road. So perhaps if we really want God to hear us, no matter what the words, we should be saying them out loud. 

I thanked God out-loud more times then I can count. I also thanked Jim and Gabe, though they probably have no idea how thankful I truly am to them. Sometimes though you just have to have faith that they do. Sometimes you just have to have faith that God hears you and helps. Sometimes you just have to have faith period. 

So once again, thank you to all. Thank you for helping ease my stress. Thank you for taking the time to help. Thank you for listening.