It must have been after the 34th red light that we were approaching turned green that I asked Elizabeth what was going on. So many perfect things had been happening during our 5 days together, and she replied, "It's simply the favor of God."
It hit me then that I dwell in the continuous presence of a loving God. So often I consider Him stingy or fickle, but that is not His heart . Not ever. I began opening my eyes to purposefully observe the goodness of God in my life. You wouldn't believe the things I discovered in those 5 days unless I put them here in a list...
It first started with Elizabeth's flight into Portland. I knew I would have to pick her up via public transportation, but I was afraid we would get back to late to catch a bus home. Well, that was the same day President Obama flew into Portland, so all public transportation was running more frequently and longer.
We decided to rent a car for the weekend so we could get around to see more places. Enterprise was running a special for a car for only $10/day of the weekend. They came and picked us up from our apt, took us to their office, realized they didn't have an economy car for us, so gave us a free upgrade on the spot. While we were thanking them, we asked if we could add an extra driver for just one of the 3 days. The employees tried to figure this out for a few minutes, were having trouble with the computer system, and just said we could add the extra driver for the whole weekend for free!! (instead of the extra $10/day per driver, which would have doubled our rental cost).
Next, the weather for the past 3 weeks had been stellar. Absolutely crisp, beautiful fall days. Wednesday morning's forecast for the days my sister would be here was dismal at best. Perhaps Thursday would be fine, Friday would have only spotty rain, but be prepared for torrential storms over and through the entire weekend. I was devastated, but decided to pray for favorable weather. Inexplicably (outside the Father's love), every day we had was beautiful. In fact, the worst day weather wise was probably that Thursday. It never rained while we were outside hiking, walking, browsing, eating, whatever... NEVER. We would get in the rental car, start the engine, and the rain would start falling. As we approached our next stop, the rain would begin to let up, and once we were parked, the sun was breaking through. This is no joke. It seriously happened from Thursday to Monday am.
So, before I even moved to Portland, I had this dream that I was in this pod-like thing that floated over a river as we were entering Portland. My sister Elizabeth was in this type of roller coaster ride with me, and my parents and younger sister Sarah were in one ahead of us. I had no idea what this dream was, but I had told Elizabeth about it. When I moved into my new apartment a few weeks ago, I noticed this cable wire that ran up this huge hill. And there, running along the wires, over the Willammette River, overlooking the city, were aerial trams. It was so surreal seeing something I never even knew about materialize in front of me. Obviously, when Liz came to Portland, one of our first trips was to ride on this tram. The ticket we bought that day, on the 22nd, had the time of 2:22. crrraaaazzzyyy.
We spent one day looking for thrift stores to help outfit my apartment. Needless to say, we kept getting lost, but here's the weird thing: every time we had to do a u-turn, we ended up doing one on a corner that had a thrift shop just waiting for us. One we hadn't even known existed.
Once, on a road detour, we were crunched for time and yet had to head down a road with a railroad track. Just as we approached, the lights flash, the barriers go down, and we groan as we see not only just a train approach, but a cargo train coming towards us. This was going to be a long wait. The engine passed, the first car, the second boxcar, the third... then it stopped. We begin to groan again only to stop in wonder as the strangest thing began to happen. The conductor looked out the window, saw the way was clear, and started backing up!!! It was as if God had said, "hey, a couple of my girls need to get past this section quickly... why don't you just back up, let them pass, and then go on your way again?" I'm not kidding, the train slowly backed up in front of us, the lights stopped flashing, and the barriers were raised. I have never seen anything like it in my life.
Sales were another thing that we were being blessed with. My apartment hadn't had some key ingredients in it yet, and we kept finding the things we wanted on sale, or readily available. I was going to buy a tv one day, but decided to just get it the next day. We walked in the next day and it was on sale... so much so that my added 2 year warranty was basically free.
Hiking was big on our list, but as the forecast was calling for rain, we weren't sure we'd be able to get around much on foot. So we decided on a whim to take the "ultra scenic" drive to a hiking spot, and as we did, we came upon waterfall after waterfall after sweeping vistas of mountain ranges. It was stunning, awe filled, and completely rain free.
Elizabeth's flight out from PDX left at 6am Monday morning. Since we were told to bring the car back with no fuel in it (we had prepaid for a gas refill), we were driving with it close to empty. We thought for sure we'd have enough left to get to the airport since it told us we were 22 miles away to empty. But, as we were driving, at 4:30 am, it became apparent that we definitely wouldn't be making it to the airport (or at least I wouldn't be making it back) unless we found a gas station open somewhere. Just as we realized this, a gas station shows up on the left hand side. We pulled in, put $5 in, and made it safely for the rest of the driving. We never passed another gas station there or back.
There were so many other things, friendly strangers, on time for buses, Elizabeth's cold healing, that just memorialized the special long weekend we had together. It was such a reminder of the goodness of our Father, and His sweet blessings that are poured upon us every day.