I smiled at the lady behind the check-in desk. I had been driving for over 6 hours with three of my children across Canada. Two days earlier we had driven over ten hours from Michigan to Quebec. I was tired of hotels, tired of the car and getting sick of granola bars! Despite how I felt about the travel, I put a big smile on my face when the motel co-owner asked, “Did you travel so far by yourself with all those children?” A smile and nod were my response to her, yet my thoughts went wild as I laid in bed that night. My thoughts went to the many times I have traveled “by myself” with my children. Two day drives to Texas or to Florida, long drives to North Carolina, Chicago, flights to various beach vacations, including notorious Miami. What I find interesting is that when I have traveled alone to Europe, Texas, Washington DC and various places those trips do not bring about the concern that I have received from the trips I have taken with my children. Many times concerned women have commented on the fact that I am traveling alone with my children. It makes me wonder, is something wrong with my judgement? If these women think traveling with your children alone is inappropriate, should I as well?
I laid in bed and began running these familiar thoughts through my head…. Half way through it dawned on me that the belief held by these skeptics of my parenting skills were a reflection of their beliefs, their fear -not mine. They believe a woman is unable to protect, care for, drive and maintain a vehicle all at the same time. Now my thoughts switched to the many crises’ I have encountered while traveling. Flat tires, radiator issues, vomiting children and potty issues, yikes let’s not even think about those! Smugly I laid in bed and thought only a woman could handle the unique situations traveling with children can present. My proudest moment was when I had my tire replaced and had two children get haircuts all at the same time. A huge revelation now came to me. “Wonder Woman that is what I am, who needs a man….. Well I do, since it’s my loving husband back at home working right now, paying for this trip. But still- while traveling I am doing it all. Supermom has got it!”
Still the worried look I saw on her face that evening I have seen before. It’s more than vehicle worry, it’s a safety issue. Women feel safer when their prince charming is with them. I understand the feeling. I love it when my husband is with me. Despite all the wonder woman abilities and supermom savvy I have, when my Superman is beside me I feel content and safe. I would be lying to say there have not been moments while traveling alone with the children when I have wanted my husband and in some cases a loaded gun, with me. Safety, in this day and age with reports of terrorism and child trafficking, is one of the most important issues for parents. So why do I continue to travel despite the uncomfortable situations that I have encountered and the continued reports I read. I laid in bed and continued this thought journey. At this point I found myself asking God, “Why I am able to travel with confidence…” and then the pride fell away.
I am not Wonder Woman, my bracelets do nothing but jangle as I wear them. I am definitely not Supermom, rather Monster Mommy if you wake me too early in the morning. No, I as began seeking my Father to answer my pondering, I realized I am nothing without Him. I am simply a child of God. Just as my children look to their father and I to protect them, I look to my Father to answer all of my late night questions. I expect Him to surround us with angels. To have the Holy Spirit whisper in my ear, urging me when to pull off for a caffeinated drink or snack when my eye lids get tired. And to give us favor with the check-in clerk as I request a roll away when the oldest child decides, at the last minute, he will come along for the ride.
You see when I travel with my children I am not “by myself” rather I am surrounded by His presence. God gave a message to Joshua in Deut 31:6, 8 He said, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you… The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” We think because we are not tasked with leading all of Israel that this message is not for us, but we are wrong. As parents we are tasked with leading God’s children just as Joshua was. While I may not be leading thousands, the four I do have are just as precious to God as those Joshua led. Repeatedly in God’s Word we read, “Do not be afraid.” One of my favorite passages is in Matthew 28 where twice the women are told by the angel who rolled away the stone and Jesus Himself, “Do not be afraid.” You see by the time I drifted off to sleep I was no longer thinking of the fear others feel, or the confidence I walk in, instead I was rejoicing in the power and ability my Father has in keeping me and my children safe as we travel. The next day as I thought about the question that has been posed to me so many times before, I was so very thankful for the true answer to it. No I am not traveling with my children “by myself” rather I am traveling with my Father, the Holy Spirit and the many angels assigned to each one of us. The car seemed a bit more crowed as we headed home, and that thought made me smile once again.