I recently found myself on a field trip with my first grader. Quite honestly, a field trip I had been dreading every since the paperwork came home with the details. The trip was to Rickwood Caverns to explore the cave, do some gem mining and eat lunch. Sounds easy enough, right? Well let me tell you a bit about the writer of the blog post you are reading. I am EXTREMELY claustrophobic, like really extremely.
The day was beautiful and the kids were super excited! I was a terrified mom looking for a way to avoid going in the cave! We made our way to gem mining and talked with the guide about the things we would see inside the cave. The guides were very detailed in their list of rock formations we would see and then came the talk about bats and what to do should we encounter one of these little creatures. We began our walk up a hill to the entrance of the cavern. I will have to admit that I was lagging behind on purpose! I was hoping my sweet little girl would ease in the cavern with her friends and her teacher and forget that mom was there for a little while. Not so lucky. Just as the group was making their way in, my little one spotted me and motioned for me to come with her. We had talked at home about how mom might have to stay outside so she was somewhat prepared for me to wait for her and then it came… the puppy dogs eyes, the soft voice… “Mom please come with me, it will be fine.” Who can say no to that? Not this mom!
We entered the cavern and it was just as I had anticipated… TIGHT and dark. I made my way to the back of the group and left a substantial amount of space between myself and the pack of curious little people. There was a very kind gentleman named Hank that was the rear guide who was so kind to accompany me step for step along our journey. He was kind enough to tell me when we were about to enter an especially tight spot and he gave me plenty of space as we made our way through. He kept saying, “Ma’am you are doing great, you are almost there.”
Hank was very encouraging and had given me a piece of advice “Don’t look up, focus on the space where you are.” What Hank did not know was that I had scripture rolling through my head the entire way! The scripture that I kept repeating was from Ps. 23 “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures.” I will be honest at that moment THAT was it, green pastures… WIDE OPEN SPACES!! Do you know what claustrophobic people need… WIDE OPEN SPACES! The rest of our journey through the cavern led to walking 175 feet down (a tidbit of information they could have kept to themselves!!!) We made our way to the steps to the exit and we were informed that there were 110 steps to the exit. Hank looked at me and asked me if I was going to be ok to make the steps to get out. Um, yes!!! My reply was “Hank, if it’s your job to keep up with me, I am going to be taking those steps two at a time so hang on!!”
You are reading this blog so you obviously know that I made it out alive (barely)! So whats the take away? I put myself in a place that I really should not have been, but God met me there in His faithfulness and grace and literally walked me out of darkness. I kept repeating over and over again as I navigated my way through “You are the God of wide open spaces.” I said it over and over again until I could breathe and focus on the steps I needed to take. I could feel peace wash over me. I could feel HIS peace wash over me. God is faithful even when we are not. He is good even when we don’t deserve it. His word does not return void and there is power in scripture, MUCH power. He is the God of yesterday, today, tomorrow… and yes, He is the God of wide open spaces!!!