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My siblings and I grew up in the environment of a country store. I don’t know how my parents managed the long hours we were open for business. They opened at 7:00 am and closed at 10:00 pm. However, during the summer during the hottest part, they would arrange for help to run the store and take us on a trip to the northern part of the state.
The elevation in Arizona varies quite a bit, and the temperature would drop considerably. I wonder how my dad found all the different state parks for us to camp out. This one particular summer, three of my mom’s younger siblings were able to go with us. We had a car (no seatbelts), and it had the five of us along with our three cousins. Velvet and I were the youngest, so we were able to sit in the front with our parents. We sang songs and played some of the more popular car games. Mom packed enough food and drinks for a month, along with cookers, coolers, and tents/bedding in the small trailer we pulled along behind us.
The park we make camp in was in the pines on the edge of a beautiful lake. There was a rope swing attached to a massive tree on the lakeshore. After we got the campsite set up, my parents were going into a small nearby town just a short way down the road to visit some friends of theirs. It was understood the older children were to watch after the smaller kids while they were gone. We played some board games for a while, and I had to go to the bathroom. So I wandered up the mountainside to the outhouse. I took a little longer than usual, and the kids that were supposed to be watching me began calling for me. I found that amusing, so I decided to walk up the dirt road to the little town just down the dirt road and see my parents.
It began to get dark, and a thunderstorm was brewing. I thought I had turned back toward camp until I came upon a substantial dead tree, and I remembered passing it on the way to the park. By this time, it was lightning, thundering, and very dark. I started running between the flashes of lightning. It was strange in a way; every step I took seemed to be in slow motion, and my stride was very far apart. Just as it began to sprinkle a little, I saw a pair of headlights a far distance off. Somehow, I knew to stay on the road, and it’s a good thing I did. I knew my dad was going to pull his belt off and give me a well-deserved whipping! The headlights came to a halt in front of me, and dad came running out to me, knelt, and took me in his arms. He hugged me so tight I could hardly breathe, and then he picked me up and carried me to the safety of the vehicle where my entire family was waiting.
That kind of experience taught me many things. The conclusion reminds me of the way the Lord takes care of us. When we go astray, He sends the Angels after us to help us get back on the right road of our lives. Then He gives us a big God hug and we’re back in fellowship with Him!