We just returned from the best trip we ever had—second to our honeymoon. But it wasn’t just a vacation. We traveled almost 700 miles to see people we’d never met and to stay with their friends whom we’d never seen. It was the most adventurous thing Michael and I have done in years.
What brought a couple with little money, lots of stress, and complicated physical infirmities to the Colorado Rockies? It all started one day when I was looking for something online related to our blog and accidentally bumped into a very similar blog called AlwaysSickAlwaysLoved.com.
The site was run by a godly Christian couple, Michael and Margaret Robble. They shared a very similar chronic illness experience to us and had a similar perspective on their situation. But after 25 years of Margaret’s illness, they were further along in their journey and had even written a book about their story. Reading a post or two on their blog felt like reading my own thoughts and experiences. Oh to find such kindred spirits!
After commenting a few times on their posts, the Robbles contacted us by email and we started talking on the phone on a fairly regular basis, exchanging prayer requests and stories about our current struggles. After months of contact, we wondered how it might be possible to meet in person. Margaret’s illness bound them to Colorado and our lack of money tied us to Texas.
Amazingly, we found the cheapest flight we’ve ever seen: two round-trip tickets to Colorado for a total of $143.70 (including taxes and fees). The Robbles said, “If you can get here, we’ll provide you a place to stay.” After figuring out how we could leave our kids for four days, Michael scooped up his birthday money and purchased the tickets.
Finding a place to stay for us Hardys is not a simple feat. Michael has multiple chemical sensitivity—a condition where his body overreacts to chemicals in everyday products. Exposure to the chemicals in perfumes, colognes, fragranced laundry detergent, soaps, lotions, new carpet/furniture (I could go on and on) for extended periods makes him very sick. This illness causes endless logistical issues.
But in a providential moment, the Robbles mentioned our situation to some of their church friends, one of whom had the same chemical sensitivity issue. These friends, the Peabodys, generously offered their chemical-free home for us to stay in!
Michael and I got to spend every day of the trip in the mountains, hiking around lakeside forests, laughing by rushing creeks, and pointing out chipmunks and native birds. Each afternoon we visited with our friends, the Robbles, exchanging stories and prayer requests like always—but this time face to face.
Some things cannot be communicated over the phone. And a couple’s faith-filled perseverance through severe trial is one of those things that must be observed in person. Our lives were touched by the Robbles, their heart toward us, and their faithfulness to carry on while trusting God in their daily lives. Margaret, as she copes with pain, hindered abilities, and difficulty seeing and hearing. And Michael, as he lovingly and sacrificially cares for his wife with a good attitude and light-hearted spirit.
I could say more about the ways God blessed us through the kindness of others. How the Peabodys stayed up late talking with us and encouraging us in our journey, and fed us lavishly at breakfast each morning. How another Denver church member drove us to and from the airport. A car that was loaned to us so we didn’t have to rent. A hundred dollars anonymously donated to cover our travel expenses. And the many ways our friends accommodated Michael’s health needs along the way.
God allows us to go through many days of uncertainty and sickness, and we see countless ways He shows His love in those times. But every once in a while, He offers sacred moments that leave us in awe of His goodness and show how well He knows what will encourage us.
This trip was definitely one of those sacred moments that takes our breath away. From one little internet search that led us to a humble couple’s blog, lifelong friends and a memorable trip to Colorado were born. It’s a reminder that God can take the mundane of our days and weave them into a great adventure.
Just like He did with this trip, God is orchestrating our lives in ways we could never have imagined.
A framed picture hung on the wall at the Peabody home says it best:
Life is God’s novel. Let Him write it.
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” ~Ephesians 3:20-21