Billings - My New Home - Part 3  
Billings – My New Home Part 3
(To see parts 1 and 2, click on the 2 previous days)

On the way home from church, I stopped by Wal * Mart to pick up some groceries (notice that I was now calling Billings home). I replaced the cute high-heeled flip-flops with shoes that didn’t match my dress and I used the electric shopping cart to shop.

When I got back to the camper, I sat down to finish my work. I thanked God that it was finally warm. I set up my computer on the picnic table outside and started typing away.

I worked for a couple of hours and was in a zone when a family backed in next door, with a pop up camper, much like mine at home. Three of their four beautiful, playful children bounded out of the car, full of cooped up energy. Wearily, the mother got out holding the 4th child.

God, is this a temptation? How am I going to get finished when there are children to play with?

God smiled and whispered, “Work with me here I’m trying to delight you. It will all get done.”

Children, you need to be quiet. This woman was working peacefully until we arrived,” the mother scolded.

Luke 18:16-17
Let these children alone. Don't get between them and me. These children are the kingdom's pride and joy. Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in."
(from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)

Knowing it was a crime for children to have to be quiet at a campground I looked up and smiled. “Children are just what I need. I’m missing my grandson. May I hold your baby while you set up?”

I don’t know who was more delighted, 15 month old Eric John or me. Eric John looked at Belle and went to giggling. Belle barked and he jumped. Eric John, Belle, and I played while the other 3 children rushed to the river. “Don’t go in the water,” the mom nervously called after them.

When the children got back from the river and the parents retrieved Eric John, I pulled out my bubble machine and we played. “I like bubbles,” 6-year-old Kate said philosophically. “They’re fun.”

“I do too,” I agreed. “They always make me smile.” 9-year-old Kaley scratched Belle’s head.

11-year-old Lee said, “I like bubbles but I also like dogs. I want a dog but Mom says we don’t need one.”

“Well, dogs are a lot of work,” I offered in consolation.

“Shhh. Don’t tell my mom that,” he shushed quickly.

I laughed. “I personally think they’re worth the work. Maybe I’ll tell her that.” He looked grateful.

When the children left, it was dark and I was starving. How did it get to be 9:00? It took until 12:30 but I breathed a sigh of relief as I clicked send to budget brochure and galleys. I groaned as I looked at the clock. I had to be at Billings RV by 8:30 AM and it would take an hour to ready the camper for bed.

The next morning, I actually arrived 15 early and gushed as I thanked them for working me in. “Can you also change the oil in the generator?” I asked timidly.

“Sure can,” the smiling man behind the desk answered. “It will be about 15 minutes before we can get to you.”

“Where can I wait?” I asked. “I have work to do?”

“We don’t have a waiting room. Why don’t you just wait in your RV? You can even stay there while Matt works on your RV. Feel free to walk around and look at our units for sale.”

Smart man, I thought. Aloud I said, “You think I may be ready to trade after all these problems.” He just smiled. I went back to Happy and started working.

Matt finally came over, asked for the keys, and drove Happy, Belle, and me to the back of the service area. This is the second time on this trip, I’ve let a strange man drive me somewhere, I thought without any nervousness at all.

As Matt worked, I told him a little about how he wound up in an RV with a dog and a 52-year-old woman. Belle went up to Matt in anticipation of attention.

“She never does that,” I said, surprised. She’s usually shy around new people.

“I like dogs,” he explained, as he petted Belle. “I have a St. Bernard.”

“That’s a great dog to have this far north,” I said, impressed. “I hope you have a big yard.”

“I do.”

Eventually I got around to asking Matt if he was a Christian.

“No,” he said honestly. “I was raised Catholic but I guess it didn’t take. I only went because my mother made me. I never really liked church.”

“Did you go through confirmation?”

“Yes,” he said. “I did everything that Catholics do, but I fought it.”

“So you’ve never met Christ personally or asked Him into your life?”

“No, can’t say as if I have,” he said, still quite friendly.

“So I don’t see a ring,” I said, changing the subject. “Are you married? Do you have children?” That was a lot of questions. I think I was babbling again.

“I’m only 22. I’m too young for all that.”

I went to laughing. “I’ve met a lot of people younger than you who have all of that, and not necessarily in the expected order.”

“Really,” he said sounding surprised.

“Is there someone special?” I probed.

“No, and that’s a problem. I wish there was. It’s time to be thinking about that.”

“What are you doing to meet decent women?’

“I guess not much,” he admitted.

“I could tell you where to meet wonderful women but you aren’t going to like it,” I offered mysteriously.

“Where?” he asked curiously.

“Church,” I said smugly.

That got his attention“Church? You want me to go to church to meet women?” he asked incredulously.

“Sure thing,” I laughed. “God doesn’t care why you go to church. He only wants you there. My husband started going in high school just so he could date me on weeknights. He’s been going ever since. Do you believe in God? ”

“Yes, I guess I do.”

“What about Jesus?” I asked.

“Aren’t God and Jesus pretty much the same thing?”

“You listened more in church then you thought you did,” I teased. “Yes, God has three parts, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They are all part of one God. If you never asked Jesus into your life, you don’t know what you’re missing. If there were more to this God stuff than you learned about, would you want to know it?”

“Sure,” he nodded, still working on the sink. Water went everywhere and he picked up his blue paper towels and wiped it up.

Was I sacrificing my sink to talk about God? I kept talking. “Why don’t you try asking God to reveal Himself to you?” Matt didn’t offer any encouragement and I thought I’d said enough. “Do you like this kind of work?”

“Yes but I don’t think I want to do it for the rest of my life.”

“What do you want to do?”

“I’m trying to figure that out. I have two years of college but I don’t like school. I’m 22 so it seems as if I need to figure this out pretty soon. I should be doing more with my life. Your sink is done. I’m going to work on the generator.” I followed him outside.

“I’m guessing you want to work with your hands,” I said as we continued to talk. “You’re not the kind of person who could sit at a desk.”

“You’re right about that, ” he said as he crawled under Happy. He went to laughing. “This is a clever design. I can’t believe they got that generator in that small place.”

“My husband said the same thing. He couldn’t figure out how you were going to dump the used oil.”

“There’s a hole drilled under the floor of the camper. All I have to do is pull the plug.” He was still laughing, enjoying the design.

“You’re obviously good at what you do and you seem enjoy it,” I remarked.

“I do enjoy it but it seems like I should be doing more,” he said restlessly.

“Does it pay enough?” I asked, wondering what he meant by more. “Could you support a family? Does your job offer benefits?”

“The pay and the benefits are good,” he said, sounding a little confused himself about why he was dissatisfied.

“Matt,” I offered as I left. “Get the God thing right in your life and God will tell you what to do with the rest of your life. He’ll delight you beyond your wildest dreams. Faith Chapel is right up the street.” I gave directions. “They have a singles ministry that probably has women in it. I want you to visit there.”

I got inside Happy and drove off. God finally let me leave Billings, sore foot and all. As I looked back on my 4 days in Billings and thought about how God had woven all things together. My real home is heaven, I thought suddenly. Anywhere I am on earth, be it Billings or Jacksonville, Florida, is just a transitory. In everything, I must be about my Father’s business. In everything, I must be preparing for my real home.

I turned on my Christian CD to hear the words, “I’m On My Way to You Lord.”

Luke 2:49
And he said unto them, “How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?” KJV

2 Cor 4:16-18
Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. NASU

To see pictures of Billings, go to the Photo Gallery and look under the files that begin with Montana – Billings.


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