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God is Real

by | Jul 13, 2017

As promised I’m sharing the first in a series of stories of hope, this one involving a trip to Dollywood with these precious girls:

These angels are the most amazing Dollywood travel partners you can imagine.

Because let’s be honest, theme park entertainment… well, you’re just asking for it.

It’s hot. People are sweating. People are screaming. The food is… the food.

It’s easy to get dragged into the fray. There’s always that person asking to hit the bathroom every 5 minutes or “hungry” for food at every waft of a corn dog or funnel cake. Oddly, the temptations for crankiness in the midst of mass entertainment are… abundant.

In hindsight this is yet *another* way God blesses us on this trip. We all get hungry at the same time. We all have to pee at the same time. We all AGREE on where to eat and pee.

It’s kind of magical.

Saturday is our big play day at the park. We awaken that morning in the dreamy Blue Mountain Mist B&B, where you can consistently expect a hearty, delicious breakfast and morning prayer led by the Inn owners, the Bell family.

One big prayer has already been answered. The forecast for the entire weekend is thundershowers, and peaking out this morning are beautiful blue skies. It is so fun to see the girls giving the Lord praise for answering our prayers about the weather. We all skip out to the car absolutely delighted that Jesus has given us a lovely day to play!

Maybe because of the forecast, the park is low traffic all day which means we ride the roller coasters over and over and over. Like to the point where I consider googling “roller coaster brain damage”.

Dollywood has the fastest wooden rollercoaster in the world, The Lightning Rod, driven by some kind of magnet system, rather than chains. I don’t know why, but I ride it. Afterward I tell Georgia I screamed the entire 5 minutes of the ride. “It’s a minute and half ride Mom”. Oh. Seemed longer to me.

Around 3pm the girls are heavy lidded and dragging about. We aren’t going make it to the midnight closing time without a nap. In the first squabble of the trip, Jia and Elizabeth battle me on the nap, then submit to my request at the B&B, and are the first to fall asleep. #calledit

Play, play, play. Then the first giant rainstorm hits around 8pm. The park clears out and we are left with a handful of other people to enjoy the park almost all to ourselves! The air is cool and there is this awesome mist everywhere, plus the crickets and animals chirping in the nearby woodsy mountains. Lovely!

Highly recommend riding roller coasters at night.

It’s midnight. Closing time. We sing John Denver’s “Country Roads” the whole drive home.

Skipping out of the car to the main house, we’re all light and happy but really ready to hit the hay. I grab the front door knob to walk in and – it’s locked.


I knock, certain someone is milling around on the main floor to let us in. No answer. I ring the doorbell. No answer. Elizabeth recommends ringing the doorbell over and over. I tell her we can’t do that, people are sleeping!

I ask the girls to sit tight while I check the other doors. I circle the house checking every entryway. I guess it should make me feel good to know when we’re inside, we’re secure.

Right now I don’t care about that.

I call the Innkeeper phone number. No answer. I leave a voicemail explaining I’ve left my key in our room and we’re locked out – help! 🙂 When I start pulling a screen off one of the windows, Georgia realizes this is serious. “Momma what are you doing?!?” “I’m just looking it’s ok!” “You can’t do that, oh Lord.” She stomps off. I walk back over to the girls and announce the obvious.

“Girls it’s in moments like this that I am reminded 1. I am the only adult here and 2. I have no power to fix this situation. We gotta pray.”

So we pray.

I call the innkeeper again. No answer.

At this point the girls begin brainstorming solutions. “Let’s just stay at a cheap hotel.” Georgia says. “NO!” Elizabeth retorts “I want to stay at the Dollywood Dream More resort!”

“Elizabeth if you want to get picky about where we’re staying you’re gonna have to dip into that $400 you’ve got saved up!” Now I’m getting catty, even though I too would rather stay at Dolly’s resort.

Silence. Then Georgia starts crying. Then Cate starts crying. Then Elizabeth starts crying. Then Jia embraces Elizabeth.

It’s past midnight. It’s pitch dark outside of this old bed and breakfast. I have 4 weeping tween girls.

I call the innkeeper again.

Ring. Ring. Waiting for the voicemail to pick up I hear static, a crackle and then a choppy voice that sounds like it’s being transmitted from Mars. It says something about a key. “Key! Key! No I don’t HAVE OUR KEY – WE’RE LOCKED OUT?!?!”

The line goes dead.

The girls perk up. I tell them it sounded like someone picked up. I try the innkeeper again. Voicemail.

“Girls let’s give them like 5 minutes before we go anywhere. Maybe they heard me.” Pacing and praying, I give it a few minutes. I get ready to dial again and I see a missed call from a local number. “They called us!!” I quickly call back and a lovely voice, crystal clear picks up. “Hello you’re locked out?” “Yes, yes we’re locked out! Can you help us??” “Yes of course! Eric will be there in 5 minutes to let you in.”

A group hug ensues. I don’t remember who said it first but “Y’all Jesus just blessed us AGAIN!”

We get to the room and Georgia immediately breaks out her journal to write down her account of the miracle.

The title reads: God is Real.


A quick update on Hope Deck “work”: I’ve drawn up an email to my bosses explaining that God is calling me to this project, and plan to send it tomorrow. I’m praying for the Lord to release me from fear and trust in His plan for how the transition will play out. Thank you all for your prayers!!

Thanks and love <3 jen 🙂