Finding grace on the road

Can you find grace when you need it? Nancy Bell Kimsey is a lifelong outdoor enthusiast whose hiking and camping experiences have ranged from backpacking and family tent camping to adventuring in a fiberglass travel trailer. She moved to North Carolina to attend Wake Forest University and remained in the Tar Heel State throughout her career as an educator. She is a contributing writer for a number of camping publications and the author of Grace on a Rambling Road: Devotions for RV Travelers and Joy by a Roaring Campfire: Devotions for Campers.

Nancy contacted us about sharing her story and books, and we’re pleased to offer this guest post and book excerpts. Both of Nancy’s books are available on Amazon.

Keep on trekin’! ~Ari & Jessi

Guest Post by Nancy Bell Kimsey

We all need some grace while on the road! Long days of travel, close interactions with family and friends, working through delays and repairs – all of these can leave us short-tempered or discouraged. Even on the most perfect camping days, we need reminders of the love and mercy of God. Camping, hiking, and traveling give us endless opportunities to view the amazing beauty and complexity of creation.

One reason that I wrote Grace on a Rambling Road: Devotions for RV Travelers was to help campers connect to God daily while exploring the natural world.  There are humorous stories as well as thoughtful meditations, and each entry includes a scripture passage and prayer.

My husband and I started RVing in 2020, but I have camped my whole life: family camping, Girl Scouts and Explorer Scouts, backpacking as a teen and young adult.  We love our Oliver Elite 2 fiberglass travel trailer because of its great design, high quality, and excellent customer service by a family-owned company.  State parks, Corps of Engineers campgrounds, boondocking and Harvest Hosts sites best fit our camping style.

Grace on a Rambling Road is available in paperback and eBook formats at Amazon

Excerpts from Grace on a Rambling Road: Devotions for RV Travelers

Need S’more Patience?

But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:25

My mother was a Junior Girl Scout leader, and even before I was old enough to join my sister’s troop, I was allowed to tag along on weekend camping trips. At campfire time, the Scouts were excited about creating S’mores from graham crackers, chocolate bars, and marshmallows. I detested marshmallows, but I adored working with fire: sparking tinder, adding twigs, and stirring the coals were all very satisfying. Before long, the older girls in the troop enlisted me as their “mascot” and chief marshmallow cooker. Because I didn’t want to eat the fluffy treats, I had the patience to gently cook them to golden brown perfection. The girls who wanted to eat their marshmallows right away often held them too close to the fire and ended up with scorched, flaming torches rather than edible marshmallows.

The Scriptures often link patience with hope. The concept of hope in the Bible is that of confident expectation. It is not mere wishful thinking. Because God is faithful, our hope is not misplaced. As an experienced marshmallow roaster, I was confident that if I would patiently check the fire, twirl the marshmallow slowly, and keep away from the hottest coals, I would end up with a finished product that the older Scouts would love. In the same way, reminding myself of the consistency and power of God is helpful during difficult times when I find it very hard to be patient. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “All I have seen teaches me to trust the creator for all I have not seen.” I have seen God working in my life and in the lives of others; therefore, I will seek to patiently wait on His timing.

Prayer for Today: O gracious and faithful Heavenly Father, you are utterly consistent in your character and loving in your dealings with me. I know that you have the power to bring your promises to fruition. Grant me the ability to patiently wait on you. Amen.

The Winds Obey Him

Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake so that the waves swept over the boat. The disciples went and woke him, saying, Lord, save us! We’re going to drown! He replied, You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” Matthew 8:24-27

A puff…a breeze…a gust…suddenly the wind sensor on the awning of your camper gets the message and the awning begins to retract. Any glitch in this process could lead to the destruction of the awning and an expensive repair. Wind and storms are powerful forces of nature that should not be ignored. The Bible records a scene in which Jesus and the disciples are in a boat, crossing a large lake. At some point on the journey, Jesus has fallen asleep. A fierce squall comes up, but the disciples do not immediately wake the Lord. Perhaps they are reluctant to bother him after a long day of ministry. Or maybe they are too absorbed in trying to maintain control of the boat.  Matthew tells us that the storm is furious and the waters are raging over the edge of the boat when the disciples finally seek the Lord’s help.

After awakening Jesus, they call out frantically, Teacher, don’t you care if we drown? (Mark 4:38) Jesus verbally rebukes the wind and waves, and immediately the storm ceases and the surface of the water becomes smooth. This astounding demonstration of the Lord’s power over creation causes the disciples to tremble in terror. They now grasp more fully that Jesus is not merely another teacher or prophet.

Like the disciples, we sometimes are reluctant to ask for the help of Christ. Maybe we feel that our need is too insignificant to bother him, or perhaps we doubt his ability to help. We try to work out the situation with our own wisdom and strength. Our problem turns from a puff of wind to a dangerous gale before we seek his assistance. Jesus is already aware of our situation, but he desires that we bring our requests and our worries to him. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord, you had compassion on the disciples and met them in their time of need, demonstrating your awesome power and love. I humbly bring my concerns and needs before you today. Please increase my faith and guide me with your wisdom. Amen.

Both of Nancy’s books are available on Amazon.

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