The Long Bike Ride, Day 2
First of all, in case you missed Day 1 (which includes an explanation of the bike ride) check out that post here. This post is about my thoughts, feelings, and reflections on Day 2, and The Long Bike Ride as a whole. It was tougher than I expected and I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
I’ve heard my whole life that marriage = sacrifice, so I kept that in mind as I committed to forever, but I certainly got a dose of discomfort during the weekend my husband took on the challenge of biking 186 miles from Seattle, WA to Vancouver, BC. I think I should have prepared myself for a shift in our normal schedule, our normal interactions, and our normal way of living together. We’d only been married about a month at this point, but we’d already settled into a routine that I rather liked. I did not rather like having that routine disrupted, partly because I didn’t prepare my heart. I was excited for Caleb and his family, and glad to be joining their family bike trip (especially since I didn’t have to do any biking!), but I didn’t give that weekend to God to begin with. I didn’t open myself up to how He would use this time to strengthen me. I didn’t realize that I was going to be tested.
Day 2: The Trek from Bellingham, WA to Vancouver, BC
On the second day of the long bike ride, my husband and his family rode off into the sunrise bright and early, and I drove the support vehicle to the first stop. I parked the car right in front of our rendezvous spot, pulled out my journal, and parked myself on the sweet little bench in the photo above. The cooler weather was perfect for biking, but a little chilly for sitting outside, so I was awfully glad I brought an extra jacket (and extra awfully glad I was driving the car that contained that jacket). My bikers arrived shortly after I settled in, so I only had time for a short devotion. I wasn’t too sad about this though because after hearing over and over about the famous breakfast at a restaurant in the Dutch-themed town of Lynden, WA, I was glad to be able to finally enjoy it! We got the biker buffet special and had time for a meal and a quick cup of coffee before my husband and his family were off again. This time they would bike across the Canadian border to a small elementary school, where I would wait with anticipation to see their faces once again.
Unfortunately, in a less-than-glamorous moment of honesty here, I was actually a little upset when Caleb left Lynden. I wanted more time with him. To talk with him, to sit with him, to hold him and tell him he was doing an amazing job. But his mind was focused on finishing the task at hand (rightfully so), as he still had about 50 miles of biking to do that day, so our conversation and connection were minimal. I left Lynden confused and upset, and as is always a good step in these situations, I prayed. I prayed and cried out and asked God to change the attitude of my heart. I wasn’t expecting to sacrifice my normal, and I didn’t like it. I drove along the open road and as the cornfields flashed past my window, God did exactly what I asked.
Crossing the Border into Canada
I was thankful that God allowed my little emotional episode to resolve itself before reaching the authorities at the Canadian border. The crossing went smoothly, and I was only a little sad that they didn’t ask any of the questions I was fully prepared to answer. God offered me a little humor in the border crossing agent even, and she asked what I did while I waited for the bikers to get to each stop, since obviously I was a bit quicker in a car. I wait and I watch. I turn to Jesus. But she didn’t need to know all that so I gave her the short answer: “Read,” I said, “Write in my journal, just you know, wait for them to get there.” So she moved me along and I went back to Jesus. I got to the elementary school, whipped out my journal and continued processing what God was doing in my heart.
It was at this stop that I was struck by the realization that up to this point I had acted a little bit selfishly on this journey. When I met Caleb at each stop, I wanted him to talk to me, to interact with me, to be visibly excited to see me. He was and did those things, but he was also exhausted. I mean, who could blame him? He had been biking for hours and hours. Of course he wasn’t 100% attentive to his needy wife (perhaps that’s being harsh on myself, but I did feel pretty selfish and silly). So I shifted my perspective. I shifted my attitude. I took on a posture of humility and sought from then on to meet my husband’s needs however he needed them met. When he reached the stop I told him what was going on, and we were glued to each other’s side until he needed to get back on his bike.
More Than a Support Vehicle
This wasn’t just a time for me to support my husband by bringing food and supplies along for him and his family, it was a time for me to support my husband by giving up what I wanted for what he needed. To be okay with giving him a massage after an exhausting day and expecting nothing in return. To be okay with going to bed early instead of talking or cuddling like we normally do. To be okay with letting him rest on my chest in peaceful silence instead of chatting about our thoughts or feelings. I was happy to do those things, but I was also sacrificing some of my “normal”. I was sacrificing some of the things that make me feel loved. And yet I could do that gratefully and happily, because of the way my husband constantly loves and appreciates me.
That weekend he thanked me numerous times, told me he loved me frequently, and did his absolute best to let me know I meant the world to him. That’s what made it worthwhile to keep supporting him however he needed. To be loved and appreciated is a sweet, sweet thing, and the comfort and security it provides makes the uncomfortable things more bearable. In light of this, I am struck again by the incredible weight Jesus’ sacrifice, because we often do not thank Him for the incredible thing He has done. Yet He loves us. God loved us enough to sacrifice His only Son. Jesus loved us enough to sacrifice Himself. The triune God looked at ungrateful, dirty, sinful human beings and loved them with a deep, self-sacrificing love. And we love because He first loved us. So I need to show and to share that same, deep love. What better way to do that than to love my husband? To sacrifice my normal so he can be comforted? To put myself aside and hold him up?
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
John 15:13, NIV
I am grateful for this discomfort. I am grateful for the chance to have shown my husband love by learning to sacrifice. Clearly, God determined it was a lesson I needed to learn, and I’m sure I will need to learn it again and again.
And now I’d like to hear from you…
What lessons has God taught you about sacrifice? What have you learned from His ultimate sacrifice? Are you living into this grace by loving others deeply, even if it means setting yourself aside? Discuss it with me in the comments below, or start a journal and discuss it with Jesus!
Author: Susannah Judd
Hello, my lovelies! I am the author and owner of wearethelovelyones.com. I am so excited to share in this journey through life and faith with you! One of my favorite things we are called to as believers is sharing life together. I also love cookies of any kind, my darling husband Caleb, and of course, Jesus himself. Check out my “About Me” page for more. 😉