My family has been on the road for over a week now as I sit to process some of my thoughts. We have driven through Alaska, Canada, and half of Washington with our humongous lifted Excursion and 32-foot travel trailer. It’s been difficult, to say the least. Our first day on the road had us questioning if we could even do this. Although our truck is a beast, it was having trouble pulling our heavy load up the steep mountains of Alaska.

Several times we had to pull over to let the engine cool. We had to remove the spare tire from the front grill to allow better air flow and we made sure all tanks were empty to eliminate any excess weight. At our first overnight stop in Glennallen, we gave away one of our full propane tanks. At the next stop, we got rid of our hide-a-bed couch to further reduce weight.

I remember stopping at a gas station in Tok, Alaska and seeing this amazing coach pull up–you know, the $500,000 kind that’s as large as a tour bus and nicer than most homes—and I started thinking. People like that probably have it pretty easy with very few issues on the road. They’ve totally got it made.

And then I thought of us. We really have no idea what we are doing. Josh has prepared and learned all he could about travelling with a travel trailer (and he’s doing fantastic), but nothing could really prepare us for the things we’ve encountered. I’m so thankful for the truck and trailer we have, but it’s no $500,000 motor coach. Our truck is pulling more than it’s used to and we seem to find one more thing broken in the trailer each time we stop.

I’m reminded of when I used to play high school volleyball. There were two different types of successful teams—the talented team with the fine-tuned plays and the unpolished but scrappy team. And by “scrappy” I mean that they did everything they could to keep the ball in the air. The talented team was usually from a larger school with many students to choose from. They got their pick of the litter along with the best coach to whip them into shape. The scrappy team was usually from a smaller school with fewer students to choose from and an unexperienced coach. The talented team did well because of their height, ability, and training. The scrappy team did well because they were determined.

While the scrappy team didn’t have the same training as other teams, they oftentimes would win due to their sole determination to not let the ball fall to the ground. They didn’t have the best plays and they actually made a lot of mistakes, but they would sacrifice their bodies to keep the ball up. This is something even the most talented teams lacked. I remember some of the best teams losing all focus and practically giving up as soon as they made a couple mistakes. It didn’t take much for them to lose their focus, their vision.

In our journey, I relate to those scrappy volleyball teams. We’re not polished. We don’t have the most ideal travelling rig. We don’t have the experience. But we are determined and we are not going to let a few mistakes and problems deter us from our vision.

Vision—that’s been the most important factor in all of this. Without vision, we would have quit long ago. It’s this vision of seeking God and pursuing all He has for us that has us on this journey. Giving up is not even an option.

In the end, we can prepare all we want (which is a good thing), but without vision, we will fail as soon as things get too difficult. If you find yourself quitting easily, chances are your vision is weak. After all, why go through difficulty if there really is no ultimate goal? There has to be a reason for our sufferings. There has to be something powerful enough to help us to see past our momentary struggles and into a greater awareness.

At some moments during this journey, I have to intentionally remind myself why we are doing this. There has been so much pain in the grieving and letting go. There has been so much work involved in preparing to move. There has been so many obstacles, mistakes, and problems. But we continue. We push forward towards the goal.

I guess the main point in me saying all of this is to remind everyone that on this journey with God, there will be amazing times and there will be extremely difficult times. In everything, God is with you. If you listen and follow His leading, He will guide you into wisdom and maturity. In all things—good or bad—we have to continually ask ourselves, “What is God doing in this? What does He want to teach me?”

The danger lies in getting too caught up in our circumstances and our problems that our vision becomes short-sighted and we fall into pity or complaining. Just as a parent’s heart is for his child, so God is for us. Parents discipline their children and allow them to go through difficult times for the good of the child just as God allows these times with us. It’s not my position to say how I need to be guided. It’s my responsibility to trust my Father and look to Him in all things.