As a teenager, my independence and my privacy were very important to me. So our family rule that Mom and Dad always had to know where we were, who we were with, and when we’d be home, was annoying. Even though we all complained about it, we all abided by it.
It was early spring of my junior year in high school when my 13-year-old sister, Jenni, and I were heavily involved with our girls’ volleyball team. Our team was not the best nor the worst. We just played to have fun. One of the most exciting matches of the season, involving several teams, was to be held about 40 minutes from our home. It was a Friday night, and since I’d had my driver’s license for more than a year, Mom and Dad let me take the van with my little sister as my companion. Jenni and I didn’t always see eye to eye, but we had a great visit with each other on the way to the match. Being alone gave us the opportunity to really talk. The evening was as much fun as we had anticipated. After saying good-bye to friends old and new, Jenni and I left and headed for home.
Just 15 minutes into the ride on a fast moving freeway, we ran out of gas. It was a dark night, so we hoped we could coast to the next off-ramp. But the van came to a stop under an overpass nearly a mile away from the exit. Scared, we offered a prayer. “Heavenly Father,” we prayed, “please help us find a way to get home safely.”
As we ended our prayer, I remembered that in an emergency we are told to lift the car hood and put something white on the antenna, so we did. We knew it was just a matter of time before a police car would drive by and offer to help. Three times we were passed by police, even though we were flashing our lights and honking.
Discouragement nearly overcame us, and we decided it was time to pray again. Finishing the prayer with tears streaming down our faces, we talked about possible solutions. We could see the exit sign and decided to walk toward it, hoping to find a telephone. About a quarter of a mile away from the van, we heard a vehicle approaching us and slowing down. Could our prayers be answered? We turned around and saw two motorcycles coming toward us. At that moment we both felt very strongly that we should head back to the safety of the van. Back in the car, huddled together, we tried to comfort each other. Then, as the Spirit whispered peace to each of us, we looked out our window to see our mother and father coming to a stop on the other side of the freeway. Our relief and gratitude completely overcame us as we ran into the arms of our anxious parents. “How did you know?” we asked. Softly and clearly our parents answered that they knew where we were, who we were with, and when we were supposed to be home. Because we had always followed this rule, when we didn’t arrive home on time, they knew they had to come looking for us.
I was never annoyed by my parents’ strict rules again.