Thinking about my Dad tonight.
One thought just will not leave my head. How in the world did I end up with the drive and passion to have a ministry that centers around writing about my motorcycle adventures, God and what riding and writing means to me.
Yesterday (ironically as I was riding) it occurred to me that the happenings in my life that have brought me to where I am did not happen in a vacuum. I had not given it much thought until now, although I did not understand where it originated, I have felt protected since I was very little.
It was astounding to me to realize with absolute clarity that God had been with me and working in my life to bring me to where I am now……for my whole life.
It was like the whole of my life was brought to my mind and if I had not been riding it probably would have brought me to my knees. It wasn’t a lightning bolt kind of moment (good thing it wasn’t given where I was). It was God’s love that had been wrapped around me since birth, plain and simple. A phrase our pastor used this morning described it perfectly, it wasn’t a lightning bolt it felt more like a gentle rain falling to the earth to nourish all it falls upon. It was falling on me.
You all know how I feel about my dad, he was the first person God gave to me that showed me the unconditional love that only Fathers can. He guided me, he protected me, and he showed me what was good in life. He was my rock, solid, steady, mostly silent but unmovable in his devotion. I was always his little girl, he was always my hero. He gave me the things that mattered.
I will never forget when he got me my first motorcycle. I was barely a teenager but old enough to catch the spark. He loved riding and did often and he gave me the fire for the open road and the wind in my hair. I put lots of miles on my dirtbike. I rode for chores, for fun, to carry stuff to Dad in the field, to visit the neighbors, it was as much a part of me as my arms and legs. It was a spark that was imbedded deeply but unfortunately smoldered for years before it was allowed to burn brightly again.
Fast forward a whole lot of years, my 32 year marriage had ended, I pulled away from friends and family and I was literally adrift. I was drifting but it wasn’t on a course that was bringing me closer to God. The longer I drifted, the more distant God became. It was not long until God was just a tiny speck on the horizon and I was caught in mighty rough waters. There was not a lot in my life at that time that resembled the good old days.
I was dating and living a party life when I met this guy on the internet named Earl. There was just something about this guy that drew me in. I liked him, dated him and I will never forget the day I found out he had a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Oh yea, I was in for good. This guy had a bike and I was back in business.
Another gentleman I was dating before I met Earl must have sensed something was happening with Earl and I because he proposed to me. I had to tell him no, that I thought Earl was a special guy and probably the one for me, and well you know…………………he had a bike!
Earl and I, we got along great, we partied, we rode and we partied some more. Bikes were a part of our lives from the very beginning. Bikes and drinking.
It didn’t take long however for the glitter to wear thin and the realities to start hitting home.
Things got rough, darn rough for Earl and I and it became painfully apparent that something had to give. That something was alcohol.
So alcohol and all the bad things that imitation medicine brings were gone from our lives. Fortunately I still had Earl who I had grown to love deeply and I still had motorcycles. Like my Dad, my husband changed my life when he bought me my first motorcycle since the one my Dad bought me. I am not sure Earl realizes just how grateful I am for what he did for me.
In a relatively short amount of time my world once again revolved around riding motorcycles. Anyone who knows me also knows that writing is another passion of mine and it means a great deal to me. It was not long before I was writing about riding my motorcycle. It was wonderful to be able to tell others about what riding meant to me and to help guide them in the direction of serenity, freedom and independence only a motorcycle can offer.
The more I rode however, the more I learned about myself and the more I learned about myself the more I felt the pain of not walking with God. Slowly, ever so slowly as the miles racked up my heart was softening and before I knew it I was desperate to get on solid ground with God once again. All I had to do was ask and I felt the rain again, the same one the pastor spoke about this morning, God’s love. Only this time it wasn’t a gentle mist, it was a monsoon and I was totally immersed.
It was no longer enough to ride, it was no longer enough to write. I had to ride for Jesus Christ, I had to reach those who rode the same roads I did but rode with no hope. And when I found them I had to write about it.
Just as there are many ministries and many motorcycles, there are many ways to have a motorcycle ministry. It doesn’t matter how you do it, it matters that you do it.
I usually sign off with ……………………and so I ride,
but tonight it seems fitting to sign off in a different way.
…………..and so we ride
Thank you God for giving me two special men in my life who realize the power of the motorcycle and open road, my Dad Wayne Raasch and my husband Earl.
My Dad gave me the dream, my husband reignited the flame.
I will ride for Jesus Christ the rest of my days.