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Intersection Column | Slight Change of Plans



by Becca Kinzer

 

“What do you think about doing a bike trip together?”

 

My husband asked me this question in 2010, back before we were married. We’d been dating a few months, and so far things were going well.

 

“What kind of bike trip?” I asked, knowing he’d ridden his bike from the Minnesota-Canada border down to New Orleans a few summers before, which didn’t exactly sound like the sort of trip that would help our relationship continue to go well.

 

“I was thinking a week-long trip down the Natchez Trace.”

 

I’d never heard of the Natchez Trace. I’d also never ridden a bicycle more than twenty miles in one day. But I was young and in love (and he wasn’t asking me to ride the length or width of the country), so I said, “Sure! Let’s do it!”

 

But I didn’t have an appropriate bike. Ah, no worries. Some friends offered to loan us their tandem bicycle for the trip. So what if we’d never ridden a tandem bicycle for one mile, let alone the five-hundred miles we had planned from Nashville, Tennessee to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

 

We were young and in love! Everything works out when you’re young and in love, right?

 

Well . . .

 

Yes. But only because of the grace of God and a man named Bob.

 

You see, for the first six days, despite a rainstorm or two, despite a reoccurring issue with the bike chain, despite some generalized soreness and a few aches, we were doing okay. Everything was pretty much going according to plan.

 

Then the last day arrived. Day seven. The day that was supposed to be a cakewalk.

 

We only had thirty miles left of our journey into Baton Rouge. By this point we could do thirty miles in our sleep. No need to rush. No need for an early start. We knew we’d be eating a nice big victory meal and cooling off in our hotel rooms in no time.

 

Which might’ve been true . . . if we didn’t start biking the wrong direction.

 

That’s right. You’ve never met a pair of more directionally challenged people than my husband and me. Which is why it took us fifteen miles to realize we’d headed north, not south. Instead of reaching Baton Rouge and cooling off inside our hotel rooms, we were sweating on the pavement outside a gas station smack-dab where we’d started. During a heat advisory. In the early afternoon.

 

Then to make matters worse, no sooner had we set off in the right direction than we got a flat tire. A few miles after patching it up, we got another flat. Then another one. Seven miles outside of Baton Rouge, stranded on the side of a four-lane highway with vehicles zipping past us, we’d run out of options for fixing the tire. So we began to walk.

 

This is where we die, I thought more than once as we continued down the road, awkwardly pushing the tandem bicycle between us. It was so hot. We were so thirsty. And Baton Rouge felt so far away.

 

I don’t remember how far we walked. If memory serves me correctly, it was somewhere along the lines of forever. But I do clearly remember when a man named Bob showed up on the scene. “You guys need some help?”

 

Have there ever been lovelier words? Has there ever been a lovelier man?

 

Dear, sweet Bob had been driving away from Baton Rouge on the other side of the highway when he saw us. Instead of going on his merry way, he turned back. For us. Complete strangers. Then he loaded our tandem into the back of his truck and drove us the rest of the way into Baton Rouge, right up to our hotel.

 

And you know what, when I saw all the big-city traffic we would have battled on our tandem had we not been delayed, had we not gotten multiple flats, had everything gone according to our plan, I realized how much God had been looking out for us by altering that plan. By taking us on a different route that ultimately crossed our path with a man named Bob, God had kept us safe.

 

He’d also given us a much more interesting story to tell. And—here’s the part I never saw coming fourteen years ago—inspired me to one day write a fun story about a young couple based on our experience.

 

In Love in Tandem, Charlotte and Zach find themselves riding a tandem bicycle down the Natchez Trace in order to win a challenge that offers a large cash prize. But perhaps, like my husband and I discovered, they’ll learn that sometimes the greatest prize is found in the unexpected twists and turns, as well as the kind strangers we encounter when we entrust our plans to God instead.

 

About the Author

Becca Kinzer lives in Springfield, Illinois, where she works as a critical care nurse. When she's not taking care of sick patients or reminding her husband and two kids that frozen chicken nuggets is a gourmet meal, she enjoys making up lighthearted stories with serious laughs. She is a 2018 ACFW First Impressions Contest winner, a 2019 Genesis Contest winner, a 2021 Cascade Award winner, and an all-around champion coffee drinker. Love in Tandem is her second novel. Visit Becca online at beccakinzer.com.

 

About the Book

Charlotte Carter’s life is finally turning around now that she’s landed a dream job teaching music. What she didn’t see coming was the imminent closure of the school’s music program. She’s determined to save it, even if it means getting creative. Meanwhile, Zach Bryant is back in town and never imagined he’d run into Charlotte Carter, his brother’s ex-fiancé. He certainly didn’t dream he’d end up riding a tandem bicycle hundreds of miles with her, but how can he say no when the prize money would help him out of his financial predicament too?

 

Did You Know?


According to the American Hospital Association, there are an estimated 133 million Americans, nearly half the population who suffer from at least one chronic illness, and the numbers are expected to climb. Reading the Bible daily, gaining inspiration, humor and life applications from a devotional, and engaging in prayer are effective ways to manage stress and find Christ-centered peace. Here are some positive ways to improve your outlook:

 

  • Reading Scripture. Good things from God can calm the soul and fill you with confidence. In a YouVersion survey, 41 percent of users said that reading Scripture in the middle of a stressful situation helps them find comfort.

  • Humor relieves stress. According to the Mayo Clinic, stress relief from laughter can stimulate many organs and release endorphins, activate and release your stress response, and soothe tension. Turns out, laughter is good medicine!

  • Prayer produces hope. Prayer strengthens us, brings healing, peace, and lightens the load. What we lay down before the cross is no longer on our shoulders.

 

Whatever you are going through, may the Lord brighten your day with a spoonful of biblical encouragement and reminders of God’s enduring love, hope, peace and joy!

 

 

Why I LOVE My Local Christian Bookstore


“I like shopping in bookstores because I always find a great staff-recommended read.”


-Donna Schlachter, Cactus Lil and the City Slicker

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