Currently I’m in the thick of finalizing details for our annual Women of Faith trip. It is one of my favorite weekends of the year and if you have not been you should check when they will be in a city near you because it is that good. FOR REAL.
As I get into the final stages of planning, I always find myself reflecting on past years experiences. The weekend is always filled with laughter, sometimes tears, and everyone leaves knowing each other better than they did before.
This morning I found myself laughing about a trip years ago. To try and better route us to a shopping destination on the way, we were taking a different route than we typically do. Since this was the pre everyone having a cell phone with mapquest, pre garmin days, we were relying on verbal directions from a friend.
Let's just say we clearly didn’t get the directions right. Signs we were watching for weren’t appearing and our final destination appeared to be growing in distance rather than shrinking. Uh oh.
The driver started to laugh. “I’m sure she said it would be off this road. Where in the world are we?”
Laughter is not always my immediate response when I’m broken from a path that I want to be on. In fact, it would likely rank on the lower end of the list of my responses. But, my friend has a bubbly, infectious laugh that sent us all into crazy laughter.
You ladies that have been on a girls road trip get what I mean.
Well, of course we didn’t have a regular paper map because that would be way to convenient or responsible so we were just downright lost. I got on my cell phone and called my husband. After giving him the names of some street signs we were seeing he started to laugh saying, “I don’t know what you ladies were thinking but you are heading away from the Cities.”
While we awaited “re-direction” from my husband, Carol said, “I was once told by a Biblical counselor that when we get off track God uses that to protect us from something.”
Wisdom that extends beyond the roadway.
How often are we broken away from the path we think we want in life? Quite frankly, probably more than we care to admit. Sometimes we bring these divergences on through our own choices. We set up to-do lists and time schedules that are impossible to meet, or at least not the timing that God has for us. We aggressively pursue a career without listening for God’s voice and hit road block after road block. And, the list goes on.
I vividly recall my college years when I thought I was supposed to start a family young and be done by 30. Since I married my high school sweetheart immediately after college, I still believed that to be the case…and then when we waited years before Grace joined us I placed unnecessary concern on age. Being done at thirty suddenly looked unlikely. A broken path.
Other times we have no say. Dreams are suddenly broken through life events completely outside of our control. Losses range along the scale from other people’s choices impacting us to a loved one's death, and things can never be the same. I was just 20 when my father left my presence to join Jesus on the streets paved of gold.
But, along the way, God has protected me from things I could not see. Would I have been blessed with Grace and Hannah if things would have gone according to my schedule? I don’t know. Would I have had the opportunity to understand and minister to those experiencing loss if I hadn't walked through it? Doubtful.
I would never choose to be off the path that I think I’m supposed to be on, but I’ve learned along the way that my agenda is meaningless. After all, Proverbs 16:33 says, “We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall.” And as He does, He draws near and reveals presence, protection, and hope in the path He has set for us.
I don’t know where you are at today, but I felt God calling me to remind all of you that if you feel broken in some area of life, you are going to be okay. God hasn’t forgotten about you. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. In one way or another, His plans are to give you hope and a future filled with promise (Jeremiah 29:11).
Trusting in this promise, it is my prayer that you will join me in learning to love the detours.