more than directions

The trail suddenly and definitely came to an end. It had been getting narrower the past km or so, and at times it looked more like a run-off streamlet compared to a trail.  But it abruptly ended. I ventured out a few more steps, then gave myself a bit of a scare as I turned around to find that there wasn’t a clear trail to take me back.

“You know better than this” I chided myself. I have enough hiking sense to know that venturing off trails in the BC mountains is risky business.  “I can find it on my own” is the hubris attitude that will definitely get you lost.

I found my way back to the diminishing trail.  Then I retraced my steps to the last point of direction. There had been a post in the ground with directional arrows on it and the trail had followed bright orange rectangular plates that were nailed into tree trunks.

As I headed back I was reminded of a lesson I had learned in a Beth Moore study.  Using scripture as her reference she stated that if we are ever in a place where we are not sure of God’s leading, go back to the last clear calling he gave you and carry on with that one until another clear message is given.

I believe God leads.  I don’t think he plays games with our lives; making us play pin-the-tail-on-the- donkey trying to figure out where we are meant to be while keeping us blind folded.  I have experienced times in my life when I knew for certain that he was leading and guiding.  I also have had times in my life when I felt like I had the pin in my hand and the blindfold covering my vision.

Go back to the last clear leading and carry on.  Scripture is full of promises that if we seek him we will find him.  Or he will find us and draw us to him.

Perhaps this is the whole point of getting a bit lost sometimes.  God wants our attention. So often I come to him for direction, but the main reason why I come to him is for direction.  I want to make sure that I don’t “miss it”.  I want the trail to be clear so that my life counts.  I want to have purpose and direction.  Clarity.

Then I realize that this is pure selfishness.  I am only seeking God for me.  My needs.  My ambition.  My life’s purpose.

God wants us to seek him so that we can have fellowship with him.  That is the main reason why we are on this trek of life.  God wants to walk and talk with us.  Sounds like the Garden of Eden.

My hiking adventure had a feeling of Eden. I spent a good part of  the time walking and talking with God.  And I also came across a snake.

Strung across the path in a ray of warm sunshine, a Garter snake stretched out its slender long body. It is a harmless snake, but it sure made me jump. Here is a question for you philosophical people.  If a woman lets out a shrill shriek in the middle of the forest and no is around to hear it, does she make a sound?

Obviously not, because the snake didn’t even flinch.  I ended up tip-toeing around it as I made my way home. I think God got a kick out of my reaction to the snake.  I know he heard me scream.

In the past year, I have spent more time seeking God for directions then I have spent in seeking His Presence.  I’ve made my ‘future’ and my desire for ‘fulfillment’ my goal. I was using God to get there.  Instead of seeking God for who he is and creating a relationship with him and seeking to know him, I was using God to help me get what I wanted out of life.

This realization is what started me on the hike in the first place as I often retreat to nature when I have big issues to sort through.  I feel a bit lost and I need more than directions.  I need to return back to the clear calling that God has given me.  Come to him – not just for directions but for relationship.

I needed to walk and talk with God – like in the Garden of Eden. I even needed to feel a bit lost. But I didn’t need to encounter the snake… did I?

Embracing the Future

She’s absolutely beautiful.  Her grad dress fits her perfectly; accentuating her slender frame and square shoulders and the “cobalt blue” material highlights her large blue eyes. She’s our treasured daughter.  She’s graduating from high school and she is ready to take on life!

Can you believe how time flies?  It seems like only yesterday I was in emergency waiting for the x-ray results that proved that this little girl had swallowed a battery. Two circular watch batteries had been pried from a ‘talking doll’ and I had purposely pushed them farther up onto the counter, away from my daughter’s high chair.  Less than three minutes later I looked at the batteries and to my horror there was only one. My daughter was standing in her high chair looking a little mischievous. My battery munching munchkin was too young to communicate clearly, so it was only a rhetorical question that I posed: “did you swallow that battery”? She just smiled.  And we drove very fast to the hospital.

The x-ray made the doctor laugh. Apparently, circular metallic objects are very easy to detect on an x-ray. “Yes.  It’s already through her stomach and it should pass through in no time”.  He gave me the perfunctory instructions to inspect her diapers making sure she ‘discharged’ the battery within 24 hours.  Funny.

She’s been my energizer bunny ever since.  Movement and action is part of her existence.  I adore her.  Her energy, her sense of adventure and her posturing of strength and toughness is especially evident on the soccer field.  She loves showing off her bruises. 

Now, all dressed up for grad I can’t help but wonder what her future holds. Probably… more bruises.  Life is hard.  We all get bruised throughout life.

Right around the time when I was pregnant with this daughter, we had a wooden plaque with a scripture verse etched into it.  It hung by the phone and I read it often.  It was the same verse that was highlighted at our church’s grad festivities.  It reads:

“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” 

Deuteronomy 33:27

Embracing the Future

This verse meant so much to me during my young mothering years.  Now I pass it on to my graduating daughter. How grateful I am that my heavenly Father is our refugeRefuge – meh-o-naw’ (Hebrew).  It means a “habitation, dwelling place, refuge”.  This is a place where one can live.

My girl is growing up.  I won’t always have her at home. But I know that our Heavenly Father can always be her home. He will be a refuge in times of trouble and a place where she can live daily. That’s way more than I can offer.  Remember… she swallowed a battery when she was on “my” watch!

I won’t always be there to give my daughter the hugs that she needs but I know that God’s everlasting arms will wrap around her.  He has her in the center of his embrace, and that is exactly the best place to be.

I’ve enjoyed the years God has blessed me with my beautiful daughter.  Now as she walks across the stage to receive her high school diploma, she is embarking on another stage of life.  My prayer is that God will be her refuge and that she will always feel the embrace of his everlasting arms.