Defining Moments

I am looking prayerfully at the defining moments in my life, and that’s helping me make sense of my journey. I have a penchant for paths that offer safety and allow me to hide. I grew up on a street that led to another right before it ended mysteriously. The dead end was clearly marked with a caution sign, but I couldn’t resist sneaking peaks at the old Victorian house falling apart in the midst of what had once been an impressive yard. Rumors were that the house was haunted, and the woman who lived there was a witch.

Mrs. Norton certainly looked like a witch with her long nails, crazy hair, tattered clothing, strange hat, and heavy make-up. My youngest sister and I loved to go down to look at her house and went inside once when she asked if we wanted a book. The inside of the house was in worse shape than the outside. Holes punctuated a floor completely covered with books, papers, and boxes piled high. Mrs. Norton was hiding from the world, and part of my heart could relate to her plight.

I didn’t know she was a former teacher who decided to retreat from society when her husband died, but I connected to her unhindered spirit and her fear of the world. She talked and sang when she walked up and down the street to get what she needed from the world, but she stayed hidden away the rest of the time. Some of the neighborhood kids made fun of her, but she never seemed to notice. I guess her years in the classroom helped in that regard.

A part of me envied Mrs. Norton’s freedom. She or her house never scared me, but I never went back for another visit. My sister and I endured a harsh scrubbing and a a long lecture when we arrived home, and Mama promised to tell daddy if we ever went back. It was Mama’s fear that kept me from returning to Mrs. Norton’s house. I didn’t want to scare my mama; like me, she was scared enough.

There are defining moments in every life that lead to dead ends, open roads, busy highways, and ditches. I’m learning my heart will only thrive where God’s love intersects with His world. Christ’s precious love abides in the center of a very busy intersection. In the world, intersections are not places to dwell; they are places to rush through or avoid when possible. Walking in God’s kingdom gives intersections and dead ends new meaning.

I am not always comfortable in the intersection, but I know I will become more comfortable as I come nearer the center where there is but one definition of who I am and Who God Is. In that beautiful moment when the journey takes its final turn, there will no longer be any doubts about direction. Until then, I know God wants His children to come together and love as His Son loves. When that happens, the journey will have new meaning and direction will be defined as never before.

The Center

Stop and Ask For Directions

Yesterday would have been my fortieth wedding anniversary if I hadn’t found the courage to leave. I needed courage to admit I was wrong and accept that God never has, and never will, sanction marriages that are not of His doing. Before I went through the ceremony forty years ago, I knew with all my heart that it wasn’t what God wanted. It wasn’t what I wanted either, but I believed it was something I had to do. Two wrongs never made a right, but I thought God expected me to correct my mistake. Marriage seemed the logical way for me to do that and maintain my pride at the same time. I know how silly that sounds now, thank goodness. I didn’t listen to God and went with my plans rather than admit I was wrong, swallow my pride, accept God’s forgiveness, and move forward.

I thank God for giving me a beautiful son and cannot imagine life without him. God brings beauty and love out of my wrong turns. I am most amazed by that characteristic of my Creator. He knows I am going off in the wrong direction and will not stop me, but He will use the circumstances in my life to continue to teach and draw me near.  The rub is that the lessons change and are always more difficult when I insist on having my way. My problem is not being able to admit I am wrong. Admitting I’m wrong is the point when I veer off the path. Like those who stubbornly refuse to stop for directions, I pretend I know where I’m going and don’t need help. Repentance is simply knowing I’m heading in the wrong direction and making a turn in the right direction. It took thirty years for me to realize that two wrongs don’t lead to the right path! God wants me on the road and in the field living life and loving Him, myself, and others. As long as I wander in circles waiting for those two wrongs to add up to a right, I will not arrive at the destination God has in mind for me.

I’ve always allowed others to define me rather than looking to God who created me to tell me who I am. The most beautiful way He does that is to first show me Who He is. I have come to know Him as a loving Father, a waiting Groom, and a dear Friend, I see the Trinity as a beautiful Three in One. God wants the best for me, and  that involves becoming one with Him. Staying in a bad relationship limits God. He is all powerful, but He will allow me to limit Him. That is what confounds and frightens me the most about Him. I get to choose whether or not to let Him has His way in my life. He will take my bad choices and redirect my path; GPS will do the same when I get off course. The big difference is that GPS can be inaccurate, but God is always right when it comes to direction.

Until I let go of my pride and let Him lead, I can’t find His way.  I know in my heart that I will get where He wants me to go if I will simply stop doubting and start trusting Him to forgive me for my bad choices and help me start making good ones. He said He will direct my path if I will only acknowledge Him in all things, and I believe Him. The key to being on the right path is to stop making wrong turns and stop to ask God for directions:)