Monday, September 5, 2016
Re-routing (When God Takes You On A Detour)
Traveling to visit my mom in far northeastern Arkansas from the Dallas, Texas area several years ago, me and my husband, along with my oldest son and my brother made the long trek to visit my mom for Thanksgiving.
During that 8 hour trip, the GPS on the phone would say "Re-routing..." when there was traffic up ahead or a faster detour we could take. My brother would look down at his phone and say "Aaah, Rita, she's done it again!"
"Rita?" I asked quizzically, "Who are you talking to?"
"My phone" my brother replied, "She re-routes so much I nicknamed her Rita Re-route."
So for the remainder of the trip and pretty much the rest of my life since then, I never looked at my phone the same way again, Rita Re-route always popped into my head when a re-route was necessary on our travels.
How many times I have listened to Rita Re-route willingly, and sometimes, not so willingly in my journey through life. Changing majors in college, switching professions (from aspiring Christian artist/preschool teacher turned stay at home mom/published author), relocating for my husband's job that has recently brought us across the country twice... all these things have definitely thrown kinks into my plans and at times, made me feel the rug was pulled out from underneath me.
But I can look back at all the re-routes in my life and see that the whole time, God was in control of mine and my family's ultimate destination. How we got there depended on whether or not we listened to take the faster detours or not.
That's why I love God's gift of free will. We can choose to listen to the Rita Re-routes in our minds or continue on our chosen path. But when we keep God first in our lives we will ultimately end up where we are suppose to be.
About a year ago I looked at my husband after we were settling into our new home in North Carolina and through homesick tears for Texas asked, "Is this where we will grow old? Or do you think well find our way back?"
He looked up, sighed heavily and replied, "I think we'll end up where God ultimately wants us to be."
I was not satisfied with that answer, I wanted to know and know now! I bent down on my knees asking God to answer this question for me, but all I ever got was silence. So I settled in my soul that I didn't need to know the answer, I just needed to bloom where God had currently planted me. So I did my very best with what I could with the time and talents I was given. I wrote, filmed and edited a bible study to go along with my first book, filmed a radio interview, hosted a book signing at a local coffee shop and got involved in a local church we started attending. But then I could feel a stirring in my soul, that we were about to get re-routed once again.
When my husband got the offer to relocate to Kentucky, we had the choice to accept and believe this was from God and provide us another opportunity to grow and flourish elsewhere or stay and see if maybe God was not quite finished with us here. When both my husband and I felt the release to move on and go with God, knowing He would provide for us there as much as He had here, we graciously accepted the detour.
As cliche as it sounds the quote that says "I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future" is my life's motto right now. I may not know what church we will attend or how my kids will like the schools or when well make new friends in Kentucky, but I do know that God is the center of this family and this home.
Sometimes God re-routes our lives to get us back on track, perhaps we've detoured far off the path that will be good for us. Sometimes He offers safer detours because there might be a dangerous path up ahead that can be avoided, and sometimes He re-routes us to grow us into the people He created us to be. That re-route might be what builds strength, character, hope or perseverance like it says in Romans 5:3-5 (NLT):
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
Your re-route might not be a physical move like ours has been, but it may look like a cancer diagnosis or perhaps you got laid off from your job. Maybe your re-route is deciding whether or not to go back to school or get involved in that ministry opportunity at church. Perhaps your life is at one of those crossroads where your youngest started kindergarten this year and you feel the stirring to go back to work. Maybe all of your children have left home and you find yourself an empty-nester and that nudging to finish writing that book or maybe even to start your own business is constantly on your mind.
Life offers us many re-routes and a lot of detours. But we can trust we are on the right path when we consult with the ultimate navigator- Jesus!