Tag Archives: God

Hiking Through Life

En route to Nicaragua I’ve had a few hours of silence to reflect on life. And musing about the unconventional path I’ve been walking along stirred up memories from my childhood.

Its early in the morning and someone is shaking me awake. “We’re going on an adventure hike. Get dressed and come downstairs.”

We gather in the backyard, grab walking sticks, and set off into the great unknown.

We live in predictable suburbia where streets look more like the grid on my graph paper than the undulations of trails in the natural landscape, but on this adventure hike, you’d never know there were any rigid lines at all.

Dad bypasses the street blocks and suddenly we’re on a grand detour through the wilderness, venturing through culverts below the highways and weaving amongst tombstones in cemeteries or stumbling over wooden crates dying in an abandoned building.

At times I close my eyes or abandon the walking stick so I can hold more tightly to Dad’s hand, frightened by the dark, damp, and unfamiliar spaces. But I’m never in any real danger and by the time we arrive back at the house, I’m exhilarated. Exhausted, but exhilarated.

The spontaneity of Dad’s adventure hikes used to thrill me. Age has tempered that thrill of risk and uncertainty with a strong desire for structure and routine. I’d prefer to map out my own plans.

But no matter how hard I try to control it, life seldom colors within the lines of my own pretty pictures.

Right now, life looks more like a scribble than a neat and tidy picture. I can’t make out the final image.

And since I don’t know the details of what life will look like next year, my life feels like its in-flux and in-between.

I’m trying to rewind the clock far enough to recall those adventure hikes of my childhood. To remember what it felt like to follow with reckless abandon because I trusted Dad to lead me.

I’m not sure if Dad was trying to impress a lesson upon me but I’m struck by this thought:

God’s leading me on an adventure hike right now. I may not know what the next step is and I may need to hold on to His hand a bit more tightly, but what if I chose to release my control and find joy in the uncertainty?

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Do You Have A Learning Disability?

When it comes to spiritual matters, I’m SLOW to learn.

Seldom can I learn the lesson God is trying to teach when He first instructs me.

So I wrote a poem about my issues after I realized I’ve been caught in a terrible cycle of stubbornness…

Seems I’ve got a learning disability when it comes to spiritual lessons.
Doesn’t matter how loud or strong His voice, nor how painful the repercussions.
My mind just will not learn until the Teacher makes it clear,
Teaching once, twice, even three times, till I hear

The instruction that He’s giving
Is the one I need for living.
So He repeats it from the start;
Writing His Word upon my heart.

Patiently He waits, willing that I understand;
This lesson is not easy but its part of His great plan.
Yet I seem to have forgotten as I stumble and I doubt,
That His plan is for my good, that He’s working all this out.

And every part of my life story
He wants to use for His glory.
So He repeats it from the start;
Planting His Word deep in my heart.

Lovingly He waits, that as I seek His face
This lesson will take root for He sustains me with His grace.
And should my soul remain in such a prideful, stubborn state
That I still refuse to learn, then please don’t hesitate…

Remove from me this heart of stone,
And if you need, crush my bones!
Then humble me, Lord, with a brand new start,
Pouring Your Love till it overflows my heart.

My most recent lesson has been about TRUST…

Do I trust God enough to follow where He leads? Do I trust that God will keep me safe? Do I trust God to provide for my needs? Do I trust God to never leave me? Do I trust that there is purpose amidst the pain?

Please tell me I’m not the only one struggling with a spiritual learning disability.

What about you…what lesson has God been hitting you over the head with?

When You Should Be Unfriendly

In Luke 10:4, Jesus sends out his disciples ahead of Him, urging them not to stop and greet anyone along the way. Not to greet anyone along the way?

At first glance, I thought this was a bogus request.

  • Didn’t Jesus’ ministry emphasize building relationships? You know, take time for people. Share a meal together. Have compassion on the children.
  • Didn’t He do miracles by the side of the road? Give sight to the blind man. Clease the one with leprosy. Heal the sick.

But then, God gave me new insight into this passage.

Jesus told them not to greet anyone because He knew they’d get distracted or unfocused and they may never reach the final destination.

So how did I manage to figure that out?

As I continue to participate in African culture, God is giving me new understanding into His Word. Here’s how it went down:

  • Tuesday morning, after breakfast, I leave the house with my hosts at 8:15am, heading into work.
  • 8:16 − 8:20 Just outside the gate, we stop to chat with the neighbors who live across the road.
  • 8:22 − 8:25 Three houses down a construction crew is building a new home. Greetings ensue.
  • 8:28 − 8:34 Political representative for the subdivision is standing at the corner. Salutations. Introductions. Discussion about local elections.
  • 8:35 − 8:42 A friend is washing clothes outside her home. How is she? How is her family? her children? her house? her church? her health?

Now nearly 30 minutes later, we’ve traveled less than 2 km.

Fortunately, work is less than 6 km from the house.

Unfortunately, we haven’t even reached the main road yet. At this rate, we won’t arrive till 10am.

As it turns out, we make several more stops and run a few errands in town. Eventually, we arrived at the office, ready to begin the day at 11:20am.

Have I mentioned that God is teaching this impatient girl the virtue of patience?

In America, I’m classified as type A.

I abide by schedules. I follow agendas. I like arriving on time. No, I like arriving early.

And that’s just one way Africa is changing me…