Who doesn’t like to travel? Like it or not, we all do it everyday. I’m not talking about the errands we run or vacations we take. I refer to the journey we’re all on together.It’s a physical one, at a steady pace, that has been set for us with no need for WAZE, GPS, or City Mapper. Everyone starts and finishes in his or her own predestined time with a predestined purpose. Mine began 14,609 days ago. That equates to 23,362.4 million miles around the sun. For all intents and purposes let’s call it a cool 40 laps. This obviously doesn’t include the time my dear mother carried me until I was ready to take my first breathes.
Yes, the laps are years, and each time I round that fiery ball of gas my energy level surges. All it takes is little sun shine on my face when it’s 10°F and I’m ready to hit the slopes, small ones, very small ones. A combination of cold, cloudy, and gloomy weather will paralyze me. In those conditions, if the heater isn’t set at the perfect temperature or a fireplace isn’t lit, don’t even try to pry me outta my spot! Having grown up on the Gulf Coast of TX, warmer temperatures have always been my preference. John says I’m solar-powered. So, each summer, as I complete one of my laps, he braces himself for the “Big Plans I have for us”. The plans don’t always come to fruition but he’s always a good sport to let me dream big and get as far as we can with them.
Turn your face to the sun and let the shadows fall behind you
– Maori Proverb
40 years seems like a lot of time. However, I consider the first half developmental. It was in those years that I would learn to communicate, conform to societal norms, and start building my relationship with God. Glory and Praise songs that came to life via an LP Record Player in elementary school are still emblazoned on my heart. This was also when He would reveal His purpose for me and I had no idea. As an adolescent, my body and psyche would morph fast and furiously into unrecognizable versions of the organism and identity that had both historically evolved in such a gentle manner. Out of my teens and in a new town I started to feel in control of my life. I was self-sufficient and had a promising future in a career I was enjoying despite not having a degree. I had not yet learned to reign in the energy surges that I bank on today. I rounded the laps of my early twenties with the unbridled spirit of a wild mustang. Actually, that may have just been the horsepower or possibly the muffler of my white 1980’s model Pontiac Firebird… Whatever the case, I believed I was having the time of my life.
Austin, TX was life! Hello! It’s the music capital of the world, a foodie’s paradise, and a nature lover’s haven. My intention was to live out my days in South Austin. I was literally headed no where and really fast with the speeding tickets to prove it. Pandemonium was confused for freedom. Freedom from what? My self-ruling zeal for life had derailed me from God’s purpose for my life.
Have you ever felt a conviction so deep that it brought you to your knees? Well, I haven’t, but this one pulled me off of I35 into a Whataburger parking lot one night. I couldn’t see through my tears making it unsafe to drive. John and I had been dating for a month when he moved away. This was a choice he’d made and put in motion before we’d started dating. Both in our mid twenties it was mutually decided to try to make it work long distance. My heart hurt and I was so confused. Why would God put this man in my life just to take him away? Five years before Carrie Underwood released Jesus Take the Wheel I cried my eyes out in an almost empty parking lot and faced the Son. I remember my plea word for word:
“Dear Lord, What do I do? SHOW me because at every turn I’ve made the wrong choices and I’m just to tired to figure it out. ”
After those words came out of my mouth the tears just stopped. I COULDN’T cry anymore. Then, I did what any respectable Texan would do; I drove through and ordered a vanilla shake and Whataburger Jr. God took care of the rest. When I married John just 10 short months later my life took a trajectory that fairy tales are dreamed of. Our first son was born a month after I turned 25 and our second by the time I was 30. I’ve spent last decade supporting my husband in his career. Most importantly he and I are guiding our boys as they navigate their own laps around the sun and pray that the choices they make are in harmony with God’s purpose in their lives. They are human, though. So we expect some dissonance.