I’m joining Kate Moutang and friends for 5-Minute Friday today. In the interest of full-disclosure, I must admit this post took me WAY more than 5 minutes to write because my lovely little blessings interrupted me about 1,432 times. Also, we are not supposed to go back and edit, but I deleted the first half of what I wrote. Trust me. You don’t want to read it. It was whiny, but even worse, it was boring. So here’s what’s left.
Today’s word is HERE.
Well, here I am. Another year, another house, another town, another church. For someone who craves routine and order, this ever-mobile military life is becoming increasingly disruptive. The fact that directions and driving are not my strengths further complicates not living in the same place for very long.
We lived in our last location (which was an island) for only 10 months and I had just figured out how to navigate the various bridges and which lane to get in on the traffic circle when it was time to move again. When we first moved there, I made every mistake imaginable getting on and off the bridges. I’d get in the wrong lane and overshoot our entire island or spend 5 minutes going over a bridge I didn’t mean to only to have to turn around and come 5 minutes back the other way. And this was a toll bridge, so my mistakes weren’t free!
I’d always say, “Well I won’t make that mistake again.” And I didn’t. The next time I’d make a new mistake. It took me several months to go through all the possible errors and be able to arrive at my intended destination without taking the (ahem) “scenic route”.
So here we are—one summer later and I’m learning to navigate all over again in a new state. Last week, I had to take my daughter across the bridge (at least it wasn’t a toll) to the big city to get a cast on her arm. (She fractured it playing dodge ball. She dodged the ball, but not the floor.) On the way home, I used Siri to get me out of the city but I turned it off once I was on the highway thinking, “I’ve got it from here”.
Twenty minutes later I’m thinking, “I should’ve reached my exit by now” at the same time that I caught a glimpse of the highway sign. These two details together told me I had somehow taken the wrong highway out of the city. Guess I’m still more Siri-dependent than I realized.
I took the next exit and plugged my home address into the map app on my phone. Sure enough! The blinking blue dot was about 17 miles north of the red dot. Oops! No worries. The map showed a road that was a clear straight shot south to my home.
The problem was the tiny town I had to go through to get to said road was in the process of deconstructing their entire Main Street. Detour signs led me away from the closed road and then dumped me on some side street to figure it out for myself.
Siri was no help at all. He hadn’t gotten the message about the closed road, so he kept telling me to turn back towards it. I approached the closed road from every possible direction and followed every possible detour route for as long as there were signs. I kept going in circles and winding up right back at demolished Main Street.
TV shows from my past resurfaced and I began to wonder if I had somehow entered The Twilight Zone. After wandering for over 30 minutes, frazzled by the dual between Mr. Siri and Mr. Detour, I finally decided I’d had enough.
I whipped into a pizza place. I decided that I was so hopelessly lost it was time to turn off Siri and call on Jesus. (My daughter was slightly disappointed we weren’t getting pizza after all.) My prayer was something along the lines of “Lord, I can’t find my way back home. I need You to show me the way.” (That’ll preach!)
Then I basically used the digital map on my phone like an old-school paper map. (Only the phone is better because it tells you where you actually are and you don’t have to fold it.) I figured out the 3 turns I needed to make to bypass the construction and find the road home.
I handed the phone to my daughter and told her to tell me when the blue dot was approaching the next turn. Her instructions to me went something like this, “Turn now. No! Wait! Tuuuuuuurrrrrnnnnnn . . . NOW!!” Not quite as professional-sounding as Siri, but it’ll do.
In the end, we made it home in just over twice the time it should’ve taken us. Turns out Jesus is Lord over the Twilight Zone too. Hallelujah!
So here’s the obvious application.
We know how to navigate this life about as well as a new-comer to town who is unfamiliar with the roads. Our friends and family and the “experts” we look to for advice often come up short because, like Siri, they don’t know about the detours and hidden dangers.
Only God knows every road. He’s seen all the mistakes we’ve made and all the unnecessary tolls we’ve paid for our errors. He’s not laughing at us or disappointed in us. He’s eagerly waiting for us to ask Him for directions.
He’s saying to us, “Here I AM.”
Elizabeth is a military spouse, veteran, and mother of eight. Above and beyond caring for her family, her mission is to offer words that sustain the weary and equip people to live a life of faith filled with purpose.
Learn more at elizmeyers.com.