Monday, December 16, 2013

NoNo for Nana

Yesterday, I had the privilege of watching my sixteen-month-old granddaughter, Devyn.  We had such great fun!  The park was beautiful and there were slides of all shapes and sizes just waiting for the pitter-patter of Devyn’s feet!  The pitter-patter of Devyn’s feet was followed close behind by the clump-de-clump of Nana’s feet.  Up and down.  Up and down.  Up and down we went.  Nana kept getting stuck in the slide making Devyn laugh her head off.  By the time we got home, Devyn and I were exhausted.  Well, maybe I should rephrase that - I was exhausted and, luckily, it was Devyn’s nap time.  So, we tucked each other in and slept for four hours! 

I woke up with sore knees and an aching back. 

“My God!” I thought to myself, “I’m this out of sorts from a short trip to the park!” 

I guess it is time I accept the inevitable truth that I am no spring chicken any more.  I mean it’s really bad when you take longer naps than your granddaughter and your bedtime is earlier than hers.  There are so many things that are daily reminders of my waning youth.  Like, for instance, the other day my hairdresser trimmed my eyebrows after she plucked them!

I was looking at family pictures we took at the park and I noticed that whenever I smiled my eyes disappeared.  How sad is that!  Speaking of eyes, I was wondering why my husband was sneaking up on me and getting really close to my face when I was lying on the couch. 

“What are you doing!” I screamed in his rapidly approaching face.  (I knew he wasn’t getting romantic after all). 

“I was trying to see if you were awake.” He yelled as he jumped back from the couch and almost fell over the coffee table.  “I couldn’t tell if your eyes were open.” 

Another true sign of aging is when NoNo (the “no more hair in unwanted places” gadget for chin hair) is at the top of your Christmas list. 

Speaking of Christmas, I was whispering to Bill the other night about our thirteen-year-old’s present I ordered online when she yelled from her bedroom, “I heard that!” 

“How could she hear me?”  I whispered to Bill. 

“I heard that too, mom! You and dad are both deaf!” Came her snarky reply. 

Deaf!  What is she crazy!  I can’t help it if all she and her sisters do is mumble all the time.  Mumble this and mumble that - I went to the wrong friend’s house to pick her up the other day because she mumbled the name into the phone.  How embarrassing was that to show up at JJ’s house to pick up your daughter who was at Cricket’s house!  I mean, come on, JJ and Cricket sound almost exactly the same when you mumble the names!

I have a confession to make.  I started texting more and talking less because all my friend’s have lousy phones that make them sound like they are in tunnels or under water.  Unfortunately, I can’t read their replies because I broke my reading glasses when they fell out of my pocket while Devyn and I were stuck in the slide.

There are so many things about growing old that I could continue to mention like never sneeze or laugh after consuming even a tablespoon of liquid.  However, there is a bright side to aging...damn, I forgot what it is!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Nudge

I play scrabble on the computer, and every once in a while it will ask if I want to “nudge” someone into making a move.  I started thinking about the word “nudge” and I meandered through my fertile mind until I rested in the valley beside still waters.  There, I started thinking about how God nudges us.  More to the point, how he nudges me.  I often grow weary of listening to God or for God.  Maybe weary is not the right word to use.  I grow leery is perhaps more apropos.  What I mean by that is I don’t know if it is God directing my path or my foolish ways directing my path.  How do I know the difference between a God “nudge” and a Betty “nudge”?

I was sitting in Bible study the other day listening to a lady speak very passionately about how God is the God of miracles if you “own” His word and know His word is written for you and with you in mind and that God can do ALL things.  As I was listening to her, my knees began to ache from sitting in one position - they ache from ANYTHING.  So, I silently told God that if he was a God of miracles to heal my knees right there and then.  My knees kept right on aching.  Was it something I said?  Was it something I didn’t say?  Was it my lack of faith?  I don’t know.  All I know is that God did not perform any miracle on my knees - not then and not now.

Am I angry at God?  Sometimes.  Sometimes I ask Him why he doesn’t cure my ails so that I can do more for His kingdom.  I whine.  I cry out.  It doesn’t matter.  My knees still hurt really bad, I still can’t sleep at night, and I still have to take blood thinners to prevent another stroke.  Because of the stroke, I still don’t recognize people who should be familiar to me and find myself hiding from people I know I should know, but I don’t know.  It is exhausting being in pain all the time, and I wonder why God would want me like that.  I mean, I have so much to do for Him!

Maybe that is it.  I do have so much to do for God’s kingdom.  But, God doesn’t call the equipped does he?  He equips the called.  I have no doubt that I am called.  I got the nudge, and I know it was from God.  I know because it was right and just and required me to surrender completely and step out in faith.  Perhaps for the first time in my life, I was able to do that.  I didn’t look back.  I didn’t second-guess the call.  I didn’t say, “Wait until my health is better.”  “Wait until I have no kids at home.”  Wait until the mortgage is paid off.”  I just did it.  I just walked into my principal’s office and resigned from my job.  I walked away from a $50,000 a year paycheck with benefits to a $0 a year paycheck with no health benefits.  Why?  I did it because it was finally time for me to listen to God and, more importantly, to trust Him completely.

So, I allowed God to nudge me from a 2400 sq. ft. home into a 15’ x 32’ RV.  I allowed him to nudge me from a $50,000 a year job to a part-time volunteer position.  I went from being able to pay all my bills to scraping two pennies together hoping they’ll make more pennies (it hasn’t happened yet).  What has happened though is that I have found that all my needs and my family’s needs have still been met.  We’re not starving.  We’re not out on the street.  We have all the comforts of home - albeit on a much smaller scale.

I learned a lot from this nudge.  I learned that I am equipped as much as I need to be to do what I’ve been called to do at this moment.  I learned that I can trust God to provide my daily bread and my daily energy.  I’m learning to let Him lead me when I cannot see where the path of my life is taking me. I’m learning to listen to Him by recognizing His voice in my everyday life.

I’ve recognized God’s nudge through the smiles of my special needs students.  I know it’s Him nudging me when my 800-pound horse rests his huge head gently on my shoulder.  I know it’s God’s nudge when my granddaughter gives me Eskimo kisses.  I know it’s Him in my husband's hugs and my daughter’s dancing.  He nudges me every day to look at my life through a different prism and to be thankful because I know that He has plans to prosper me and not to harm me.  I may not have painless knees, but I have knees that allow me to do just what I need to do.  I believe that God would not want me to be healed completely because then my life would not be a testament to what people can accomplish despite their limitations.  I know that He will always deliver on His promises as long as I allow Him to nudge me from time to time.  

Saturday, October 12, 2013

What Kind Of...?

“Miss Betty, I’m here!” Tito announces into the phone. 

“I know, Tito.” I tell him, “I’ll be there in a few minutes.”

This is the conversation I have every morning on my way to “work”.  It never fails; the phone call comes usually fifteen minutes before the scheduled arrival time - never late.  That is Tito’s motto.  He is never late to work.  Neither is Josh or Heather or any of the others.  Ever. 

Here’s the thing, they don’t get paid.  I don’t get paid.  We just show up for “work” and, well, work!  But, it is so much more than work.  It is opportunity.  It is community.  It is joy. 

Where is this joyful place where people work but don’t get paid and want to be there so much so that they are always early?  It reminds me of that car commercial where the car drives by a spectator and the person says...”What kind of...” without finishing the sentence.

I’ll try to tell you as much as is humanly possible what kind of place this is.  It is a place where Jesus shows up - that I know.  Jesus limps into this place with his left side paralyzed.  He shows up everyday despite the fact that he cannot communicate verbally.  He comes in his wheelchair wearing a smile.  He comes to this place broken and hurting and challenged beyond what any of us can truly comprehend and he finds joy.  He is joy. 

This is the place where I “work”.  I don’t care if I ever get paid because I am paid in full each and every day that I have the privilege to serve Him.  I am paid in smiles, laughter, kindness and love.  There is love in this place and I wouldn’t trade it for all the money in the world!

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Matthew 25:40 NIV

Monday, September 23, 2013

Carry You

It was April 20, 1989; Twenty-four years ago.  Yet, my heart still aches.  Something will trigger the memory and the pain wells up like a newly formed wound that will take forever to heal.  Or, maybe will never heal.  It’ll leave a scar for sure.  Scarred; that is how I feel.  Scarred for life.  Scarred about life.  Scarred from life. 

Today it was a song; “I Will Carry You.”  I started the day asking God to answer my whispered prayer.  I didn’t expect him to rip open an old wound.  Is that really how you answer prayer, God?  Thanks a lot!   

Why?  Why today of all days did God decide to have me read that story and listen to that song that brought twenty four years of mourning into this morning:  This regular everyday morning when I was just going about my everyday business praying my everyday prayers. 

Six.  That is the magic number.  Six babies.  Six little souls.  Six huge gaping wounds.  The one wound is the gapiest I guess.  It’s that way because the others were so young.  They barely made it to three months old.  Hardly a baby after all!  I did feel them, though.  I felt them stir.  Maybe I just imagined it, but I know they were a part of me in my heart and in my soul.  God blessed me with them.  He asked me to carry them.  I said yes.  Then, like some mean hateful revengeful...I don’t know - he took them away.  All of them.  The one I remember most was the one that made it past three months.  That one was going to make it all the way.  I just knew it. 

Does God empty you completely so that He can fill you up again?  Is that what He was doing?  He sure did a good job of emptying me.  He emptied me of my joy.  He emptied my soul.  He emptied my uterus.  I didn’t love Him then.  I didn’t trust Him then.  I didn’t turn to Him then.  I didn’t want any part of Him then.  I wanted my babies.  They were mine! 

The first five were barely a flicker in my eye.  The doctors were so cavalier about the whole thing.  “Oh,” they’d say, “There had to be something terribly wrong with the baby.  It’s nature’s way of taking care of things.”  Nature’s way!  Really?  Every time I left the office feeling so completely empty and I couldn’t explain it to anyone.  Not to my husband.  Not to my family or friends.  Not to God. 

I’m not going to lie.  I’m not going to sugar coat this.  I’m not going to say that I didn’t scream and cry and shout and raise my fist to the heavens and curse the God that asked me to be the mother to these precious souls and then cruelly snatched them out of my life.  I had no one.  No one understood my pain.  No one understood my loss.  No one understood the depths of my emptiness.  Not you and not God.

I carried the bitterness like the yoke that it was.  I carried it on my shoulders.  I carried it in my heart.  I carried it in my head.  I carried it through my life as it burdened every part of every day for twenty four years.  The yoke of unforgiveness.  I couldn’t.  I wouldn’t.  I didn’t know how to forgive myself for being the terrible mother I was.  What kind of mother would...what kind?  What kind of mother would drink a beer knowing that she has a precious life inside of her?  What kind of mother would sand furniture, paint the house, speed in the car...what kind of mother!  What kind of mother was I!!  I was a lousy mother!  I couldn’t keep them safe!  I didn’t save them!@  I wanted to keep them safe and well and happy and I wanted them to live.  What kind of mother was I@!  I could not forgive myself.  EVER!

Today.  Today I prayed that God would answer my whispered prayer.  I didn’t even know what my whispered prayer was.  I asked Him when he would answer it.  He said now.  I said, “I don’t see it.”  He said, “That’s because you are not looking.”  I’m looking now.  I’m looking at the words my fingers are typing and I’m listening to the song “I Will Carry You.” 

There were photographs I wanted to take.  Things I wanted to show you.  Sing sweet lullabies, wipe your teary eyes.  Who could love you like this?  


I will carry you...I wanted to carry you not just in my womb.  I wanted to hold you in my arms as your heart beat in rhythm with mine.  But I know now my precious little babies that I did carry you then and now.  I carry you all in my heart and my soul.  Thank you God for the short time that you blessed me with my little angels.  The silence has brought me to your voice, God.  I’m listening.  I will no longer carry the yoke of unforgiveness.  I’m forgiven.  You have them in your arms and I know I will see them and hold them and carry them soon.  Until then, thank you God for CARRYING ME.http://youtu.be/FlDUkp1Ts8A

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

nataS enoG


Imagine a country where everything is backwards...life is not sacred, freedom is no more, God is erased, people who believe in God persecuted, neighbor turns against neighbor, terrorists become rock stars, defenders of oppressed people ignored, defenders of climate change rewarded, animal rights trump people’s rights, women beg for the right to kill their unborn children, men “father” children and then refuse to be fathers, leaders lie to, cheat, spy on and steal from the people...Now, imagine you live in such a country.  Would this be one nation under God or one nation under Satan?  I, for one, want to restore our backwards nation...I want nataS enoG!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Hatchling


I write best when my mind reaches that third dimension where thoughts are tweezed from the outer limits.  Of course, this kind of writing is more like a dream state that summons me out into the restless thought night to lasso the dancing words, corral them, make sense of them, tame them before they flee like winged creatures catching the next wind to Neverland.  

Tonight is no exception.  They wake me.  They sing to me until the song becomes an earwig tunneling into my mind and laying word eggs that beg to be hatched.  It doesn’t matter the time of day, they hatch when they are ready.  They hatch and run chick-like scratching and pecking and chirping until the chick noise pops me fully awake and I wonder what words will be hatched at 2 AM that couldn’t wait until a decent hour.

So, here I sit.  Hear I sit.  Hearing the restlessness, but not hearing it.  Feeling it tugging and gnawing trying to get through so my fingers will type the brain.  Or, my brain will type the fingers.  

I’m trying to unleash it...birth it.

The story of all stories.  The story that will spellbind and enthrall.  The story that will make the New York Times bestseller list.  I know it is in there.  I no that it is in there.  No.  

It’s the doubting no that creeps like a thief and pries the tweezers away leaving me with nothing to snatch the bestselling words.  I’m left empty once again; dribbling nonsensical mocking words onto the paper.  

Is tonight any different?  Is no winning over know?  Probably.  So many times I’ve wrestled with this keyboard.  I’ve begged it to produce the “story”.  I’ve sat for years pondering the tale; but that’s another story; end of story; it’s a long story; the same old story; as the story goes...there it goes.  Gone.  

The winged creatures took the thoughts.  The chickens have come home to roost in my brain.  Their pecking, clucking, scratching words have ceased.  Now, the silence is deafening.  All I hear is the hollow sound of the A/C singing its sweet lullaby that beckons me to the warm covers where sleep might finally take me away.  I doubt it.

Maybe tomorrow the story will hatch.  What shall I call it?  

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Earth's Angels


“Josh, do you want yellow paint or blue paint?” I asked the dark handsome young man as he held his paint brush at the ready.

“Do you want yellow paint or blue paint?” came his reply.

I tried a different tact: “Which color would you like?” I asked as I pointed to the yellow and blue bottles.

“Which color would you like?” he repeated as he rubbed his hands in anticipation of painting.

His piercing blue eyes gazed at me and my heart melted.  Holding his hand, I directed his attention toward the paint.  First, I placed his hand on the blue bottle and then on the yellow bottle.  “Choose one.” I instructed.

“Choose one.” he repeated as he picked up the blue bottle and handed it to me.

“Great job, Josh!” I praised his choice. 

He grinned at me as I poured his paint into the cup.  Without any hesitation, he carefully dipped his brush into the cup and went about his work with unbridled delight.  It was clear that this young man was born to paint.  As he turned the melted record, he never got one drop of paint on himself or the table.  His meticulous workmanship was evident as his creation came to life.  It was going to be a blue flower - a piece of yard art.  The 
iridescent blue on the black record was strikingly beautiful.

“This is going to be a masterpiece!” I said to Josh.

“This is going to be a masterpiece!” He repeated.

Next to Josh sat Jason chatting away about this or that as he made his melted records into a small fountain.  Behind Jason, Zach was removing the cover off the worm bin preparing to feed the worms.  On the other side of Zach, two volunteers were busily melting records on a grill having a grand time laughing and reminiscing about the days when we played our music on turntables.  The baby sat in her playpen while Derek fed her cheerios.  

“I’m the best babysitter.” Derek informed me.

“Yes, you certainly are!” I smiled at him.

As I looked around at all my special students I couldn’t help but notice what a happy place it was.  No one was grouchy.  No one was complaining.  It dawned on me that I couldn’t remember a day when anyone was ever in a bad mood.  I know that all my troubles seem to melt away when I’m with my kids.  

Why, I pondered, are all these kids so happy?  Surely they shouldn’t be happy by our standards.  Some of them can hardly speak.  Some have physical deformities that are very limiting and must be painful.  Yet, they are all exceedingly happy.  No, JOYFUL.  That is what they are - JOYFUL.  They are filled with joy beyond what we mere mortals can comprehend.

I have a theory.  My theory is that these special people are God’s earth angels.  They are angels sent into our lives to keep us humble.  They are sent into our lives to remind us of how blessed we are.  They are sent into our lives to bless us with pure joy - if we allow it.  You see, we have to recognize God’s precious gifts in order to enjoy them.  

“Josh,” I said as I noticed he was almost done with his blue flower, “would you like to paint a yellow flower now?”

“Yes.” he said.  

My heart almost burst.  Josh had never answered a direct question in his life.  This is what I live for - little victories which shine through my special students every day.  They are my earth angels that I am so blessed to serve.  

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Fingers vs. Brain


Writing.  Writing .  Writing.  That is what I do.  I am a writer. I am, I am, I am, am I? Am I? Am I?  I am a writer or am I a writer?  Is writing who I am or is who I am a writer?  Does writing define me or do I define it?  How do I decide what to write?  Does what I write decide me?  What a paradox.  

I don’t know if my writing finds me or if I find my writing.   Where do I find my writing?  Is it in me?  Is it outside of me?  Is it part of who I am or part of what I am surrounded by?  Where does it come from?  Does it come from a babbling brook or a bbbbabbbbling brain or a bbabbbling blood flow from within the veins of my being; within the pores of my skin.  Does it pour out of me or does it pour into me?  

Pouring like the rain.  

Pouring like tears of sadness and tears of joy and tears of frustration.  

Mellow tears or hollow tears?  

Pouring like the river of babbling words.  

Where does it come from?  From my fingers that keep typing away at nothing or typing away at everything?  Fingers eating away at the thoughts running, skipping, racing through my brain like a freight train with no destiny.  No itinerary.  No journey too far or too near or too crazy.  

That is where my writing is taking me to the crazy train of thoughts that race unhindered in a fertile mind that has no boundaries.  It could derail at any time.  It does derail and skips rails and tumbles into the train wreck; into the train yard of rusty old memories.

Where does the writing come from?  

Where is it going?  

What is its destiny?  

Is it destined to die in the heap of wrecked trains?  Or is it 
destined to ride the rails of greatness?  Does it matter?  Does it really matter where the writing takes me?  Does it matter where my writing takes you?  Do you want to ride the rambling freight of runaway thoughts?  Do I want to ride the train?  

I have no choice because my fingers insist on typing.  Click click clicking away at the keys.  Frantic fingers.  Dancing fingers.  Fingers that have no boundaries.  Fingers that won’t tire even as the rest of the body screams that it is time to rest.  sleep.  so tired.  Yet, the fingers type endlessly.  Purposefully.  Nonsensically.  Nonsense - and still they type.  Still they type beyond the cramping beyond the call to stop this silliness.  

“I am not a writer!” I shout to the fingers. 

“Yes, yes you are!” they say.  “You are a writer because you belong to us and we belong to you and we will not stop typing. Typing is what we do.  It is what we love.  It is what we live for.  We live to type meaningless words or worthy words or funny words or sad words - any words.  That is what we fingers do and that is what we love.  We fingers are the writers - the typers of great and wonderful words.  The typers of powerful and sad words;  happy words like love and joy and peace.  Silly words like Horace Hobbersnipple and dancing squirrels and the like.  We are the writers - you just supply the brain!”

“Ok, fingers” I scream, “the brain says stop.”  

“Ha! No! Not yet! We’re not done!” they punch back.  “We’re just getting warmed up.  We are happy fingers.  Happy to be pecking.”  

Peck. 
Peck.  
Peck.  

STOP!” I scream.  

“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.”  They mock.

“Stop typing!” I beg.  

I beg, you beg, we all beg for ice cream.  Still they type.

“Please stop!”  I holler from the back of my brain.  

I holler, you holler, we all holler for ice cream.  My fingers continue to mock me.  They go on and on and on.  They know I’m tired and yet they type.  Why?  What do that want to say?  

“Say it!  Say it@  Say it!!!!”  

“No.  Not tonight.  Not yet.  Soon.  Soon we’ll say what has to be said.  Soon - when the inside meets the outside and the two become one.  When you know for certain that you are a writer and writing is you.  That you feel it inside and out.  That you become one with yourself - your whole self.  When your fingers and you become one and work together to create the writing that is in you and around you and through you.  Then, we will say it together.  Soon.  Soon you’ll be ready to say it.”

Monday, March 4, 2013

We Found This at the Mall


I opened the mailbox and gathered the usual junk mail and bills.  There was one plain white envelope, no return address, addressed to my daughter, Katie.  I called Katie and told her about the mystery envelope and she told me that she wasn’t expecting anything in the mail. 

I suspected that I knew what was in the envelope because I know my daughter.  I know that Katie’s car keys are missing more than they are found.  I know that she’s left her phone on the roof of her car on more than one occasion.  I know that she has a habit of leaving her gas cap at various gas stations.  In fact, I’m surprised that she hasn’t driven off with the gas pump still attached to the car.

If there is something to be lost, Katie will lose it.  If something needs to be misplaced, call Katie.  Her car looks like a bomb went off inside.  Her room looked the same way when she lived at home.  Now, she lives in her own apartment and I get regular panicked phone calls from Katie asking me if she left this or that at our house.

The thing is; it’s got to be part of her DNA.  If there is a “losing, misplacing, disorganized, absentminded” gene, then it is dominant in our gene pool.  I wish I could say that it all comes from her dad’s side of the family, but that would be disingenuous.  I, too, tend to be disorganized but, frankly, I am no match for Katie’s father. 

There was the time when the van keys were missing and Katie’s dad told her to try and start the van without the keys – and the damn thing started!  Katie drove off with no keys in the ignition and no radiator cap on the radiator because her dad forgot to put it back on the night before.  I wrote a story about that adventure: “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” 

Once, Katie lost her car keys and I needed to use her car.  I took the spare key and drove her car up the street to the grocery store.  When I pulled the key out of the ignition, it flew out of my hand.  I never found the key.  It literally vanished into thin air.  To this day, the key remains missing.  We had to call a tow truck to bring the car home because that was the last spare key. 

Sometimes I worry about Katie.  Actually, I worry about her all the time.  That’s just a mother thing. I know that God looks after her.   Katie is the sweetest and most kindhearted person I know.  She would give you the shirt off her back – or a few shirts out of the back of her car…

”Open the envelope, Mom.”  

I opened the envelope.  It was a simple unsigned note wrapped around Katie’s driver’s license: “We found this at the mall.”  

A few months after I wrote this story a letter arrived for Katie from a dentist.  I knew Katie had just been to the dentist, so I called her and told her that her dentist sent her a letter.  

"Why would my dentist send me a letter?" She asked bewildered.  

"How do I know?  Do you want me to open it?" I asked.

"I'm on my way over" she responded, "I'll open it when I get there."

"Has anyone seen my phone charger?"  Katie asked as she came through the door about an hour later.

"Why? Did you lose it?"

"I think I left it here last time I was here." 

"I haven't seen it."   

"Well it doesn't matter anyway because my phone fell down between the couch cushions and I can't get it out."  

I handed her the letter from the dentist.  "This isn't even my dentist." She said as she opened the envelope.  

"There it is!" she exclaimed.  "I must have dropped it when I went with Sam to the western bar to line dance.  It's in the same parking lot as the dentist."

"What is it?" I asked.

She showed me her beat up and battered driver's license.  It was wrapped in a note: "We found this in the parking lot outside our office and thought you might be missing it."  

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Recalculating


I don’t have a GPS system.  I guess we don’t travel enough to warrant owning one.  I have, however, had the pleasure of being a passenger in the car of people who do own one and have observed firsthand the joys of that melodious voice telling you that it is “Recalculating!” 
My friend’s GPS is named Mona.  I can understand why.  Mona sounds like a dying animal with her moaning voice informing my friend that she has to “recalculate” the route again.   Mona doesn’t hide the annoyance in her accusing tone inferring that my friend is the stupidest person to ever get behind the wheel of a car. 
Inevitably, my friend turns off the voice before she silences Mona for good.  I suspect there are a lot of Monas out there whose owners tune them out or turn them off altogether.  


What did we do before the GPS entered our lives?  I remember using an old-fashioned map.  In fact, I still do use a map when Bill and I realize that we are hopelessly lost.  The map eventually gets us back on course.  


Thinking about maps and GPS systems, got me pondering a question - What if God has a GPS? 


Recently, someone said to me, “You are always just where God wants you to be.”
Isn’t it true?  Aren’t we always where God wants us to be?  I mean, He is in charge of our lives even when we think differently.  Every situation is God ordained even when we cannot fathom why God would allow certain situations to happen.  We cannot see the big picture.  We have a small limited map of our lives.  Yet, God has the master GPS system.  I picture Him up in heaven with His gigantic GPS mapping all of our imperfect paths that we choose to follow.  When we stray off course, God is like that GPS voice that announces, “Recalculating!”  


How often does God “recalculate” our course?  I suspect that it is daily for some of us. I think I’m a daily recalculatee.  If I were truthful, I’d admit that I often tune out or turn off the voice altogether.  I know that it is my strong will that veers me off course.  I’m sure that I have not followed my life’s road map in the way that He would have wanted, but that is the mystery of God.   He never gives up on us.  He never waivers – even when we do.  He always makes a way for us to get back on the path.
So, what is God’s destination?  I believe it is not the destination that matters.  It’s the journey.  In fact, I’d say the journey is the destination.


My journey with God as my GPS began forty-six years ago.  I was eight when I believe that I was visited by the Holy Spirit for the first time in a dream.  There have been three other times when I had dreams that have completely transformed my life – all similar to the dream when I was eight.





As much as an eight-year-old can understand, I knew that the dream was a revelation of sorts.  In my dream, I saw an indescribable light.  I was scared at first, but then felt a peace that, too, was indescribable.  There was a voice that called my name.  The voice seemed to come from beyond the light, yet it was as if it was right beside me as well.  I wanted to join the light, to walk into it.  Then, I felt something holding me back.   


I listened to the voice calling to me and I spoke to it.  I told the voice that I knew there was something I had to do before I could join the light.  The voice stopped calling my name and the light started to fade.  I turned from the light and began walking down a tunnel feeling both sad and empowered.  When I woke up, I knew that I was destined to “do something”.  I just didn’t know what that something was.
For years, I’ve searched my soul asking that question, “What is the ‘something’ I told the voice I had to do?”  I know now that the “something” is the journey; it's walking with God on a daily basis.  To me, the voice and the light represented the Holy Spirit.  Perhaps some might refer to this dream as a visit from an angel.  I absolutely believe that it was God-inspired because I knew at that moment that my destiny was ordained by God.  Have I strayed off course since? Absolutely!   I’ve become better at recognizing my detours but I still take them regularly.  

The other day I was sitting in church and the pastor said something that just hit me like a rock.  He was talking about a missionary that wrote in his journal: no reserves, no retreat, no regrets.  It occurred to me that I have lived my life with reserves.  I’ve retreated and I’ve even experienced regrets for the choices I’ve made. 

What if I changed the way I think?  I asked myself as I sat in church.  What if I faced everything with no reserves?  What if I never retreated and never regretted my decisions? 

So, how do I live my life like this?  Well, I believe it means giving up my life completely and putting it in God’s hands with no reserves.  In other words; do whatever it is God has put on my heart without saying, “But…I don’t have the money; I don’t have the time; wait until my daughter graduates; we have to move; my health needs to improve; I have to have knee surgery...”the list of ‘buts’ is endless.  It means doing it now and doing it with conviction and determination.  It means doing it even when the road is tough – especially when the road is tough. 
When I reach my destination I want to know that I didn’t retreat from the bumpy roads, that I overcame the roadblocks and that I followed the map to the best of my ability.  I don’t want to regret the steps I took and I know that I can only do that by walking daily with God’s GPS system as the guide – and especially taking the time to listen when the voice says, “recalculating”.