Ever start out on a journey to have it only end up at a dead end… or perhaps a detour along the way?
My family is temporarily living in a new state with new highways, byways and back roads to explore. We traveled this distance with only one vehicle… so we are learning to share. 🙂
Husband has to go to work and leaves at 6am… so needless to say… He usually wins the “who gets the car today” battle.
My people are not early risers… Never have been… And prayerfully… Never will be. Let me just be honest with you for a brief moment… The whole “we are a family that likes to sleep in” thing… Is reason número UNO as to why I chose to homeschool!!! Ha!ha! Kidding. Not kidding!! Yes I am kidding… It’s waaay further down on the “why did we choose to homeschool list” but yes… It is one of the perks. 🙂
Now it’s not that we sleep til noon or anything like that, but most days… 8:30 am is about the average time our gang gets up and going… So you see… The whole “let’s get up and take daddy to work at 6am so that we can have the car for the day” thing doesn’t really fit into our sleeping in plan.
However, my mom came up with the novel idea to have husband come pick us up during his lunch break so that we can have the car for a few hours while he finishes out his work day. So we now do this several afternoons a week. Great idea Mimi!!
So… Last week the kids decided they had some Christmas money burning a hole in their pockets so they wanted to venture out and find a shopping mall. So that’s what we did!
The drive to the mall was unbelievably gorgeous! My GPS is for sure my BFF these days… But for some reason Stella (the name we gave our GPS bc everything we own has to have a name because that just makes life more fun) was being particularly stubborn this day. She had me get off an exit and make all sorts of crazy turns that were not at all the path to the mall and ended up being more like a journey that took us “off the beaten path.”
I had no idea where in the world we were but didn’t know what else to do but follow her lead. Well… Stella’s lead took us right down a dead. end. road.
No Mall in sight…
No Target, Walmart or even Dollar General for the eyes to see.
What in the world???
I was slightly frustrated with my BFF Stella.
What were we to do? We were lost. Not just lost but dead end lost. No side roads, back roads or even dirt roads for us to turn down. Just as the sign read… we were at a dead end.
Those words made me think about my journey with the Lord… And perhaps it will make you think about your personal journey as well.
How many times in life do we feel like we are at a dead end?
We receive a diagnosis. And in our mind… It’s a dead end.
We receive a phone call telling us that a loved one has passed away. And we feel like we are at a dead end.
A relationship goes sour. Our car breaks down. A bill comes in the mail and there is no money in the bank to pay it… Dead end. Dead end. Dead end.
Often we travel down roads that feel much like a dead end. We allow these “dead ends” to bring us thoughts of despair, unhappiness, guilt, anxiety or shame. At dead end roads… We are usually at a loss and have no idea what to do, where to turn, or how to get out of them.
When my kiddos and I were faced with our dead end on our journey to the mall… I became a little frustrated with my GPS and really didn’t know which direction to take or where to turn next…
I shifted my eyes… I changed the direction of my focus. I. LOOKED. UP. My perspective had an entirely new outlook when I ascended my perception. And while ascending… I got a glimpse of this beauty…
This red barn.
This beautiful red barn.
It only took me shifting my eyes… Looking up… Taking my focus off of the dead end sign… And there it was. A beautiful red barn, peeking through the trees, popping up like it was just birthed out of the remnant of snow that was left on the ground. What an astonishing sight. Thank you Jesus for changing my perspective. Thank you Jesus for allowing me to see beauty (red barn) instead of ashes (the dead end sign).
I love barns… Always have… And I love that my Savior placed this beauty right before my eyes in my tiny moment of despair.
And now… I see them everywhere. I notice them on all of our drives. My kids even notice them now so much that we have an “inside Paul family joke” that if anyone sees a red barn we all exclaim “red barn!” And then they pipe in “but don’t stop and take a picture!”
Beauty for ashes… A dead end road birthing a beautiful sight. And I can’t help but ponder the thought that maybe… Just maybe… We can see all of our “dead end road” experiences as opportunities for the Lord to reveal to us something greater, more beautiful… Something that only God could create or display.
May all of your “dead end roads” become “red barn” experiences.
Psalm 121 (NIV)
A song of ascents.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.