TIME. It flies by doesn’t it? I was reminded of that tonight as I headed East up the curvy road with beautiful trees, the one that used to be my drive home for a short time. I remember savoring that drive, that road, many years ago. I used to daydream driving up it. Thinking it would be my road until I was old and gray. Wondering what the next 10 years of driving it would bring.
It’s safe to say that I might be a little sentimental and overly romantic about my drive home. I think it’s because I lived out in the country growing up, and by country, I mean the Lake of the Woods. It’s this little neighborhood or community surrounding a lake (and clearly a woods, ha) out in the outer county of my home town. And I remember that drive like it was yesterday. The houses. The fields. The gravel pit. I had counted all the telephone poles from my driveway to town. I even had specific ones that I would blink at when we drove by. Yes, blink. AND I would count them? Telephone poles. Yep. I was a total weirdo. Clearly some of my ocd started young, but I digress… And my brother and I knew all too well how fast we could make it to school in his car if we were running late. It’s scary to think about the things we did. I remember the bumps, the potholes, how we would drive to the center of the road to go over the drainage bridge because it made for smoother ride. He would smoke his marlboro lights and sing his songs and I would stare out the window and dream.
This was the same drive that I hated when I was little, for the most part. I wanted to live in town, be with my friends. Be “where the action was”. Bla bla bla (total brat). I hated being at the lake. But that drive did something inside me all those years. A fondness grew. And slowly it became my drive. Those houses along the side of road that I passed every day were burned deep into the soul of my childhood. And I took that with me as an adult. I looked forward to the road that I would one day call my road home. The one I would raise my children on…and they would be the ones staring out the windows, dreaming and whining about the trees lining their view…
It was a hard time for me, you know. All those years ago on that curvy road when my adult life was just beginning. Life was very, very different than it is now. It was a broken time, really. One of many I guess, because life is never easy for any of us, is it? There are good times, there are bad. I think we can all attest to that. But I was so young, and hurting so deeply. And I had no one but God. No one who could help me or heal my situation.
Almost twenty years has passed since then, since I was that girl in a hard situation with hurt seeping thru my soul. I remember that girl; the dashed dreams, the heavy heart, the verses I would repeat over and over as I tried to hold all the pieces together. I remember rushing out of my house to escape, because I had to do something, I had to go somewhere. I couldn’t explain it. I just had to drive. I would leave my house in desperation and drive a whopping few hundred yards down the road to a parking lot of a banquet center, which just so happened to be happily situated in the middle of nowhere. Perfect for a late night ugly cry. I would park, shut all the lights off, and WAIL from the deepest part of my being. I would beat my chest with my fist and beg God to help me. BEG. It was me, face down in the brokenness of my marriage, my life, crying out with all I had. If there had been dust and ashes available, they would have filled my car to the ceiling. I was broken. My marriage was broken. And that parking lot is where I would go to bare my soul to God.
Funny enough, that tonight, I headed down that same curvy road, to that same parking lot of tears for my first banquet to support a home for women who are hurting and in the depths of their own life turmoil. Oh the irony. I shook my head as I pulled into the parking lot, trying to make sense of it all. Only God can piece stories together like this. Only God. He’s surprisingly crafty in how He leads us if you ask me. How the desires He gives us for today…the ones we fight against and that seem impossible to get involved in… can somehow take us back to the broken parking lots of a life long forgotten.
I haven’t written in 8 months you know. I’ve danced around the keyboard a bit, considered it, but with my full schedule of work and family and church and podcasting and friends…there just wasn’t much left to give. But I knew the time would come where my passion for words and God and people would collide on these pages again. I just didn’t imagine it to come by way of the curvy road, to broken dreams, and the parking lot of tears. But it did.
And that’s how God works. Thru struggle and TIME, and a whole lot of ways you couldn’t imagine if you tried. Nope, you can’t imagine it. So stop trying. It’ll blind side you. That’s sort of God’s fancy way of being GOD. Weaving and connecting stories and using the scars of another to offer hope and healing to the wounded.
You’ll end up sitting at a banquet with a lump in your throat and a fire in your heart like I did tonight and come full circle in a world that fails and connects us all. I listened to a few brave hurting women tell their right now stories of messy hurts and broken dreams. And I honestly wanted to bum rush the stage and hug them into heaven. But I didn’t because that would be weird. So I sat in my chair next to my new sweet friend and care bare stared blessings over her and this night and these women and this home. And if you don’t know what a care bare stare is…just imagine the cutest stuffed bear you’ve ever seen, with a heart for a nose, and rainbows of love and good thoughts beaming from it’s belly. It’s how I imagine my most heart felt prayers because I’m a child of the 80’s ↓↓↓
All I keep coming back to my friends is the road home. It almost never looks like we imagined it to, does it? Deep down we all want a pretty one. With tree lined streets and birds chirping, the whole nine yards…right? But wherever we are, whatever the road home looks like, we have to OWN it.
And know this, where He has us, HE HAS US. We are not there alone. We just have to look up and get our eyes on God. He is there arms open, offering strength and hope, no matter the circumstances. And this God of ours has a way of weaving our messy hurts into redemption. It may come 20 years later and involve a parking lot and lots of old tears you thought were history, but God is always at work. Always. There is a HOPE for you wherever you are.
And GOD? He is making us into His image. Using our mistakes and failures, even the sins people have committed against us…they will not be wasted. God really is working things out for your good. Let’s hold on to that promise and claim it, not just have them be words said.
Some of us have old hurts, the kind that sting our eyes and bring us to tears when the road we’re on takes us near them…like me and the divorce I went thru all those years ago. And there are many of you in the depths of your own valley, right now, and you’re facing your own broken marriage or problems with addiction or abuse or depression. The fact is that this world is broken, and there isn’t one of us that is exempt from it’s reach.
Another song. I’ve been singing it for weeks. A sister of mine sent it to me, and it’s part of what brought me to this keyboard tonight. I bawled my eyes out singing this song on my drive home, and the words in it are my prayer for every one of you reading this… that you find MORE of God wherever you are and whatever you’re facing. Let’s sit at his feet. Lay back against the Lover of our soul, and melt in His peace.
“The more I seek you,
The more I find you
The more I find you, the more I love you
I want to sit at your feet
Drink from the cup in your hand.
Lay back against you and breathe, feel your heart beat
This love is so deep, its more than I can stand
I melt in your peace, its overwhelming…”