You Are Not Lost!

It was too windy to paddle by board or by kayak this morning so I decided to take the kids and Nana (the dog) to a campground about ten miles from the cabin. It is a nice little campground with a few short hiking trails. It’s a great park and in all of the years of going there I think I have seen a total of two people.

As Nana and I were hiking I started thinking about the fact that even though I have hiked this trail over twenty five times, I still have never gone the same way or ended up where I thought I would. It’s strange really. There are only two trailheads and the trail is easy to follow yet I never quite know where I am going or where I will end up. Sometimes I end up back at the trailhead, other times the trail kicks me out way down the road from the campsite and I find myself walking a half mile down the road back to the car.

It used to bother me. I used to get irritated when the trail didn’t seem to take me the way I thought it should or would suddenly kick me out on the main road. All of the other hiking trails I have been on have a clear start and finish to them, or at least have signs along the way telling you which way to go depending on which trail you want to be on. This one however just has a bunch of trails and your hike may take twenty minutes or two hours depending on which twists and turns you take. It really is quite odd.

Today when I realized that the path I was on was not taking me to the top with the cool view but was winding me down towards a place where I would once again get spit out on the road I thought about all of the paths my life has taken over the years. I thought about the times I felt as though I were climbing uphill forever and would never get to a point where I was rewarded with an amazing view. I thought about the times I thought my path was finally leading somewhere only to turn a corner and be spit back out onto the road. I thought about the times when I wasn’t aware of the effort I was putting forth because I was enjoying the journey so much that when I suddenly hit the top and looked around at the view I had no idea really how I got there.

We take many different paths during the course of our lives. Some of them lead to fantastic views, some of them are a lot of work with no reward, and some of them simply spit us back out on the road. I used to drive myself crazy trying to figure out what path I should take or if I am on the right path. To be honest with you, I still often find myself wondering if I am where I am supposed to be when it comes to the desires of my heart and my current job. It doesn’t make sense to me that the path I am currently on will lead to a mountaintop view of the dreams I have.

Regardless of what makes sense I simply continue taking one step at a time on the current path I am on. I meditate on Gods Word that says He will show me which path to take (Proverbs 3:6) and trust that even if I do not know where I am going, He does.

I used to worry that I had made too many mistakes or given up too many times for me to ever get back on the path God had planned for me. I believed God had good plans for me, but I also feared I had ruined that plan somewhere along the way. I put more faith in my mistakes than in Gods mercy and grace. I started to believe I had been moved to Plan B for my life. Yes, it was still a good life, but it was not Plan A, which is the plan and the path I want more than anything.

Maybe you feel the way I did. Maybe you feel like you have been down too many paths leading nowhere or have somehow found yourself on the wrong path altogether. Maybe you feel like God has moved you over to Plan B instead of his original Plan A for your life. If you feel this way please meditate on todays verse. Write it down and stick in on your bathroom mirror. Let it sink down into your heart and bring you peace.

The Lord is good and does what is right; he shows the proper path to those that go astray. Psalm 25:8 NLT

Notice it says that the Lord is good and does what is right. It doesn’t say that we are good or that we do what is right. It has nothing to do with us. God has a path for us and it is up to him to make sure we are on that path and make it to the mountaintop. The only thing we need to do is trust and believe him and keep moving one step at a time. If we are off course He will get us to where we need to be!

Love, Grace, and a Mountaintop View to You All,

Jen

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The Day of Small Beginnings…

I have been waiting for this day for a long time- the day I sit back down at my computer and write a blog. A few years ago I wrote Monday through Friday as if it were my job. I had over 600 posts. During that time I thought I was working my way towards being the next Joyce Meyer (or at least a local author and speaker). I believed God put those desires in my heart and I had faith that God would make them happen.

Then life dealt me a series of blows that slowly took the wind out of my sails. It seemed I would just recover from one hurt or loss and another would hit. Sometimes I didn’t even have time to recover from one before the next one occurred. I no longer had the words to write.There were many days that all I could say was “God is good. God is faithful.”, and those words were often spoken in hope more than in faith.

Days turned into months and months turned into years. After struggling so long to keep my faith, I had completely given up on my dreams. I prayed God would take away my desire to write and speak. I refused to get my hopes up anymore.

God didn’t answer my prayer. Instead, He sent people into my life to breath encouragement into me. It was so frustrating! I would get a forwarded email from a friend regarding a writing contest with a message that read, “Saw this and thought of you”. I wanted to respond with “Haven’t you heard? It was all a mistake. I thought God called me to write and speak but I was wrong. I no longer entertain those silly dreams”. I resisted that desire and simply replied “Thank you.”

I cannot tell you how many times people sent me emails about writing contests, self- publishing information, or speaking opportunities. It seemed funny that when I did have faith nobody sent me those things but as soon as I decided to give up then I am flooded with them. Okay, maybe I wasn’t flooded, but even getting something every few months was frustrating. It’s hard to put out even a flicker of faith when God keeps sending people to blow fresh hope and fan the flames!

So here I am, taking a step of faith for the first time in many years. This blog may not contain any of the mind-blowing insights (okay maybe not mind-blowing, but insights nonetheless) I have written in my many journals (gifts that were given to me by my annoyingly encouraging friends ☺), but it does contain the most important part of me. It contains my heart, the one thing I believe God called me to share with others. The one thing I have kept guarded from others and from my dreams for the last few years.

I have decided to believe in my dreams again. I have decided to trust God again. I have decided to listen to the still small voice and the voices of those God put in my life to encourage me, rather than the voices in my head telling me I will never ever be anything more than what I am today.

If you have given up on your dreams, I would like to be a voice of encouragement in your life. Please email me under the Contact or Prayer Request page.

To all of my annoyingly faithful and encouraging friends, I would like to say thank you for having faith in me, especially when I had no faith in myself. I wouldn’t be able to take this first step without all of you!

Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin.-Zechariah 4:10a NLT

Grace, peace, and a day of small beginnings to you all,

Jen

ps I feel the need to tell you that the entire time I was writing I had the Gene Autry song Back in the Saddle Again running through my head. It’s good to know I am still as random as ever 🙂

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