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On The Road Again

May 11, 2008

“Many people say, ‘Who will show us better times?’
Let your face smile on us, Lord.
You have given me greater joy
than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.
In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe” (Psalm 4:6-8).

I guess you could say that it hasn’t been the best weekend.

My brother-in-law graduated from law school today. His parents are proud. All the grandparents are proud. Ashley, my brother-in-law’s very beautiful and well-dressed girlfriend – she’s proud, too.

“I think I’ll go up to Ohio for the ceremony.” I told Hugh on Friday afternoon. “Your parents want Jon-David to visit, so I’ll drive him up and stay for the weekend.”

Hugh agreed, though he was surprised at my spontaneity. I can still be spontaneous, I reassured my husband.

Jon-David and I set off early afternoon. It was an easy eight-hour trip, I had my iPod loaded with “This American Life”, and Jon-David had a big pile of books.

But.

Instead of arriving by midnight, I arrived in Ohio at 4am, tired but angry with myself. Why had I gotten lost so many times? Why was there so much traffic? What was up with the fog? Why was there so much construction in West Virginia?

Jon-David and I crashed into our beds at the Hampton Inn for a few hours before heading over to see my in-laws.

I woke up even more frustrated with myself. Not only had it taken me a really long time to get here, but now I had only had a few hours of sleep. So much for spontaneity – this was awful.

I told myself I made a mistake in coming. I should plan better, drive better, anticipate better.

On the way to the graduation ceremonies, I stopped at a Shell Gas Station to fill up. As soon as I started pumping gas, God spoke.

Right. There. At. The. Shell.

“Are you ready to give me control, Jess?” I felt the Holy Spirit ask.

“What do you mean, Lord?” I answered, holding the pump. “Control of what? I am a MESS. Everything has gone wrong on this trip so far. I feel like such a failure.”

God began to show me that all of the things that had happened over the last day were out of my control – fog, rain, wrong directions, getting woken up by my son. But if I can choose to trust Him when things are not going well, then I can start to learn how to let go of control.

I really want to do this. I don’t want to try to control my own life anymore. I want to trust Jesus more and be anxious less. I want to relax in the arms of my Father as He leads and guides.

As I stood there at the gas station, I felt as if God had brought me to this place – this little gas station in the middle of rural Ohio – just to show me this simple truth:

No matter what my circumstances look like, I can trust Him. And in trusting Him, I can start to find the blessings He is giving me in that moment: alone time with my son, a loving extended family, and a safe journey.

He did give me a safe journey, after all, this weekend. It did not look exactly how I wanted and there were some unexpected turns – but ultimately God brought me into a place where He was speaking and I was listening.

Lord, you are teaching me about surrender. My disastrous road trip has been a great lesson for me – I know I can trust you, God. No matter where I am, no matter what is going on – Lord, fill me with a new sense of peace as I look to you to guide my life each day. In the name of your Son, Amen.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 12, 2008 11:06 am

    You wanna know something I love about you?
    This.
    The way God speaks to you and you hear Him. LOVE. IT.

  2. Tawny permalink
    May 13, 2008 5:56 pm

    Don’t you love the lengths God will go to, to reveal Himself to us? What an adventure this life with Him is!

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