I recently took a hike in a state park near our house with Buddy (our golden retriever)...alone. I was yearning to be away from it all and just be quiet before the Lord. The fall colors and the beauty lured me deeper and deeper into the woods and before I knew it I could only hear the dog rustling in the leaves. No cars, no planes - just the quietness and beauty of the forest.
Southford Falls path
As I prayed and walked, I asked the Lord to speak to me. Sometimes, it seems like I have such a laundry list of items to pray for that I forget to just be quiet before the Lord.
The path I was on was very frequently traveled and well marked. I found myself thinking of the path almost constantly because I was alone (with the dog) and no one would steer me in the right direction if I happened to wander off of it. The path had so many gradients, twists and turns in it. With all of the leaves down the path had a nice (but dangerous) mask covering it. There were many hazards lying beneath the blanket of leaves including holes, puddles, tree roots and rocks. One wrong careless step and I could have been injured.
The Lord used this time to show me that my life is very similar to this path the dog and I were walking on. My life has had many twists and turns. Many treacherous endeavors. Many, many wonderful beautiful stretches. Many steep hills and sharp downward gradients. There has always been a danger lingering (the devil) who has constantly attempted to ruin me. The Lord's hand has guided me down my path and protected me from what the devil intended to be harmful to me and our family. I'm so incredibly thankful to the Lord for His constant protection, provision and peace he has given me.
Looking ahead, not behind, what does the path look like? As a Christian, the answer to this question is easy. With confidence, I know that my path is paved leading to a beautiful place in heaven that the Lord is preparing for me where I will reside with Him for eternity. But what about here on earth? Have I truly opened my heart and my mind to any path the Lord would lead me down? As a wife and mother, I need to constantly ask myself which path is pleasing to the Lord? Am I making strides to not fill our days and nights with endless commitments and stress. Without a doubt I find comfort in knowing I am on the right path and we have seen the Lord's hand work mightily along the way.
Daily I ask for the Lord to lead us, hold us and protect us on the path.
Two of my dearest, sweetest, life-long friends are making cross-country moves in the next month. They don't even know each other, but they are both on my heart and in my prayers constantly. Our families are very familiar how a major move affects each family member in very unique and powerful ways. The interesting part of both of their moves is that they are moving to cities that they have lived in once before! What a difference that large detail will make with this move for each of them! Removing that part of the unknown is huge - and it is my hope for our family someday when we leave Connecticut.
My prayer for my friends and for my family is a scripture a dear friend shared with me when we moved from Chicago to Cleveland. Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for."
Scriptures on Paths:
Psalm 119:105 - Your word O Lord is a lamp to guide me and a light for my path.
Isaiah 57:14 - The Lord says, "Let my people return to me. Remove every obstacle from their path! Build the road and make it ready!"
Psalm 143:10 - You are my God; teach me to do Your will. Be good to me, and guide me on a safe path.
Proverbs 20:24 - The Lord has determined our path; how then can anyone understand the direction his own life is taking?