We’ve been in NE going on our second week, and I’d love to tell you about all my lovely lemonade sipping. But I can’t. The other day, I did a bit of choking. Funny how I do that. God gives me a beautiful gift, clear guidance, and His grace-filled Spirit to carry out His plans, but before long, my selfish, sinful side rises up.
I do great when everything is going well–when my schedule’s light, I’ve had plenty of sleep, and … mapquest works.
So much hinges on the latter! I hate getting lost. Getting lost in a city is even worse. Wandering for hours aimlessly in a city filled with one-ways? Oy!
That was my Monday. Early afternoon, after a lazy morning, my daughter, her friend (a sweet girl from KC we’ve borrowed for 2 weeks. ), and I took off for downtown Omaha in search of a mall.
Somehow I hit a perpetual round-about and was cruising up and down Dodge Street for an hour.
Soon, I got all twisted around, and the directional gauge in the car wasn’t working. Which meant, not only did I not know where I was going–I had no idea how to get home!
Yep, I got a little stressed. And no, I didn’t yell, swear, or say all sorts of nasty things. But according to my daughter, when I’m upset, my face says it all. (Apparently it morphs into a scary version of ET–bug-eyes and all.)
After making my umpteenth detour, I let out a loud, very overdramatic sigh and told the girls “This is a waste of time and a waste of gas. If I don’t find it by 3, we’re heading home.”
If you listen carefully, you’ll notice there’s a lot of hurt in that little sentence–something I realized when I saw my daughter’s friend’s face in my rearview mirror. I made her feel like a burden, like she was putting me out. Made them both feel that way.
And I wish I could say I corrected my behavior and prayed for God’s peace right then, but I didn’t. Instead, I continued to focus on the stretch of road in front of me (which I was beginning to know quite well) and tightened my grip on the steering wheel, bug eyes and all.
Just as I was ready to turn around and, hopefully, meander my way back home, my daughter says, “There it is!”
I glance to my right to see a large mall but a turn away.
As I pulled into the lot, I should’ve been shouting my halelujah’s.
Failed that one.
Still frustrated, I grabbed my computer bag and lead the way across the lot. The girls follow half a step behind, as if giving me plenty of room in case I were to blow.
Long story short, they headed to Forever Twenty One and I trudged up the escalator and across the mall to a Scooters to take advantage of their free WIFI.
I couldn’t log on. With yet another overdramatic sigh, I down my drink, gather my things, and head for the informational kiosk.
I’m encouraged … slightly … when I see Pandora listed. But of course it’s downstairs and across the mall.
With my heavy tote on my shoulder, I march back down and order yet another coffee drink despite my belly-ache from downing the first.
I find a less-than quiet spot tucked in the corner and unload my things.
A woman sits in the table across from me, in that awkward line of site that forced eye contact every time I lifted my head. She smiles, I smile. She jots notes on a tablet. I return to editing.
A short time in, my computer runs out of juice.
This is where, at the height of my frustration, I received my divine invitation. God nudged me to talk with the woman. Odd, right? I thought so, and was convinced she would, too.
In that moment, I had to make a choice. Would I allow my frustrations and pride to get in the way of my obedience, or would I surrender to God?
Most often I blow this, but that day, I chose the latter.
Come to find out, she was an emerging writer seeking God’s direction.
I believe God placed me there in that moment to offer her direction and encouragement.
As I drove home that evening, I thought back over my day–each frustrating detour.
Had we not gotten lost, the timing would’ve been off, and I would’ve missed my divine appointment.
Had I been able to utilize Scooter’s wifi … well, you get the idea.
I choked on my lemonade for but a minute, but by God’s grace, I’m back to sipping in the shade.
Can you relate? When has something frustrating turned glorious? Has God ever “disrupted” your plans to show you something better? Did you embrace the detour?
Tell us about it! Join us at Living by Grace as we talk about releasing our plans and frustrations in order to embrace whatever God has planned.
On Monday, Elizabeth reminded us not to allow our fears to get in God’s way. The following day, God showed me not to allow my frustrations to hinder my obedience.
What about you? Is there something–fear, frustration, selfish motivations–getting in the way of your surrender?
Ephesians 4:31-32 “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Lord, help us not to allow bitterness, anger, selfish desires, or frustrations get in the way of our full surrender, and may we be open for each appointment, big or small, you set before us.
One thing He is showing me, day by day, despite my failings, detours, sin-clogged ears, God is ever-present, ever-guiding. It wasn’t an accident we bought our house. It wasn’t an accident Elizabeth sat at that lunch table at that moment. It wasn’t an accident I got lost on Dodge Street. In all these things, God was still on the throne working out His perfect plan.
(And before you go, make sure to check out my Beauty for the Broken Campaign. Visit the blogs listed, and cast your vote to help me win money for two phenomenal orphan ministries. You’ll get a Mary Kay gift card out of it. How cool is that?)