I know that most of the life I have known, on a practical level, is gone. Some of it eroded away by the “or sickness” and the “or for worse” of the marriage vow. Some of it shattered by the brutal death of the friend I had entrusted into the hands of the good God who I knew would not allow it to end as it did. Some of it by my volitionally stepping away from the ministry role that had become my identity.
There is a beautiful praise song that contains the words “when seasons change and stories end”. Seasons do change and stories do end despite my screaming that it can’t possibly be true. So, having acknowledged, at least cognitively, that all the above is true, I ask the question, “Now what?” and this question is what compels me to embark on a new journey.
I have been invited, spontaneously and with little preparation time to meet some friends at the 45th annual Fiddlers Convention in Lafayette, Indiana. This is about a 4 ½ hour drive that includes Chicago and I will be driving alone. The friend’s I am going to meet are precious to me because of past encounters but our lives rarely touch now. I have never heard of this Fiddlers Convention or any Fiddlers Convention, for that matter. All of this to say, I had many reasons easily available to me to decline this invitation but something in me wanted to accept and I did. It felt like an adventure. I knew I needed to risk adventures to craft a new season and write new stories.
The following “lessons” were gleaned as I drove south from Milwaukee to Indiana on I94 and then the Illinois Toll Road:
As I kept a close eye on my built-in GPS and watched for overhead signs I sensed “Pay attention to the highways in your heart”. I remembered the verse from Psalm 84:5 ESV “Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion” Other translations refer to setting your heart on pilgrimage and reading further tells about making the valley of weeping into a place of refreshing springs. I want to focus on the highways of my heart as I map out the new journey for this next season of my life.
Then I was challenged with the thought “Your rearview mirror is too big”. It is a challenge that doesn’t leave me much room to dispute. I feel more at home looking back at where I have been and longing for what I have lost than I do looking forward to the landscape that has yet to be designed. I can start by reducing my rearview mirror to a size that allows occasional glances and recognize that my forward-looking windshield is the place that now needs my attention.
A surprising next lesson came as I struggled to see both distant signs and my dashboard. I was wearing prescription sunglasses that were only designed for distance. To my amazement, I found it easier to see both near and far without the prescription lenses. Because of the blazing sun, I needed sunglasses so I pulled into an Oasis and bought a pair off the rack for $15. I smiled as I realized that the glasses that were needed for my old journey are not necessary for this one. No prescription needed now. Just enjoy the ride.
My sister had generously lent me her I Pass and registered my car so that I didn’t have to stop at tolls. It was a freeing experience and one that would easily preach to know that my tolls had been paid and I could simply drive through.
The route my GPS took me was right through Chicago rather than around on the bypass. I had not taken this route for a long time and I don’t know if I have even driven it. As I navigated through I was suddenly struck by the spectacular view of the Chicago skyline. It didn’t seem to be something that I could see in the distance and then watch as it drew closer. It seemed to just suddenly be there and I was thrilled with the striking spread of breathtaking architecture. As I let myself enjoy this view I sensed that God wanted to tell me that there are more spectacular experiences ahead of me than I now expect.
I am ready to receive them.
Grateful for the GPS and the I Pass, I wondered for a moment what my guidance would be for the highways of my heart when I heard God whisper, “I’ll be your GPS” and “Your tolls have been paid”.
All of these lessons as I take baby steps toward forging a new season in my life. I have yet to know their full impact but the weekend at the Fiddler’s Convention was wonderful, the company was nurturing for my soul and the spectator role I expected to have was replaced with my jumping at the opportunity to stand on stage and sing shape notes at the gospel concert.
Forging a new journey.
I would like to ask those of you who read this to help me know how I can write in such a way that we have a dialogue. Were these thoughts helpful to you, do they apply to your life, are they just personal ideas that have no value for anyone else, do they prompt questions? Please respond and help me become a better writer. Grateful, Roselyn
I love your writing and have always been intrigued and delighted by your symbolism and perspective of ordinary things turned towards God. I have no skill to coach you, just keep writing!
Thank you for your encouragement. It has been personally healing for me to write these thoughts today. Again, I invite you to watch for things that are true for you or maybe not true for you. I think a dialogue on these subjects would benefit more than just my monologue. Grateful for you. It’s a bit amusing to get you anonymous post with your identiy clearly revealed in your email. Love you.
Dear Roselyn, I LOVE this!!! Probably because I’m wandering around on a similar highway but without a GPS, and more than ready for adventure. Maybe I’ll just follow in your tracks for awhile. Or, better yet, maybe I’d better follow my Guide more closely. Anyway, thank you for sharing your thoughts! They were more than helpful. God Bless You, Roselyn. Joanne
Sent from my iPad
Thank you Joanne, Your response is encouraging to me. Let’s trust that each of our new seasons will be great adventures. Bless you!
I was heartened to read your article. Earlier this week I had read an article by a woman who is accepted as a strong woman of faith. She emphatically stated that God does not speak to us except through the Holy Bible. I struggled with that concept. Some of my most precious times in life have been when I’ve had thoughts that I felt were inspired by the Holy Spirit. You heard God whisper that He is your GPS and that your tolls have been paid. I have had a lifetime of feeling that “I don’t fit in” until I had the thought from Jesus that “I fit in with Him”. I don’t know the author of that article. I do know you. I do know the blessings I have received and the others I have helped directly due to that whisper in my ear. God is my GPS and my tolls have been paid too! Thank you.
Thank you Laurel, for your comment. Yes, you can be confident that God wants to hear from you and speak to you. He wants an intimate relationship with you. He will not say anything to you that contradicts what He wrote in His word but He will walk and talk with you personally. It’s good to have a friend that you can check in with for affirmation that you are hearing clearly. God spoke to people all through scripture. Enjoy your conversation with Him. He loves you!