Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Life is a Journey

On the wall of my office above my desk are these seven words, “Every journey begins with a single step”. Those words have been my mantra for many years. As a child who was extremely shy, I knew and understood that to go somewhere or to do something meant that I had to take that first step. Most of those first steps were terrifying but over the years and after many steps the fear has been replaced with wonder and excitement.

If I were to have just stayed in one place and would have never take any of those first steps I wouldn’t be where I am today. I wouldn’t have experienced some of the most wonderful moments in my life or my ministry.
Life is full of journeys. Some are unforgettable and some we would like to forget, but all began with a single step.

When our children were small we purchased a pop-up camper. I had grown up camping with my family in a pop-up camper and my husband had been a Boy Scout and had tent camped. We both loved camping and we wanted to share the experience with our children.
On our first camping trip we went to Ponca State Park. We were so excited! We got to the campground, unpacked, got settled in… and it started to rain. It rained the entire weekend. There isn’t much room to move around in a pop up camper and when it’s raining it becomes claustrophobic. Our weekend was miserable, wet and not a whole lot of fun. And to make matters worse I got sick and so did one of the kids.

Another trip we took as a family was to New York City. The kids and I had never been to New York so my husband and I planned a trip. The five of us flew to New York City for Thanksgiving. We went to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, the Today Show, Central Park (and had a hot dog), FAO Schwartz, looked at all of the Christmas windows, had a great slice of New York pizza, went to Grand Central Station, the Empire State building and much more. It was an unforgettable vacation.
Most people looking at these two distinctively different trips would assume that the camping trip would be a trip we would want to completely forget and the New York trip would be the trip we would want to fully remember.

 Yes, the trip to New York was unbelievable but there is a part of it I would like to forget. On the day that we were to fly home our flight was delayed several hours and we waited inside LaGuardia Airport… ALL DAY LONG! When we finally were cleared to leave we were told that we would be staying the night in Detroit Michigan. The problem? Our luggage continued on to Kansas City. The only clean clothes that we had were the “I love NY” t-shirts we had purchased and had put in my carry-on bag. No clean undergarments or clothes. We were tired, hungry and just wanted to be at home. When we got to Kansas City we found our luggage and then had to drive the long trip home and with a sick child.

The camping trip although it seems was miserable had moments I never want to forget. Laughing until I cried, sharing stories, snuggling with my kids and having an entire weekend without any distractions, such as; the T.V., friends, phone or other electronics.
One was filled with bright lights and the other with rain clouds, one with hundreds of people and the other with five. Each with its own memories both good and bad, but I definitely would never have wanted to miss either one.

If we stay in one place and never take that first step, we miss out on so much. If we believe that every step will lead us on perfect journeys then we will be sorely disappointed. The journeys we take will be filled with moments that will either be good, bad, beautiful, ugly, precious, crazy, exhilarating, devastating, incredible or traumatic, and the list goes on and on.

Life is meant to be lived. Life is meant to be experienced.

Every journey begins with a single step. Take that step and see where the journey leads you.

Then they said, “Ask God whether or not our journey will be successful.”  “Go in peace,” the priest replied. “For the Lord is watching over your journey.”” (Judges 18:5-6 NLT)


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