Shadow or sky?

As I was driving the kids all over after school this week, my eyes locked onto our dirt road. The dust clouds were billowing behind us, and suddenly a shadow darted out in front of me. I did a double take while slowing down quickly. It passed by again, and I realized it wasn’t what ran across the road, but what had soared above us.

Right there in that moment, God unfolded a parable to illustrate what keeps me from seeing Him. I am staring at the shadows instead of lifting my gaze to the sky.

For most of us, life seems to hurdle forward, and we barely hang on. There are places to be, people to see and responsibilities to complete. So, we focus on what’s right in front of us, hoping that we can handle it all. We drive fast with our eyes glued to the road, and sometimes miss all the beauty around us. We are committed to the task and get frustrated with the detours. If God is at work, we don’t see it because we are too busy balancing, managing and surviving.

All we see are the shadows of what could be as we speed by, late for the next appointment.

We catch the vestiges of grace, instead of basking in it. We strain to hold onto peace rather than savoring what Christ has freely extended.

We work hard for God and rarely just enjoy Him without agenda.

What would we rather have: the shadow or the sky?

I want to experience God as fully as I possibly can in this life. Why should I be content chasing shadows when I can thrive in the vibrancy of knowing my Jesus?

A morning walk with my kiddos

A morning walk with my kiddos

Instead of rushing to our lists of chores on Saturday, the kids and I decided to take a long walk. We enjoyed talking, absorbing the scenery and feeling the breeze swirl around us as we pretended to be airplanes taking flight. Every step we took, Jesus was there with us, prompting our conversation and directing our eyes. We swished the clouds with our hands and collected red leaves and pine cones. We marveled about how amazing God is, and how much we can look forward to by His side.

I know not every day will be like that. But if I’m going too fast and my schedule is so full that I don’t spend time with Jesus and treasure the family He has given me, I am missing what’s most important. I don’t want to just catch the shadows!

Consider your line of sight this week, and how fast you are traveling. Don’t let the goodness of God blur on the side of the road. Stop pushing the speed limit. Slow down and really see Him.

Regrade my heart

Road regrade

Road regrade

When the dirt road out to our home becomes rough or washed out, a crew comes out to regrade. Equipment carves out the side and scrapes over new rock, clay, dirt and whatever else is in the ditches out into the road. Holes are evened out, low water trenches are reformed for better drainage, and washboard areas are smoothed.

Usually, a road regrade happens when I am in a hurry, such as a morning I am taking my son to school and we’ve pushed it to the last possible moment to make sure he’s in class on time. I buzz up my lane, ready to peal out on the road and speed into town, and instead have to put on the brakes and go 25 or less.

Though a regraded road helps the travel conditions in the long run and ensures the road stays in better shape, it also means a slower drive, a somewhat bumpier trip because of the new rock out on the road, and a high potential for a flat tire. The inconvenience (and frustration levels) increases when trying to drive while the road is being regraded, navigating around the large rocks and dirt piles in the middle of the path.

For the past several weeks, it has felt like God has been regrading my heart. And, I haven’t enjoyed it. It has been painful, messy, frustrating and completely inconvenient.

But, there God is, out with the heavy machinery, digging deep and scraping my heart to create a better, longer-lasting path than the one I was treading.

I wasn’t anticipating the regrade. In fact, so many wonderful spiritual breakthroughs were happening around me, spurring my heart to plow ahead in faith. The path was clear and milestones were being added. Now they are broken and scattered across the road, and my passion feels punctured and flat.

As God reshapes the road, I’m unable to see where the path leads. I feel more sensitive to bumps. I’ve had to slow down and navigate piles that weren’t there before. Part of me wants to let loose my impatience and frustration, especially with what I want cleared off the road instead of lodged right in the middle.

Maybe that’s the point. I’m not in control. I don’t dictate the path. God is, and God does. I must trust the expertise of the Road Crew. God knows me. And it is His road, not mine. He holds the future, and sees where the road must be reinforced, where flooding can be staved by deeper trenches, and how fresh dirt will improve conditions for further travel and growth, for me and for all who may follow.

Lord, scrape away me. Build your road, and let me be with you wherever that road leads.

Regrade my heart.