God Speaks In Mysterious Ways…Even Through a Motorcycle!

I’m always looking for the God lessons in life’s ordinary situations.  However, this week, I didn’t have to look very hard.  It was very clear to Jim and I that God was literally speaking to us through our circumstances.

Jim is sitting on the back porch patiently awaiting the call that the scooter is ready for pickup.

Jim is sitting on the back porch patiently awaiting the call that the scooter is ready for pickup.

Over a month ago, we purchased an older Honda Silver Wing scooter for me to ride.  When we bought it, we knew it didn’t run right, but knew the problem shouldn’t be anything big.  The bike had run well for our friend’s wife until her death about three years ago.  It had a sale price we could afford and we decided to take the risk.  So we bought the bike and immediately had it picked up by the Honda dealer to repair.

It was there for over four weeks until this Thursday when we finally got the call, it was done!  It was about an hour away from home so we had to schedule time to pick it up.  Not to mention, neither of us had ever ridden a motorcycle on the road and the class we took to learn to ride was over six weeks ago.

We were watching the weather and decided that Friday seemed to be the best bet to pick it up.  It might be a little cooler, but shouldn’t be too bad rain wise.  As we started out to pick it up, rain that had not been on the radar earlier popped up and it literally rained the entire way to our destination.  On the way, we both wondered if we should turn back or keep going.  I said a prayer and kept asking God to clear the way.

As we were almost there, it seemed like we came to a “clearing” in the midst of the storm.  We got excited to think that maybe it was going to end.  However, everywhere we looked, there were still storm clouds all around us.  I decided to pull up the weather map to see what our future held.  As I looked at the map, I could see a huge storm all around us with this little bubble of clearing that we were clearly in.  However, the part to the west of us was only a small line.  Being able to see our circumstances from an aerial viewpoint, even though it seemed that our future was bleak, I knew in just a few short minutes the storm would be over.

Mentally preparing for the long ride home.

Mentally preparing for the long ride home.

It didn’t really work that way, though, as we picked up the bike, it was continuing to rain.  We were fearful about Jim having his first ride on wet pavement.  To add fuel to the fire, the salesman told us, “Be careful out there.  The pavement is very slick as a result of this weather.”

However, we both still felt this was the time to get the bike home, so we continued on.  We tested it out in a nearby neighborhood and by the time we were assured it was running and we had a full tank of gas, the streets had dried up and we were ready to head home.

We needed to stay on back roads as Jim was inexperienced and didn’t want to ride on the highway the first day of riding.  Our GPS wanted to take us to the logical way, the highways—the fast and easy path—not knowing the dangers it held for a novice rider.  Realizing the path we must take for our own good, we pulled over, reset the GPS to not go on highways and continued on.   Having a firm direction, it got easier but there were still several detours diverting our route along the way.  A one hour trip had quickly turned into a two hour trip and we still had one-half hour to travel before making it home.

I knew Jim had to be tired, so I pulled my car over into a restaurant parking lot to pause before continuing our journey.  It was not a good choice of places to stop…there were what I call thugs all around and people with obvious mental disorders wandering aimlessly through the parking lot.  We quickly chose to get back on the bike and head home.

sunshine aheadAs we turned the corner heading towards our last fifteen minutes, the sun shone brightly ahead.  As it was shining brightly before us, behind us another storm brewed.  Ignoring what was going on behind us, Jim lowered his sun shield on his helmet and headed home, full speed.

The bright sun lit up the stormy skies behind us with a majestic glow.

The bright sun lit up the stormy skies behind us with a majestic glow.

This might seem like an ordinary stormy day.  But for us, it felt like a God thing.  It was as though He was saying to us all day, “Jim and Lori, there will be storms that seem to never end.  But persevere anyway.  You won’t know when they are going to end, but please trust Me when I say, ‘It won’t be long now.’   I can see your circumstances from an aerial view and know you will be out of the storm very soon.”

“You may grow weary and think that you can’t go any more, but stopping along the path I have ordained for you will only allow fear to set in and others to distract you from your purpose.  Keep moving My children.  Trust that I have your back and only want the best for you.  Don’t listen to those who caution you that this might not be safe.  If it is the path I have for you, I will watch over you and protect you through it all.”

Yes, the trip took us two and one-half hours instead of one.  There were a lot of detours and even some scary moments along the way.  Taking the road less traveled can often be a harder way to go.

From now on when I feel that I can’t keep going, I will pull up the mental picture in my mind of the storm at my back and the sunshine on my face, telling me to keep going.  Keep traveling towards the One who gives you strength and lights the way.

Thank you, Lord, for watching over us and for speaking to us through our storms in life.  Might we ever praise You for all that You have done to keep us safe while we travel, trusting You, on the path that You have ordained for our lives!  You make even the darkest storms seem bright!

Psalm 16: 9-11 (NKJV)

Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope. 10 For You will not leave my soul …,  11 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Philippians 3:12-14 (NKJV)

12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Dreaming Big Doesn’t Hurt, But Not Dreaming Might…What’s Your Dream?

As we are nearing the end of one year and heading towards the beginning of a new one, many will find themselves taking the time to reflect on this past year.  Have we followed our passions and dreams or did we allow life to get in the way and crowd them out?  Do we still even have the fire and passion to pursue some of those dreams we once had in our younger years?  Perhaps you feel that you have no choice right now other than to just survive and stay above water; let alone be able to pursue a dream right now.

One of the courses I took in college was designed to help us find our passion and/or purpose in life.  I found the process fascinating and when I finished the course over 5 years ago, I was inspired once again to write a book.  As most of you know, I have always wanted to write and be an inspirational speaker, but it just seemed that every time I tried, nothing happened.  That all changed last fall when I began writing my first book, Just Trying to Be a BlessingAll of a sudden the stories and lessons I had learned in my life just started to flow onto the pages and before I knew it, I had a book! I was almost thinking I would never get it done and it’s hard to believe it is really happening.  Have you had an ongoing dream like me that seemed like it was never going to become reality?

Knowing my book will soon be here, I was recently asking people on Linked-In what worked best for them when it came to promoting their writings.  One man told me I should get a copy of a book from John Maxwell called Putting your Dreams to the Test.  In that book, John talks about some who are only dreamers while others actually do what it takes to make their dreams reality.  That made me stop and think about how committed I am at this point to make my dreams reality.  I no longer want to talk about them; I want to be living them.  I love the fact that the book is almost out and I have begun on book #2.  I’m even more excited that I am also finally getting the opportunity to share as a speaker!  It’s only been a 25 year old dream that is finally becoming a reality now!

God says in His Word, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” in Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV).  He made each one of us with purpose and with passion.  Have you ever met one of those people who from the minute they could talk, knew what their purpose in life was and followed it out from that point every breathing moment of their life?  I stand back and am amazed each time I encounter one of those people. As a person with A.D.D., God knew He couldn’t give me one purpose that long ago and expect me to stick to it throughout my entire lifetime.  First of all, if he gave me this purpose at a young age, by the time I got to 50 years old and He was ready to make this new thing happen, I would have never remembered what it was I was supposed to be doing!   Secondly, He has to mix it up for those of us with A.D.D. or we get bored!

I think our purpose and passion sometimes changes according to the season of life we are in at any given time.  There was a time when raising my children felt like my main purpose and passion.  Now that they are raised, God seems to have given me new direction as well as He is continuing to fan the flames on some older dreams that I just haven’t gotten around to yet.    Unlike the childhood prodigies that follow their life’s purpose beginning just after their first step, most of us probably fit more into this category of various changes throughout their lifetime.  Some might refer to them as our seasons of life.

One of the people in history that I really admire is Abe Lincoln.  Abe was an entrepreneur like me and he seemingly never gave up despite tremendous adversity that he faced year after year.  Jim laughs at me when I get another idea as he knows it will take me down a path for a while where sometimes I win and other times I will lose.  To be honest, I have more losses than wins with my life’s endeavors.  When I do feel like I’ve lost another one, I once again think about Abe and am reminded that great people didn’t do great things without a whole lot of struggle through the not so great tries along the way.

My life’s purpose seems to be doable—what about yours?  God hasn’t asked us to die on a cross and carry everyone’s burdens.  Nor has He put us on the earth without the Power of the Holy Spirit to get us through that which He has asked us to do.  All He has asked is that we find our purpose, follow our passion and let Him do the rest.  Do you have a dream?  Is there something you dreamed about doing many years ago and gave up on it thinking it would ever happen?  Spend time in prayer and ask God to show you the purpose He has for you this upcoming season.  We have a new beginning on January 1, 2012.  What are we going to do to make our dreams become reality?  The fact is dreams will only be dreams if we let them.  Dreams becoming reality require purpose, planning, passion and the tenacity to follow through even when we fail the first time…and maybe the fifth time…and the eleventh time…you get the point.

Thank goodness Jesus never gave up.  I am also very grateful Abe Lincoln didn’t give up either.  Next December, I want to be saying, “Thank goodness you and I didn’t give up.  Look at what God has done in 2012 through us!”  Keep in touch and let me know what dream/dreams you are pursuing for 2012 and keep me posted on how God is bringing you through!

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  Romans 8:21 (NKJV)

I have to make a plug since it is somewhat related to this topic.  Please bear with me and keep reading!  Not related to my book, God is also opening doors for speaking engagements so that I can tell other women about my relationship with Christ and share my personal testimony as a speaker with Stonecroft Ministries.  If you are local and would like to hear me speak, I will be in Cincinnati on Jan 19, Middletown on Feb 6 and North Dayton on Feb 7.  I would love to include you in the audience one of those days.  Email me with your contact information and I will make sure you get an invitation from the coordinators of the events.  Sorry guys, these groups are for women only.  Feel free to invite me to your church groups though if you’d like!  I love to share God’s goodness whenever I can!

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