From Summer 2005:
The HighwayOne day my children and I set out for the one hour voyage to Grandmother’s house. As we pulled onto the highway I noticed the dark storm clouds ahead. I love these storms. I always have. I love to see the dark come over and smell the rain before it arrives. I love to snuggle safe and secure at home. I love to sleep or wake up during a storm. There is something cozy about a good thunderstorm. This day I drove unafraid toward the cloud, happy to be on the way to see my family for a much needed break.
As I drove into the storm I quickly realized it wasn’t a friendly, cozy storm. It was one of those nerve-wracking, white-knuckles on the steering wheel, talk out loud to yourself kind of storms. I couldn’t see anything as I began to tap the brakes and drive slower than the speed limit, which is strictly prohibited in my car. I looked toward the sky and saw no signs of sun or even friendly rain. Only this dangerous sheet of water could be seen. My wipers on high couldn’t even keep up with the deluge. I realized as I began to plan how I would rescue my children when my car ran into the ditch that I only had to keep my eyes on the road. I whispered a prayer for safety and concentrated on the next 10 yards of highway ahead of me; the highway that was covered with orange water colored by the Oklahoma dirt flooding up from the ditches. I fought the urge to look to the sky or to the rearview mirror where a sunnier day was fading. As I traveled along bit by bit the rain lessened and I began to relax and finally looked to the sky. You might think I saw a rainbow, and that would be a good ending. What I saw was a sky full of threatening, dark gray clouds being rushed around by the many flashes of lightning all around. As I began to brace myself for another round with the storm, I saw a break in the clouds. It was one tiny oval shaped view of blue sky. It brought me such hope and reminded me of my Heavenly Father. I forced myself to focus only on the highway even though I wanted to watch the sky. I felt comforted and homesick as I always do when I see evidence of God around me.
As I pondered the sky, I felt Him saying to the part of my heart that hears Him, “Perhaps you’ve been thinking I’m the blue spot in the clouds–True, but I’m also the highway.” Of course, my mind rebelled at this idea. Shouldn’t God always be in the clouds? I decided the voice had been the other parts of my heart and that they had ruined my comfy God moment with their heresy. Then I noticed the highway anew, washed clean by the rain. It glowed and shimmered with the promise of solid direction. It never occurred to me not to follow the highway. After all, I had no choice. But it was wonderful to see the reassurance of God’s direction and provision for me in that plain yet beautiful picture of black asphalt. As I continued on through the storm, I considered the last few months of my life. My life is a busy family led by a pastor husband who faces immense pressure daily. It is two children who delight, change and challenge all the time. It is a church I love and serve. It is friends and family and strangers who I seek to comfort and show authentic God love. It is a quickly changing future with a new season for this mama. But for the last months it has also been the pressure of a public attack on our precious church, the crushing moral failure of another pastor friend we love, and the loss of two babies before we could even celebrate their possibility. God gently reminded me that I had been spending a lot of time either looking to the sky wishing to go home or with my eyes glued to the rearview mirror wishing for the comfort of easier days. And all along He was the road. As I take one step after another on a path with turns I never would’ve chosen for myself I am grateful for the many people and opportunities that make this journey exciting and beautiful. I am also weary from the burdens I carry. Burdens not so crushing I can’t go on, but heavy nonetheless. I am encouraged and strengthened by this picture I saw in the storm. While I’ve been looking to the tiny oval of blue in the sky, God has been underneath me laying a bit of asphalt just in time for each step I take. Sometimes the highway shimmers with expectancy around the bend. Sometimes the highway is invisible, covered with red dirt water I have to slosh through. But one thing I know and have always known, God’s way is always solid. He’s not only with us on the journey, He supplies the ground for each step.