Enjoy the Parade
Updated: Nov 1, 2019
Romans 8:28 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)
28 We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.
My sweet husband, Edward, is an "I-10 by 10" driver (reference to the movie "Johnson Family Vacation"). This means when it is time to drive, everyone is expected to be dressed, packed, and in the car by the time he starts the ignition. BabyGirl and I understand this about Edward, so we try our best, succeeding most of the time, to be ready. If it means I get to sleep, read, daydream, or act as road trip DJ instead of driving, I am all for it! I do not find pleasure in driving long distances. Honestly, Driving anywhere is just not my favorite thing, so when Babe says "Let's ride!", I'm in my place.
A few years ago, I had a speaking engagement in Florida. We decided we would take this trip as a family, so Edward, BabyGirl, and I set out from home to drive the four and a half hours to Tallahassee. It was one of those "I-10 by 10" days, so BabyGirl and I were in our places and ready to roll when Edward was ready. We were traveling the day before the speech, so we had plenty of time. The trip was going well. Right on schedule. All of a sudden, I was awakened out of my car slumber by Edward exclaiming, "You've got to be kidding me!". When I was able to get my eyes clear enough to see I realized we had run into some road barricades on our route. It seemed the barricades were set up in preparation for a parade. "No worries, let's just take a detour and trust that the GPS will guide us back to the route." So we took a detour. Our plan was working, until...
There it was.
Right in front of us.
Blocking our progression.
The 2013 Homerville High School Homecoming parade.
I held my breath and prayed a little prayer as Edward thought about his next move. Suddenly, he pulled over, turned the car off, and got out of the car. BabyGirl and I were not quite sure what to think. He turned back with a smile, "Are yall coming?". We both got out of the car with a shrug. And there we stood for the next 30 minutes waving at teen queens and high school athletes, dancing to the musical stylings of the Homerville High School band, having conversations with people we do not know, and catching the candy violently thrown by youngsters riding on floats. We stopped to enjoy the parade. After the end of the parade had passed, we got back in our car, back to our route, and eventually safely to our destination. Of all the parades I have experienced in my life, the 2013 Homerville Homecoming Parade is one of my favorites. It's a great family memory that we refer to quite often.
Oh, but wait...I hear you, "that's a cute story but, my detours have not been celebrations."
I hear you.
Today, as I write this blog, I am experiencing one of the biggest detours in my life to-date. About three months ago, I resigned from my job. I gave up a wonderful title and a salary my ancestors could only dream of. I have worked in the same career field for 20 years. I was finally at a point in my career that felt almost unreal- doing work that I love, great title, salary, reserved parking spot, fantastic team, serving people that I LOVE- I could not have painted a better picture if I tried. In resigning, I realize I took a huge risk. I put my professional reputation and my 20-year career on the line. I know you have so many questions:
Why? It was time.
How are you? We are good. All of our needs are met.
What will you do now? I am not completely sure yet, but I'm pretty excited about it.
Here is what I have learned in this detour so far.
Unaware and unprepared are two different things. There have been many times in my life where the Holy Spirit has led me to prepare for something without me knowing exactly what is coming. You may or may not believe as I do, but I have to share it like I know it. For example, with this detour, Edward and I were led to save more than usual. We had no idea we would not be working right now, but "something" just weighed on us that we should focus on saving. As I type this today, I am SO glad we listened. You may not be aware of the detour, but do not miss cues from the Holy Spirit to prepare.
Detours come with force. Sometimes they sweep you off your feet. Other times they knock the breath out of you. Regardless of the impact, being rooted and grounded in something stronger than yourself will keep you stable. Jesus Christ has kept me safe and secure through every detour of my life, including this one.
The journey is just as important as the destination. This is what I call an "Edwardism". My Husband has a ton of them- little sayings that mean so much. Everything I have done, learned, experienced, and seen is working to lead me toward what God created me to be. I am not sure where I will end up next, but I know for sure every step so far has led to this new unknown place. Every detour in your journey is significant and necessary.
Busyness is an epidemic. I was drowning in busyness and living a life of isolation. I had no time to talk to friends or family. I was so busy taking care of the children of others that my own child felt like she had to make an appointment to see me. My husband hardly complained, but I knew he often felt second to my career. My prayer life was raggedy and I worshiped in passing (in the car on my way to work or when the praise team was singing at church). My relationships with some people close to me were strained. I was so overwhelmed that by the end of the day, whenever my days would end, my body just shut down. If I sat down for even one minute, I would be asleep. My body was trying to warn me, but I was not listening. Please do not get me wrong. This is not about Mom guilt, wife guilt or any other kind of guilt. I just realize the cost of my lifestyle. Everything cost something. There's a cost for a Mom (or Dad) who is called to stay at home with their babies and there is a cost for a Mom (or Dad) who works outside of the home. There is always a cost. The question is, "What are you willing to pay?".
Detours bring a flood of emotions. In one moment, I would be excited about the possibilities. Several moments later, I would become anxious concerning all of the unanswered questions. I have found emotional stability and sweet peace in eliminating distractions and focusing on feeding my soul. Philippians 4:6-7 AMPC: "Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
Good friends are a blessing! You do not need a lot of people. That becomes a distraction. However, one or two who love you enough to be honest and who encourage you through the Word of God are heaven sent. You need someone who can listen, but who will also say, "Pull yourself together!" when you need it.
Transitions are tough. My husband described it very well a couple of weeks after I resigned. He said, "You are so accustomed to responding to crisis, that when you do not have a crisis, you create one." He was right. I was not sure how to disconnect after 20 years. I'm working on it.
My identity had become intertwined with temporal things like titles, achievement, and income. I had trouble introducing myself without the title. I enjoyed the look on peoples' faces when I answered the question, "What do you do?". That's prideful, I know, but it's true. Who am I now? I struggled with that until I was reminded that my identity is not in any of those things. My identity is secure in God regardless of what I spend my time doing on a daily basis.
There is always a blessing in the detour, regardless if it is the Homerville Homecoming parade, loss of a job or a cancer diagnosis. There is something to be gained that you will need along the way. Stop fretting long enough to ask God what you should learn from this detour.
Sometimes detours are protection. Imagine if Edward had decided to drive right through that barricade in Homerville, GA and ignore all of the warning signs. Many people may have been hurt and the memory of that day would have been very different for our family and several others. God loves us enough to order our steps and map out a specific path for each of us (Psalm 37:23). Trust His wisdom. He created you, so He knows whats best.
With all of that said, I regret NOTHING. I believe I was supposed to connect with and love on every soul I met through my work over the last 20 years. Also, my family was blessed in many ways through my work. Who knows? God may open the door for me to do this work again...I hope so. I would do it differently this time. However, I'm good with whatever He wants.
This detour story is still being written, and it is pretty cool to watch. I am not exactly sure what is next, but I know all things, every season of my life, will work together for my good and God's glory (Romans 8:28). I look forward to this new chapter and I hope you will join me for this journey. So hop in, buckle your seatbelt, and "Let's Ride"!
Questions to consider:
What was the last detour you experienced on your journey?
What did you gain in that experience that is helpful for you today?
What was the purpose of that detour in your journey?
Are you sensing a need to prepare in some way? Have you obeyed?