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THE UNFAMILIAR PATH . .

You know, you can have your whole way known, your whole life pointed in certain directions, but things can happen which change those courses without your permission as it were.  Suddenly, your pathway isn’t the familiar one you were just traveling.  You are pushed into an area of discomfort and fear, all the way around you is cast with a pall of something foreign to you.  
What do you do when you don’t recognize your way?  How do you know what to do and how to proceed?  I’ve found those places this year or so, it is a fearful journey if I let myself feel it.  I’ve struggled against the current, fighting to swim as hard as I could, but realizing, it is like a rip tide, I’m not able to fight it . . . I can only ride it out and recover from wherever it takes me.  To be on this ride is to be washed out to sea on a rip tide.  It is a battle, exhaustive and frightening.  It is not the worst thing people have experienced surely, but it is one of the worst times I have known.  I’m confronting things I haven’t had to confront as a “mature” adult . . . insecurity, lack of confidence, doubt, fear.  All those conveniently coming at the same time as this major challenge to further make things difficult.  It has been a bit of a struggle some days.  I don’t recognize the fighter I was, for the “adolescent” who now feels all those same tumultuous emotions of youth again.  It is to bring a woman who knows herself to a point of being a stranger before her own eyes.  

So, in that bleak place, how do I keep my faith?  That too has been a struggle at times.  I wish I were made of metal, hard and perfectly strong, but I weaken at times.  Life is like that.  We move and then we survey our progress.  We move some more and then we survey again.  We very rarely do as we did when we are younger, which is just move and move and move, and maybe some day, survey!  We are much more cautious generally as we age.  It is our nature to know the cost of our actions, versus the insolent youth who seem to defy the knowledge that life is not a constant.  We seem to need more caution when we just live, as we also find our faith less blind as when we were children, since as adults, it is more aware of life’s inevitable truth . . . bad things happen to good people.  But there are also lessons we hopefully learn as we age, about our struggles, which can define our ability to ride the tide calmly to our new destination.  Those lessons are that even in the bad there is something we can know of good, positive and which teaches us for the future to come.  It makes us better.  Well, most don’t like this, but it is true and it is good for us, like our vegetables! 

Another lesson concerns faith.  Without it, I would be and have nothing.  I would surely have given up on this world a long time ago had I nothing to believe in and if I didn’t have my sense that a greater power carried me during those times, like now, when I am not so sure of my own abilities.  Faith abides in me, it is my constant learning curve in life to be riding out the troubles I am in by believing God will make them all for my good one day.  Now it’s surely not an easy nor constantly abundant resource within me, but with the Word to ignite me daily, I can restore and renew the Spirit within me which keeps the torch of faith burning, much like a symbol of hope from within my own self, to inspire me to fight the good fight, keep my head held high, to cast my cares upon He who loves me unfailingly and wants my life to be joyful. That may not always mean He wants me to have what I thought I should, and that may mean sometimes I must learn a lesson or six about something which helps to shape me into a better human, but it also most surely means that I am in great and abiding care!

So the lesson I can pass on is this:  through the storms are made the better sailors.  God is our ultimate captain, helping us find our way, leading us back when we get lost and enabling us to discover, in the world and ourselves, the humanity He encourages us all to find.  Greater is He who is in me, than he who is in the world.  Believe the God who designed you will help you find your way, He is more powerful than any force which mankind, or otherwise, has designed to destroy you, distract you, and to deny you from your true potential!

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