Just before Easter, I found out that CrossBooks, the self-publishing arm of Lifeway, is closing it’s doors at the end of the month. It was a shocker, seeing as I had just arranged with them to have a book-signing at the Southern Baptist Convention later this summer. Now, that opportunity is cancelled and the printing of my book will be put on hold while all the ins-and-outs are transferred over to another publishing company.
I didn’t see this little bump coming. In fact, just the week before, I was so encouraged by multiple chance-meetings, conversations, and opportunities, that I felt as though I was reaching the summit of a new peak. Little did I know, that I was merely rounding the foothills of a great chain of mountains that lie ahead.
What do we do in these moments–when all seems to be rapidly advancing forward, only to abruptly stop at a standstill? If we are on the highway, we might have a few choice words for the situation. If we are distracted, maybe texting while driving, we might find ourselves up the rear bumper of those in front of us. If we are alert and aware that the highway is an unpredictable environment, then we allow time to avoid collision and can bluetooth Siri for an alternate route.
This past week, I was excited about getting to the final destination. I was looking at the horizon, dreaming of the Dairy Queen that lay just beyond…
…and I was aggressively driving to get there. I wasn’t noticing the Bluebonnets or the Indian Paintbrush. I wasn’t aware of the other drivers or the chance of construction on the future 5-mile stretch. So when traffic came to a halt, I reacted with a few choice words and a little bit of panic.
Have you ever thought about the highway journeys found in Scripture? Consider Moses: From birth, he was removed from the solid arms of his mother and put into a wobbly river-born basket. He grew up in a palace, rapidly advancing in the Egyptian hierarchy. He was unaware, however, that the fast-paced, golden overpass he was traveling was about to run out of asphalt. He ended up in the desert, running as a former adopted child to a king, reeling from the reveal of his true biological make-up and the guilt of his actions. He was not who he thought he was. He was taken in by tent-living nomads who tended to sheep. It would appear Moses was on a completely different route, living a new life, perhaps even happy to seek a new dream. Then he found himself literally on a mountain. It was there that a burning bush smart-phone redirected him back to Egypt, back to the palace, but with a completely new role.
How awkward that first reuniting with his adoptive brother, Pharaoh, must have been. How awkward getting to know his biological brother, Aaron, as they took on a seemingly impossible adventure together. None of it was the path that Moses envisioned for himself. He was in an unpredictable environment. None of it was comfortable or ideal. His 10-year plan, likely drafted within advanced Egyptian architecture, probably didn’t include a Midian wife, a shepherd’s/farmer’s-tan, and a plague-ridden squabble of “LET GO!” with his older childhood brother.
I am amazed when I think about the lifespan of Moses…all that he went through, all the different roles he filled, and all the things he must have seen. Even more awe-inspiring to me is how God used a man who lorded over His own people to later free His people. Just like Saul, God used a man who was an enemy to become the greatest advocate.
My road has been bumpy…and not just with publishers and book stuff. I’ve been the worst of enemies with those who God is calling me to advocate for–my husband, my children, …my self. The lies that I believe about my identity tell me that I belong to a worldly dynasty, entitled to riches and authority. I have lorded over my own people. I have not been kind. We all do this, right? We all believe the lies of entitlement. We all abuse those closest and dearest.
But we are not destined to this…
There is hope.
God has a plan to remove us off the interstate leading to creamy soft-serve, where we are likely weak to over-indulge and cut in line. He sits us in a desert and gives us sheep to watch. He leads us to green pastures. He calls us by new names and reminds us of our true identity.
He sends us to a mountain.
He asks us to recall where we’ve been and redirects us to a path that is a divine mashup of all we have ever been with all that we are to become. He takes the stuff that shames us and pushes us forward with wisdom gained and connections built. Rather than a fancy headdress and a royal polished crook and flail, He adorns us with humble sandals and a shepherd’s knotty staff in hand.
I don’t know where I am headed, or at what pace I am supposed to walk. However, I have been reminded of who I am. I have been retaught of where I have been and where I currently pause. I stand, waiting in the cleft of a mountain, for the still small voice or the burning bush…whatever He has for me. And when He says whatever He has to say to me, I pray I move with confident hustle, even though awkwardness and discomfort are inevitable. I ask that He continue to remind me that every place I’ve been and have yet to go is preparing and shaping me for one purpose and one goal…to bring news of freedom to those who are enslaved. He is grooming me with all that I need to reach those to whom He has called me.
Moses didn’t go to Dairy Queen…right away. He was first diverted off the path, given all that was necessary to get him there for more than just ice-cream…for the milk and honey sweetness of freedom for God’s people.
“Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.”