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Blessed is the man who perseveres…    ~ James 1:12

An unexpected break in rain prompted me to go out for a morning walk.  I was making my way down the street when I saw a neighbor.  She was on her way to meet her walking partner.  They walk 4 miles or an hour/day.   I told her I’d love to walk that long, but fibromyalgia limits what I can do.  She said her walking partner has fibromyalgia, too, but they started walking a year ago, and now her friend can walk long distances.  That was encouraging to hear!

I thought about that as I went on with my walk, remembering my most recent walk a few days ago.  It hadn’t gone too well.  After just 10 minutes my muscles were giving me problems.  I tried to go on, but had to turn around and go home.  It took me 17 minutes to walk the same distance back, but at least I kept moving!  I remember thinking, “My muscles might ail me, but they don’t fail me!  For that I am thankful!”

Today I reached the place where I turned around last time.  My muscles were starting to tighten, but not as badly as before.  Encouraged by the story about my neighbor’s friend, I decided to go just a little farther.  I only walked for two more minutes before turning around, but that was two minutes more than last time!  In those two minutes I passed a house that triggered a memory.  The last time I walked past that house I’d said hi to the woman who lived there.  My greeting led to a conversation and I learned she was a Christian woman going through a divorce she’d tried hard to avoid.  The husband had left.  She sold the house and was in the process of moving with her young daughter.  We became friends in that brief meeting.  She hugged me and said what an encouragement it was to her that God brought us together that day.  I was encouraged by our meeting of divine appointment, too.  I pray that she’s doing well wherever she is today.

It was time to turn around and go home.  As I went past that house on my way back, I saw a sidewalk cross! (See my previous post titled My Walk with God and the Sidewalk Cross.)  Really?  Another sidewalk cross?!  (Praise!) I love finding images of crosses in the world around me, and this one was formed by two small twigs, intersecting to make a perfect sidewalk cross.

After pausing to look at the cross and take a picture with my cell phone, it occured to me that I wouldn’t have seen that cross if I hadn’t decided to go just a little farther.  I also wouldn’t have been reminded of how God brought two of us together one day and encouraged each of us through our encounter, an encounter that happened along the very section of sidewalk where today I found the sidewalk cross.

Hmmm…How might God be able to do more, and show me more, if in the course of my day Iput forth a little more effort and tried to go just a little farther?  What will I miss if I stop short of the goals He puts before me?

Thank You, Lord, for the encouragements and blessings You put before us each day – encouragement to go just a little farther, and blessings when we do.   Amen.

But forget all that – it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.  For I am about to do something new.  See, I have already begun!  Do you not see it?    I will make a pathway through the wilderness.  I will create rivers in dry wasteland.     ~ Isaiah 43:18-19

When I think about recent changes in my life, that’s the verse that comes to mind.  God is definitely doing somethingnew  in my life!  It’s just six months before my 50th birthday and God is leading me back to school!  And this pursuit isn’t a continuation of my undergrad work.  He’s taking me in a whole new direction!  It’s been 25 years since I sat in a classroom.  Now here I am, taking on a new endeavor and pursuing new goals – His goals, whatever they may be.

Yes, Lord, you are doing something new, all right!  You’re calling me out of my comfortable life as a wife and mom with involvements at church and school, to send me ‘back to work’ as a student with new challenges in a new techno-savvy world.  And You’re calling me to step forward in service for You.

Forget what is behind me, the verse says.  That’s a good instruction for me because I tend to look back out of self-doubt and at failures from my past and all the things that say this shouldn’t be so, but that is the old.  God is doing something new!  Or is it so new?  The verse also says that the Lord has already begun!  Yes, it’s true.  When I take time to reflect, I realize this is a continuation of work God has already begun through my service in the church and my interests in women’s ministries.

How wonderful that the Lord can make a pathway through this ‘wilderness’ I now feel myself wandering in.  It’s even more wonderful that He can create rivers out of the dry wasteland of my mind, my out-of-shape, technically- and academically-challenged mind!

Yes, God is doing something new.  At a time when Rex and I are preparing for our empty-nester and retirement days, God is leading me to a new calling, new commitments, and a new profession.

I’ll be honest and admit that I was scared when this all began, and at times my stomach still knots up – like on Mondays when I have class, and when I think ahead to class assignments, but for the most part these changes are exciting and I’m thankful for them!

Perhaps what’s most exciting is knowing that God truly knows the inner hopes, dreams and desires of our hearts, and with Him it’s never too late to pursue them. The Bible says that in God all things are possible!  Even better…He is with us every step of the way if we seek Him and trust Him with the dreams and desires of our hearts.    Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.  ~ Psalm 37:4

What hopes and dreams are inside your heart?  Give them to God and see what happens!  Perhaps He’s already at work doing something new in your life, too!

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