Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Tender Guiding Hand

Most people consider themselves to be good drivers; many of them are wrong! 

I would count myself as not only one who believes she drives well, but is not deluded in her assessment.
That does not mean, by any stretch of the imagination, that I am a perfect driver.
Why would driving be any different than anything else about me?

I do think I have the upper hand over many drivers because I was a driving instructor for a number of years and thus know the rules of the road. 
Take the four-way stop sign.  It seems that the majority of drivers have no idea who goes first at those intersections.  At times an urge comes over me to get out of my car and give everyone an few words of direction!

It has crossed my mind more than once to offer to write a column for the local paper that discusses the rules of safe driving.

There is one rule that I am not partial to myself though.
The speed limit.
Now I do not mean that we shouldn't have any limits, but some are especially slow!  I think it is more about control than speed.
Another factor that plays into the whole speed thing is the fact that I grew up in New York.  Need I say more?

Having shared my view of speed limits I must say that I do try to stay close to the limits because it is the right thing to do.  Even if it is a bit difficult at times...

Now it's time for a confession.
I received a speeding ticket at the end of June.  The first one in over thirty-eight years!
I was stunned.  I didn't know what to say to the officer (who was not friendly at all!).  To be honest I wasn't aware that I was going that fast. 
I was having a conversation with Papa and must have been pressing a little harder on the pedal as I prayed.

It was a hefty ticket. 
I didn't pay it, but sent in a "not guilty" so I could have my day in court.  Oh joy....

A few weeks passed and then I received a summons from the court for a set date.  The day I received it I had woken up in the morning with the thought that I was to go to court the twenty-third.  And that was the date set down on the paper.
As I was taking a trip to West Virginia with a return date of the twenty-fourth, I was not pleased.  I do not like to have to drive the whole eight hours in one day, but now I would have to do just that!

Fast forward to the morning of the twenty-third of August.  I left my home with plenty of time to drive to the court, find a parking spot and enter the building promptly at nine o'clock.
As I was making my way to the court I saw a hitchhiker on the side of the road.  It was a man, who many have nicknamed "the bottle man."  He is an older eccentric man named Jim, who walks everywhere he needs to go.  It is his habit to try to hitch a ride, as most destinations are a good distance from his home.
We know him and have included him at a few of our holiday meals, so I am comfortable giving him a ride.

Once Jim was in my car I discovered that his destination on that particular day was right around the corner from the court!  He isn't use to getting a ride all the way, so he was very pleased.

Having dropped Jim off I proceeded to the court.
I had never been on this side of things and was jittery as I stood on line waiting to speak with the prosecutor. 
The line moved much more quickly than I had anticipated and before I knew it I was giving my name to this young attorney.  He asked to see my summons, as he could not find my case.
He discovered the problem immediately.  I had misread the date-it was September twenty-third, not August!!
He could see I was not comfortable and I had mentioned that this was my first offense ever.  He was apologetic that he couldn't help me right then and there.  I think he felt badly for me and would have dismissed my case if he could have!
I do hope he is the one that I encounter when I return in September!

Now what was the point of sharing this story apart from removing any doubt of my imperfection?

I thought about how I had driven straight through and how tired it had left me; how tired I still was and I wondered what the point of the whole thing had been.  I do believe that everything has a purpose to it, especially for one who looks to the Living God to direct their steps.

My wondering brought a thought to me.  It was to satisfy Papa's plans...
Plans to care for this man who is so often overlooked.
Plans to get me where He knew I needed to be.

Every single individual is of concern to my Father.  He has a special affinity for the downtrodden and lonely.
When His child tells Him that they are available for His purposes, He takes them at their word.
He also works all of the details into His purpose for every person involved.

I had been growing more and more weary as of late.  My energy level has been diminishing.  A sadness has been keeping me company on a more regular basis.  Yet, I have kept going.
It takes a lot to stop this lady.

Papa knew that I needed to hit the wall and face all that was weighing upon me.  So He allowed me to get totally worn out.

This past week depression settled down on me with a few anxiety attacks thrown in.  I have not been my usual upbeat self and I didn't care.
My Papa is so loving and caring that He allowed me to get to this place because He wants to do a deeper work in my heart.

I know a couple of counselors who have told me that it is not uncommon for a person to become depressed and anxious after going through a major traumatic situation.  Once things settle down and they don't have to be so "in charge" they often collapse.
The reality of the reality sets in and finishes them off.

I may be down, but I am not finished!  I have a tender, loving God.  He has proved Himself to me over and over.  Never has He left me nor forsaken me and He isn't about to do so now!

A visit to a naturopathic pharmacy was profitable.
An impression that I was in my God's arms though I couldn't sense them is very comforting.

Last night I watched a movie.  I cannot recall the name.  It was one on  the Netflix instant list.
I just wanted to vegetate.
The story line was about a young man who hit a dead end and became depressed.  He didn't stay that way.  One person after another was brought into his life and he learned to celebrate life.
By the end I was dancing! 
Papa uses anything He wants to bless His children.

This morning I awoke feeling less anxious and more rested.
The weather kept us home for the day.  I was a day of rest, relaxation and refreshment.  I finished reading Brennan Manning's "Signature of Jesus."  My spirit was stirred by a fresh breeze, which was the breath of my God.

Yes, His tender, guiding Hand has never left me.  I am His and He is mine...through it all.

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