Ellen’s Blog

Are We There Yet?

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As I stepped to the edge of the southern rim of the Grand Canyon and peered into that vast vessel carved out by nature and time, I was in awe. The grandeur of God’s creation and the gratitude I felt to stand on her rim brought me to tears. Actually, I stood there and openly wept.

After driving 1,334 miles, Steve and I had arrived at our ultimate destination. Our first official road trip of the summer that I titled Desert Road Tour 2017 had been meticulously planned. In addition to the sight-seeing wonders of the Grand Canyon and Antelope Canyon, I researched where we would stay along the way, where we might find gas in the middle of the desert and what “fine dining” establishments awaited us in towns with a population of less than 300. What I couldn’t have planned for was God’s surprises along the way.

As we drove along a looong flat highway in the middle of Arizona, Steve and I laughed out loud at the hilariously hokey billboard signs (that went on for miles and miles and miles) marketing an upcoming truck stop and market. In the Texas plains, we marveled at man’s ability to harness the wind and create windmill farms that moved so gracefully they looked like works of art. We traveled with the sun, from early morning to late afternoon, and watched her shadows dance over the desert sand and finally rest behind red rock mountains still capped with snow, in early June. The two-week journey to and from the canyons was indeed as magnificent, as inspiring and as entertaining as the final destination itself. Which got me to thinking about the road trip of life. When our trek is long, we get some great surprises along the way because God values our journey.

We all have dreams or a “final destination” for ourselves or our family. It’s that place of utopia where we long to be. For some it’s a new job that provides both purpose and stability. For others it’s a new home where everyone feels safe and can thrive. Some dream of a rekindled love with their spouse or a renewed relationship with a family member. I know some of you pray for a life-saving drug or treatment for yourself or someone you love. Our final destinations are critical to us and they’re critical to God. But we can’t discount or miss the lessons and blessings he allows us to experience along the way.

If you’re on a difficult and frustrating stretch of road right now and wondering, ‘When will we ever get there?’ remember that God cares about where you are right now. Difficult journeys are seldom scenic but they’re definitely enlightening when we look out our window for the miracles and surprises he is providing in each and every moment.

Keep moving toward that final destination. You’re likely not there yet—but you when arrive—you will be in awe.

Waiting For A Miracle

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It was mid-April and our stately October Glory still stood as bare and naked as the day I was born. I was beside myself: Was this magnificent maple tree—that was indeed nothing short of glorious in the fall—now dead? Several times a day I would pass by the window that framed her majestic form and whisper a prayer, “O Lord, if it be your will (how could it not?), save this beautiful tree.”

I just couldn’t understand what might have happened to her. Our mild Dallas winter (that was more like an extended fall punctuated with a few summer-like days) had gently coaxed lush green leaves from the branches of all the trees around our home and in our neighborhood —in early March! Everywhere I looked, spring was bursting forth. But not my October Glory. She sat dormant. What was she waiting for?

Come to find out, she was waiting on winter. Bless her heart! (That’s what we say about everything in Texas from decaying plant life to women who have issues that we don’t— or won’t admit to having.) Our October Glory was waiting for it to get cold!

A few days after a freak, late spring cold front, her first leaves peeked out. Steve called me to the window to behold the tiny, tender shoots beginning to appear and said, “Look. She’s okay. There’s a lot going on in there. You just have to be patient.” My mind wondered to all the times I have fretted over things —like this tree leafing out— that were out of my purview but, of course, were completely within God’s. Because I’m rather fond of instant gratification and complete clarity, it’s really hard for me to sit and wait, while God is doing his “God thing”.

What about you? Are you, or someone you love, desperately waiting for renewed health? Are you losing hope that the promotion or job offer will ever materialize? Are you anxiously awaiting a relationship to heal? An addiction to end? A pregnancy to occur? A depression to lift? A child to return? Financial relief? Waiting is hard—even when we have faith—because during the latent period between crisis and resolution, we rarely get to see the miracle while it’s in the making.

This morning our October Glory stands completely outfitted in her new spring attire. She will provide a soothing green shade during our hot summer and will burst forth with orange leaves so brilliant they will nearly put your eyes out come early December. I don’t care what she’s called, she’s always had a mind of her own — and a timetable, like everything else—directed by God.

Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble, and prayerful always.  — Romans 12:12

Hang on. You can’t see it but the miracle is in the works.