Thursday, May 20, 2010

Roadblocks and hurdles

“And God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purposes” – Romans 8:28

All of us as parents sometimes struggle with the “what if’s” of life. Sometimes our minds wander back to decisions made and occurrences that changed the course of our lives. Sometimes life events are “roadblocks”- a direction we thought we were supposed to go but a barrier kept us from going there. Other life occurrences are “hurdles”- a direction is given, but we have to jump over hurdles to get there. What if we had waited to have kids later? Should I have home schooled the kids? What if we had one more child?

I think back to two decisions or situations that the Lord used to direct me years ago. Of course, there are a zillion more, but these two stand out.

One was a roadblock. In high school I played soccer and football (I lived in Texas after all). I played outside linebacker in football and sweeper in soccer. I always considered kicking in football as well. I could kick the ball pretty far. But I was focused on playing defense in football and we already had a phenomenal kicker. But he was graduating 2 years ahead of me and I decided to announce that I’d be going out for kicker. I still remember the day, because before I could make the announcement, one of my soccer buddies announced that he was going to go out for kicker. I froze. I wasn’t about to compete against my friend. So I backed off. He did a great job kicking and I continued to play defense in football and play soccer. But I still have dreams about my NFL career and the records I’d have set as a kicker. Truth is, I’d have probably been mediocre anyway. So God directed me a different direction.

The other situation was a hurdle. I was finishing up my Masters degree program at Baylor and had been hired to work with the new K-Kare program (Shelterwood) in Branson. I was excited to work at Kanakuk in the summers and be a Counselor with families at K-Kare during the year. I’d sent out graduation announcements to my families. Deep inside, I was so proud (not good) to be graduating and keeping up with my professional, competitive brothers. Pride has been a struggle all my life and God has been kind enough to help produce humility in me. And he did then. A couple of weeks before graduation, one of my professors let me know I’d be making an “Incomplete” in his class. “But that means I won't graduate,” I reminded him. “I know,” he said, “ but you’ll be able to finish next semester.” Wow, I was devastated and I was humbled. I was still able to begin the work at K-Kare in the Fall and finished the coursework by correspondence from Branson and got my degree in the mail in December. It all worked out, but not in my timing. It couldn’t work out in my timing, because God had a lesson to teach me.

Roadblocks and hurdles. The Lord uses them both to steer us where He desires and teach us lessons as only God can do in His creative way. The roadblocks and hurdles that are part of our past are just testimonies to God’s orchestration of our lives. He truly is the master conductor.

So, have fun with the “what if’s,” but let them go. Even if there were poor decisions made, they’re in the past. Maybe you’d have been a movie star or a professional athlete, but now you have the greatest and most rewarding job of all: being a parent.

By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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