Several years ago while driving across our state, I exited a divided highway to put fuel in my car. What happened after I left the gas station inspired my meditation for today.
As I headed back toward the thoroughfare, a vehicle pulled directly in front of me. Distracted, I drove up the wrong entrance ramp and found myself going west, toward home, instead of east, toward my destination. Turning around was not an immediate option. I had to travel some distance before I could get off the highway, cross an overpass, and resume my trip in the right direction once again.
Life is full of unexpected detours. Some of my most difficult redirections have resulted from the actions of others, such as when my 34-year marriage ended in spite of everything I did to try to save it. That loss triggered other losses, including being let go from my ministry position as a staff pastor.
Working hard to forgive those who’d hurt me resulted in the blessing of peace in my life. Over the next 16 years, I moved, started a writing/editing business, published books and articles, and volunteered on the prayer team at a local church.
Nearly a year after I submitted this “Turning Around” meditation to The Upper Room, my car developed problems. I contacted a longtime acquaintance—a car buff—for advice. Alan had been single himself for nearly a decade and had also lost his position as a church pastor when his wife left him. Like me, he was not looking to marry again.
But, as we drove around to check out cars for sale, we shared our stories with each other and came to realize how many values we held in common. We also discovered we really enjoyed each other’s company. It wasn’t long before Alan proposed, and soon we started attending a new church together.
A few months after our wedding on March 2, 2019, we were added to the pastoral staff at our new church. We’re still in delighted shock at the measure of restoration God has brought us.
It’s tempting to imagine that our lives would have been perfect if we hadn’t been sent on messy detours. But that’s not reality. Life is full of disappointments and reverses. Nevertheless, Romans 8:28 assures us that our creative God uses everything we experience—both pleasant and unpleasant—to work together for our good.
My new husband and I are living proof of that. Hallelujah!
Joining friends at The Upper Room in morning prayer on Facebook Live has been an anchor in the storm during recent weeks. In the chaos of trying to figure out how to do ministry in strange and uncertain times, it was a compelling call to stop, breathe, listen, and be in community with those who gather "where the world meets to pray." Join us each day for morning prayer.