When Confusion Over Choices Leads You to the Wrong Destination

Here’s a woman who knows a lot about sowing seed and reaping a harvest. The child of a king, daughter of a farmer, and wife of a pastor, Maggie Wallem Rowe has been connecting souls with God’s peace for decades. Maggie breathes life into the stories of great women of faith through original historical dramas. She speaks and people listen. Sometimes they laugh. Most often, they remember. It’s a grace to welcome Maggie to the farm’s front porch today…

guest post by Maggie Wallem Rowe

If I ever write a memoir, I think I’ll title it The Woman Who Went Out for Pizza and Ended Up in Montana.

Before our kids entered their teen years, my husband Mike and I borrowed a pop-up camper and drove across the country to visit many of America’s natural parks with them.

One evening, as it was growing dark, we pulled into a campsite next to the interstate somewhere in northern Wyoming. Mike and the kids hustled to put the camper up while I drove back to a pizza place we’d spotted on the way in.

We didn’t have a GPS or mobile phones in those days, but I was sure I could find my way back with our dinner.

I groaned when what I thought was the entry road to the campground turned out to be the entrance ramp for the highway instead.

No big deal—I would just drive to the next exit and reverse my direction back to the campground (whose name I didn’t know, in a tiny town whose name I hadn’t noticed). Piece of cake (actually, make that pizza).

Only there was no exit.

With cars whizzing by me on the dark interstate and signposts indicating that the nearest town was fifty miles away, I drove northwest for nearly an hour with stone-cold pizza in the back seat and cold-sweat panic in the front.

Where in the Wild West was I, anyway? When I finally passed the “Welcome to Montana!” sign, I had a clue. Since I lived to tell the tale, you know I eventually found my family again one state back, but it sure wasn’t a road trip I ever intended to make.

I bet you have a story or two like this of your own.

Times when your intentions were good, but you ended up in a place you never would have chosen.

Times when you meant well but others misread your motives. Times when you went out for pizza in Wyoming and ended up in Montana.

The Irish have a blessing meant for well-intended people like us: “May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been, the foresight to know where you’re going, and the insight to know when you’ve gone too far.”

My pastor, Chris, often comments that our windshield needs to be as unobstructed as our rearview mirror. Wouldn’t it be lovely to see where we’re going as clearly as the places where we’ve been?

How grateful I am—how utterly, radically grateful—that the God of our journey doesn’t leave us directionless.

The Lord sees our every intention, ill-considered or not, reveals our private motivations, and will ultimately give each one of us our due.

In the nineteenth century, Cardinal H. E. Manning captured the assurance we can have in offering our lives to God:

Seeing my intentions before he beholds my failures;
Knowing my desires before he sees my faults;
Cheering me to endeavor greater things, and yet accepting the least;
Inviting my poor service, and yet above all, content with my poorer love.

Friends, we are made with a purpose.

The intentional life happens because we learn to make careful choices about the future, even as we grow in maturity from the lessons learned in the past.

What God forms, He fills with His perfect will. He teaches us—through His Word and others’ wisdom—to attend carefully to our daily choices.

We can have confidence in our calling because the one whom God calls, He also equips.

If, like me, you focus too often on the road trips and detours you wish you’d never taken, please know this: failure is never the final word in God’s economy.

If you thought you were doing it right only to have it go all wrong, that doesn’t mean God wasn’t present. Sometimes it’s hard to see him in the windshield, but glance through the rearview mirror of your life and you’ll find reminders of the times his presence was palpable.

I love M. Robert Mulholland, Jr.’s words in Invitation to a Journey:

The journey of faith, the path to spiritual wholeness, lies in our increasingly faithful response to the One whose purpose shapes our path, whose grace redeems our detours, whose power liberates us from the crippling bondages of our previous journey, and whose transforming presence meets us at each turn in our road.

I may have felt alone when I went out for pizza and ended up in Montana, but I wasn’t. Not for a hot minute.

Grace was riding in that car with me along with that cold pizza.

And it was grace that led me home. It knows the way.

 

This Life We Share is your guide to living well, whether you are struggling with anxiety and insecurity or gripping the everyday moments of life too tightly. Consider this your walking stick, water bottle, and warm companionship to refresh your journey. You will read and re-read these fifty-two reflections for timeless wisdom and practical principles that will inspire every season of your life.

Maggie Wallem Rowe is a national speaker, dramatist, blogger, and writer who has contributed to more than ten books, including numerous devotional Bibles. Maggie has traveled extensively throughout the United States and abroad, performing original one-woman dramas that she authored, and speaking at outreach programs, conferences, community events, and retreats. She holds an undergraduate degree in communication with a minor in education, as well as a graduate degree in biblical studies, both from Wheaton College (IL). 

A catalyst for spiritual and personal growth, This Life We Share is a gift for your own soul care and even richer when read with a friend.

[ Our humble thanks to Navpress for their partnership in today’s devotion ]