July 16, 2018: (I originally wrote this for a devotional message I gave to a group on March 7, 2017.) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Our daughter didn’t receive her driver's license until she was 18. Neither her, nor us, were in any hurry, but we were very intentional with the timing. We didn’t put it off because we were concerned that she had a lack in maturity. We also didn’t put a measure that we had to go with the world’s suggested standard of putting a child on the road at age 15. We trusted God when He gave us the peace to wait until she was older, and we knew His voice when He prompted that it was time for her to learn to drive.
Being intentional is a critical cornerstone of building our houses on a solid Kingdom principal, a principle which can be summed up in this: “TURN IN THE DIRECTION YOU WANT TO GO.”
We heard this simple statement many times over during our time with our daughter at BRAKES. BRAKES - which stands for “Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe” - is a 4-hour, intensive, defensive driving course for 15-19 year olds. It was founded by drag racer Doug Herbert, after a tragic, but preventable car accident took the life of his two sons right in his own neighborhood in 2008. BRAKES training covers accident avoidance, slaloms, distracted driving, panic stops, drop wheel recovery, and keeping your vehicle under control, and it partners the State Police and DOT to determine the best courses for the students in each region. BRAKES currently has programs in 33 states and 3 countries, and they've taught over 33,000 kids how to drive safely, to drive pro-actively, and to drive with wisdom and confidence.
As I prepared this devotion, I began to see just how much it and our experience at BRAKES were in tandem with tonight’s theme of “Thriving Creatively”, and living an intentional life purposed to partner with God to be a creative flow of His hands, feet, and mouthpiece wherever we go, in every circumstance.
Habakkuk 2:1-3 Amplified Bible (AMP)
God Answers the Prophet
I will stand at my guard post
And station myself on the tower;
And I will keep watch to see what He will say to me,
And what answer I will give [as His spokesman] when I am reproved.
Then the Lord answered me and said,
“Write the vision
And engrave it plainly on [clay] tablets
So that the one who reads it will run.
“For the vision is yet for the appointed [future] time
It hurries toward the goal [of fulfillment]; it will not fail.
Even though it delays, wait [patiently] for it,
Because it will certainly come; it will not delay.
Habakkuk’s name means both “to wrestle”, and “to embrace”. So what are we wrestling with, or embracing in our lives? We will always have forks in the road to go to a higher narrative, or to succumb to the pejorative. In every situation we can find fault or embrace the challenge and make something beautiful out of the broken. I am a Mom and wife, a creative, a worshiper, an intercessor, a watchman, an educator and Pastor, a student of life, and a daughter taking care of my live-in elderly Mom. Despite all of these roles, I still only wear one hat. They're all me, at all time. I don't put my motherhood on a shelf when I'm painting any more than I stop being a daughter as I'm giving my 100% as a wife. I’m faced daily with a choice to either trust that God knows more than me, or to wrestle with things that would be better left in the care of the One who goes before me to make a way. My whole life is a mosaic in the making - each broken piece fits into the other and is glued together with one foot in front of the other, but all working to the greater glory of God. It’s a choice. Our lens, our actions and words - all choices. It takes intention to gather the pieces and use them to create the picture of how He sees us. It takes intention to not hide behind disappointment, because when we take that step out to be vulnerable, it really does gets less traumatic each time. We become better parents and spouses. We become better sons, daughters, friends, listeners, and comforters. We become better at being available. We become better at trusting God and being able to wait for however long it takes with a joyful and content heart, even when the canvas around us is stretched too much to be comfortable to fit within the frame of our comfort zones.
Our family is very visually and sound orientated. God knew when He put us together how much we’d compliment and sharpen each other and others, while others also sharpen us. He chose our children perfectly, just like He chose or will choose your children perfect for you. Every one of us was born in exactly the time God wanted, for such a time as this. Our passions, the things that put the cadence in our walk, the color palettes to which we gravitate, the new sound in our song - they’re all part of our life canvas, but with a bigger tapestry in mind in how we connect with each other, build each other up, champion each other’s strengths, and bear each other’s burdens.
And when you align with Holy Spirit, letting Him flow out of you into all you do, you thrive with the peace that surpasses understanding. You thrive in turning frustration into patience. You pass along generational and lasting Kingdom skills to your children and those who are quietly watching in how to successfully navigate the waters of life. Habakuk 2:1-3 tells us to stand as watchmen, to be intentional, and to write down the truths He’s written on our arms. Whether I'm creating and worshipping, or whether I'm working through a problem, what comes out of me is the fruit of what I’ve made plain on my tablets. It’s an ongoing account of my growing revelation of who He is, and how much He loves and heals and holds true to His word. When you create with your own words and actions each day around your table, dealing with your family and people who don’t value your values, remember this: “TURN IN THE DIRECTION YOU WANT TO GO.” God will not compete against our sovereign choice, as choice trumps predestination. We need to upgrade our conviction to fit our destiny! AW Tozer said, “You don’t bring the old Man to a high level, you leave him at the Cross.”
No matter if it relates to educational milestones, seeing God’s promises come to pass, or stepping through new doors in life, “TURN IN THE DIRECTION YOU WANT TO GO.” Standing in our times of waiting while positioned with ears intentional to hear and eyes purposed to see will be the deep difference between living a life in joy that is thriving and free creatively, or living a life being tied in self-induced knots, unable to powerfully and strategically flow in our identity in Christ.