I was amused yesterday at a journey I had with a friend. Our destination was to be a mum's prayer group. Sounds simple enough. But the journey to our destination actually didn't seem that simple. It was delayed by a hospital phone call, after the two school runs to drop off six children. There was a detour due to three fire engines and a house fire. There was an errand to run on the way. There was traffic. There was the beeping of horns and even a man dressed as a pizza who attempted to slow us down as he stepped in front of the car. There was a phone call from my friend's husband, a sleeping baby and time restraints, but also a lot of giggling especially as my friend told the pizza man off!
I was thinking about the journey today, rather than the destination, in regards to our walk with God. The destination is our main focus; a citizen of Heaven we shall be! But there is so much that happens on the journey itself. And that is the stuff that shapes us and causes us to grow. It depends of course, on which route we take, and how much we trust God to lead us. But it is all part of the training. It is what moulds us into who we are, and actually makes us more expectant of our final destination. With these thoughts, I decided to let the youngest two walk at their own pace on the lunchtime school run. It was sunny and I had no plans, and I wanted to see what the journey would look like and what it would teach me. It took thirty minutes instead of ten, which for someone a little on the unorganised side of life was a nice change from the last minute rush!
The boys ran giggling, they stopped to pick up ants, they stopped to look at a brick, one of them tripped over, one of them needed discipline for disobedience, they climbed up a steep muddy bit while I stuck to the path, they went their own way, the same one tripped up again, they were scared by a dog, they rescued a baby snail, they walked up and rolled down a hill, they looked for woofs, they sat down, they climbed on a fence, they wandered aimlessly, and there was very nearly a dog poo incident!
My role in the walk seemed to be to lead them, to encourage them to keep walking, to ask them about their day, to take an interest in the baby snail and the ant, and to hold their hands near the roads, keeping them safe because I love them and don't want them to be in danger. I guess it made me think about how God keeps me safe, how He encourages me to keep going and how He leads the way for me to follow Him, how He takes an interest in my life and how He loves me dearly, but how He allows me to make my own choices. And sometimes that means I take the wrong path, sometimes I go the more difficult route, sometimes I need discipline, sometimes I get scared, sometimes I get distracted and sometimes I end up in dog poo. But just like I didn't leave my children to go it alone, my Heavenly Father doesn't leave me to go it alone either. And I know it shapes me as I journey on, trusting His ways. I guess I learnt from my two adventure-seeking giggly boys today to slow down a bit and enjoy it, rather than keep asking God if I'm there yet!