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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Minute(s) (as in time) (03/03/11)

TITLE: Thank Goodness...
By Kimberly Russell


I'm a firm believer that God knows best and has a perfect plan for my life. The problem is, I often take off in a different direction. Guess that makes me the wandering sheep.

Thank goodness He always comes after me.

A couple of years ago, He started to gently prod me about leaving my church. Stubborn, (maybe I'm more of a goat than a sheep) I opted to plead ignorance to the "still, small voice."

Figured it was all in my head.

But eventually He got my attention and set the plan in motion to disengage me with the least amount of emotional damage possible.

Thank goodness He doesn't give up on me.

By the time I made the "Great Escape", I found myself scared, alone, and wondering if I'd misunderstood. I'd been there for seven years and had planned on it being my forever home. There weren't any viable options locally and I felt adrift, a tiny boat bobbing in waves of confusion.

Thank goodness He teaches me to trust Him.

I got on the Internet and started to search, surprised when He told me to head south.
Even though the nearest city is only twenty-five minutes, I figured I'd missed something: He knows how much I hate to drive.

One thing I love about small-town life is that everything is close. I live seven minutes from work, five from Wal-Mart, and most of the family is practically within shouting distance. I'm terrified of winter weather, fall asleep when I have to drive any length of time, and am totally spoiled living in my instant gratification-filled world where I have dubbed myself the "Queen of Now." I didn't want to go out of town for church.

I can be a bit of a brat.

Thank goodness He loves me anyway.

Reluctantly, I resigned myself to being pulled kicking and screaming out of my comfort zone. Who would have thought that I would be able to leave everything familiar and walk into a church by myself where I didn't know a soul?

With His help, I did it.

It's been six months and I'm starting to graft in. I've made friends, attend a Sunday School class, and am lapping up awesome worship services like a thirsty puppy.

More importantly, I've come to value the short trek that had filled me with such dread.
Those precious minutes have become a built-in prep time to get my head and heart ready for worship. I actually find myself looking forward to the drive, music cranked, praising Him for the beauty of our world.

I even get a chance buy gas cheaper since it is always less just across the state line than in my own area.

Thank goodness He has a sense of humor.

The drive home is for reflection and to mull over what I learned, planting deeply to grow my roots stronger.

Even winter has not deterred me. Recently, I opted for a less-traveled highway due to ice that had turned my journey into Olympic-style speed skating. I knew that I could mosey-poke along and was feeling pretty proud of myself for putting on my big girl panties as opposed to giving in to my fears and just staying home.

There were few other cars to contend with until I came upon an elderly gentleman who was obviously more frightened of bad roads than I. He was creeping along at a steady 31 miles per hour (which was annoying) but I fell in behind him. We did the slow-motion-conga-line routine for the better part of the trip--until we rounded a bend to find a serious accident that had obviously just taken place.

As I slowly passed the ambulance and fire truck, I breathed a prayer for the victims. Then swiped away a tear as I realized that had I been moving a little faster or gotten impatient, chances are I would have been involved.

Thank goodness for a little old man, putt-putting down the highway.

All those grudgingly given minutes I spend on the road have opened up a new world for me. I found a church that welcomed me despite the fact that I wandered in like a vagabond. I'm learning so much and my relationship with the Lord is blossoming.

He's teaching me to trust Him who made the stars and the moon.

And love more fiercely the one who declares me 'His Masterpiece.'

Thank goodness He's in charge.

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This article has been read 652 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Kellie Henningsen03/10/11
This was timely for me to read as we are currently looking for a new church home. It's been six months of looking. The furthest I've gone is about 25 minutes. I agree that the drive can be a blessing at times. So happy for you that you've found where God wants you.
Cathryn Hasek03/15/11
This is a good topic for "minutes." I find that it only takes a "minute" to miss an exit or wrong turn. However, there have been many times I have made a "driving detour" thinking, "Hmm...maybe God just wanted me to avoid a problem or maybe just to get a better view of a field of sunflowers." I think His plan for detours is fun...yet it can make you late for the dentist!
Rachel Phelps03/15/11
The one-line interjections just made this story for me. Great message and what a fun voice!
Bonnie Bowden 03/15/11
I pray that God will guide you to the right church home. It took me nearly six months to find a church. It was practically right in my backyard.
Karlene Jacobsen03/15/11
Thank goodness, indeed. : ) I know what it's like to feel that tug-of-war (mine, not His) over leaving a beloved church. Congratulations on your move to Masters. A well-deserved trip.
Beth Muehlhausen03/15/11
The one-liners acted like punctuation marks! Nice ending with The Big Exclamation Point. :-)