Sunday, August 7, 2011


Hmmm. Turnouts. I suppose one would wonder where I'm going with this title. Well, if you've gone to a national park (like the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or Pikes Peak or other mountain park), chances are you've seen the spots where the road widens out to the right side or has a little loop-like lane off to the side. Sometimes it will be extra wide and have parking spaces. The purpose of these turnouts is more than just to let faster cars pass by (although that's handy, too). You quickly learn that there is often something to see - some spectacular sight, some unique outcropping of rock, something breathtaking, a vast view to make you gasp in awe and contemplate the wonder of creation. I love these turnouts! I think sometimes Tim gets a bit impatient with me when we're traveling because it's as if I want to stop at every one of them!!

Still wonder where I'm going? Well, we are currently on what I would perhaps call a turnout, it seems, in our ministry journey. Tim's last contract ran out at the beginning of May and we, along with a few of our friends in ministry, are not hearing of many opportunities yet. I'm not sure if it's the economy or time of year or what. While we are somewhat, ok more than a little, frustrated by this gap in the timing of our ministry jobs, I am certain of one thing. God has asked us to pull over at this turnout. There's something He wants us to see, to learn, or to do. I don't often stay in the car when we pull into a turnout. I want to get out and walk around, take the camera out and see if I can get a few memories on the SD card. So far, however, it looks like a turnout with not much to see, just a place to let other cars pass. I've seen some like this on our trips, though. At first there doesn't seem to be any reason for the placement, but if you get out to stretch your legs and walk a couple of minutes, you might see a great view or a trail to investigate, and come upon something extraordinary that others never pay attention to. That's sort-of descriptive of this time for us.

It seems as if we've pulled over at Someone else's request, thinking it will be a super short stop, because at first glance there's no reason for the turnout. However, we know that the Lord takes us through experiences for our own good, for our spiritual growth. It's tough staying with family and not having our own place, and Tim finds it frustrating to work in a factory when he feels that there's more worthy lines of work to put effort into, but amongst all this, we need to "walk around and investigate the area" spiritually. What is it God wants us to learn here, or who is it we should be reaching out to? Divine appointments are arranged by God, not just on a 10-minute conversation out of nowhere, but also in these turnouts of our lives. There's something here for us to learn that we would not learn, or at least not learn as well, if we had gone on quickly to our next position. Are we anxious for this time to be over, to move on already? Sure! But if there's a blessing reserved for us here, just as if we would stumble upon a path leading to a treasure few will notice, I don't want to stay in the car and miss it!

So, here I'm asking for your prayers. Please ask the Lord to make it plain to us the reason for the break in our ministry journey. Perhaps you're facing a lull in your own spiritual journey and are finding it frustrating. We need to think to ask the Lord the reason for His pulling us aside. There's a lesson and a blessing to be gained, I'm sure. I'm hoping you'll get out of the car and poke around a little, too. I don't think we'll regret it! I'm praying that our ministry and yours, too, will be enriched and strengthened by our time in the turnout lane... and maybe, just maybe... we'll learn to enjoy the view and use the leg-stretching time to our spiritual health.



1 comment:

  1. Beautiful photos, Shannon. Thanks for sharing. Your guy is getting so big!

    Happy Week!
    LaVonne @ Long Wait For Isabella