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3 Things I Wish I Had Known


Navigating The Road Ahead 

If you have ever thought of life as a journey, you might have pictured a road. I can remember driving my car at 70 mph on the highway for the very first time. I was not thinking of my destination, but rather of holding my car in the road. The speed limit was probably 55. That is precisely what high school was like for me — holding on, navigating the road beneath me while my car roared into the distance beyond.


I was exhilarated, not by breaking the rules but by a sense of freedom. The things I was unable to change about myself trapped me into believing I was unworthy. I was too tall. I was too skinny. My hair was too curly. My eyes were brown, I wanted green. My teeth were crooked and braces were not affordable. Besides all that, I felt stupid and my grades confirmed it. There simply were not enough masks to cover my vulnerabilities.

As a young teen in the 1960’s I was insecure. I hung onto the railing that encircled the “in” crowd and peeked in at the “normal” ones. Fortunately, high school was not a sampling of who I would become.

Courage For The Road

Are there four years that define our lives? Who knows? Should there be? Courage for the road ahead arrives one day at a time, and one does not have to continue navigating a road going nowhere. I wish I’d embraced the realization that I would be alright, knowing that I would go on to college in spite of what my high school teachers predicted (a circuitous route, perhaps, but so what), and I would graduate with honors from Purdue University.

I wish I’d known:

1. High school years are not the most important four years of life.

2. The worst things that happen often turn out to be the best.And vice versa. The currently fantastic things are not always what they seem. That endeavor we devoted so much time and energy to diminishes in an instant somewhere along the road. Looking back it was not at all what we thought.  

I lost a child in delivery. It wasn’t as if motherhood was never going to happen. I was, in fact, already the mother of two cool kids, but the anticipation of a child that results in death is like coming to a spot in the road where the bridge is out. 

Best Advice

The best one can do is double back and begin again. The best advice I got was this:

“Since God is directing our steps, why try to understand everything that happens along the way.”– Proverbs 20:24 (The Living Bible)

Losing a child never did turn out to be a “best,” but through acceptance of something I could not change, I began navigating a different road ahead. I made it through, but I wish I’d known, as awful as it was, there would be a new day and the sun would again shine and joy would come again.

Last, I wish I had known:

 3. How to cooperate with the Father’s love. I wish I had known it in my growing up years. Parents are not always people who have mastered the art of parenting.

Stop Refusing To Accept

Hidden from my understanding was the fact that own my parents, especially my father, was giving everything he had—financially, emotionally, and every other way. He, like the Heavenly Father, sacrificed the best he had to provide the best for me. I had to stop refusing to accept it. How?

“Cooperate with the fact that God loves you.” (Charlie Shedd was the author of that prescription.)

I wish I’d had accepted that fact sooner than I did.

Make the move. Get in the car. Navigate with assurance the clearly marked road to love, and don’t detour.

My upcoming novel Eastbound From Flagstaff is a love story based on a portion of my father’s early years, ones that portray the journey of a man navigating the road ahead. 

Want to join me in navigating the road ahead? Join my mailing list here.


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