Guiding our steps
By Kathy Penrod
When I was a young child, my family went to a fabulous multi day family reunion – camping in the beautiful scenery of Mt. Lemmon. It was Cousin Paradise! They were everywhere. I remember spinning tie-die t-shirts, grown-ups gathering around chattering about life, a magic show by one of the adults, lots of food, and our musty old tent trailer set up near the cabin. I loved it. Every part of the weekend was delightful.
Well, except for one experience. I wouldn’t say it was delightful, but it certainly was memorable.
My cousin and I decided to go exploring. The thickly wooded forest called our names. I remember the golden leaves crunching under our feet, the wind blowing against my face and the beautiful sense of freedom two 10-year-old girls get when they wander from the rest of the world. We stopped at a fallen tree and pulled away the bark. I remember the hundreds of termites, that had taken home under that bark, scattering all over. After a while, we realized that in all our excitement to explore, we had not taken notice of the direction of the camp and, with just that thought, all our happy feelings disappeared as we realized we were lost.
After wandering around for a short time, my faithful cousin said it was time for us to pray. We may have shed a few tears as we knelt, but the prayer was said. As we stood up, she said she felt we should go one particular direction. The two of us tried to listen to the gentle feelings in our heart while we attempted to make our way back to camp. After some time, we began to recognize the area and walked with more confidence in the direction of our families. Just as we got to the edge of camp, we saw a few of the dads heading out to look for us. Oh, that feeling of safety and comfort! We may not have been in mortal danger, but in our young minds, we certainly felt as though we were. How grateful I am that our Heavenly Father guided our footsteps that day.
I have found that my life is like one big experience of exploring in the woods. I ventured into adulthood with wide, naïve eyes ready to explore all the beauty that exists in the world. However, I quickly realized that I had no idea what I was doing. If I was ever to return to the safety of my Heavenly Father, I needed to allow Him to guide my footsteps.
I think back to when my husband and I were sealed for time and all eternity. We had a plan; a map for our future. We knew exactly how much school we needed, exactly where we needed to live and exactly the career path we should, or should not, take.
As we prayed and asked our Father in Heaven to guide our path, that plan began to take a completely new course. We have been taken places – physically, spiritually, emotionally, professionally – that we never would have gone on our own. Quite often it seems as though we are being gently directed from one point to another… not really knowing what the rest of the journey will bring.
While my life is completely different than I have expected it has been so much better than I could have ever planned. As I look back on my life, I can see why the Lord directed me and/or my family a particular direction. Looking at the whole picture, God’s plan makes perfect sense.
But without that greater perspective, it can be unnerving, unsettling. The truth of the matter is that God will never take us where He cannot reach us. He will always bring us to a better place – even if it takes a while to get there. We just need to have faith and believe that He will guide our steps right back to Him.
Therein lies the challenge. When we find ourselves floundering in this world, when we stand at a fork in the road, when decisions and dreams lay ahead of us, will we let God, our Father, guide our steps?