The long road leading to our hunting club is one that I could have easily driven past. It’s a dirt road that doesn’t foretell a destination worth turning off the main drive.
I remember my first visit to the place that is now so dear to my heart. It was not magical when we first met. Upon turning on the dusty road, immeditately we were greeted by the skeleton of an abandoned greenhouse with aging scars as evidence of a business from long ago. At that time, it created the feeling we had arrived on the set of Breaking Bad. Yet, all the while, the greenhouse maintained enough of the structure from what it once was to imagine the beauty it must have been in it’s peak.
There are potholes to dodge and ditches to avoid but shortly thereafter the road begins to foreshadow the beauty that is yet to behold. Through the planted fields that change with the season, I could begin to see the splendor of the woods, the lake and peace of the stillness found in nature.
Over the course of the last four years, my husband and boys have shown me more and more of this playground they love so much, that is the woods. Their love became my love. Turning onto the path that leads to this place I love so much no longer feels scary. I don’t notice the things that once caused me pause for concern. Instead, I recognize them now as familiar markers along the way.
This October my health drastically changed and I felt like I had turned off on a proverbial dirt road to no where. It was scary, uncertain and I felt it could definitely not lead to a destination worth traveling to. My hospitalization led to several uncomfortable diagnoses of Cranial Cervical Instability and Elhers Danlos Syndrome. Instead of feeling the peace I find in nature, I felt lost in a dark, thick, forest with no path out. I couldn’t see the forest for the trees.
Now a little over a month after being discharged from the hospital, I still feel like I’m finding my way out of the woods. But, I am beginning to have enough distance to gain some perspective that I couldn’t see when I was so overwhelmed by the pain of it all.
While the road still feels uncertain and it requires driving past some skeletons, I know the destination must be worth the drive. I know that I serve a God who says nothing is wasted. I know that I believe in a mighty Savior who can use all things for the glory of those who love Him.
Just like my first trips to the deer stand, navigating new diagnoses have left me feeling just as uncertain. Standing in the midst of the medical storm that I have weathered this Fall, has left me remembering how scared I felt those first long walks through the woods to get to the deer stand wondering what may be lurking near by. But once to the deer stand, when perspective is elevated by physically climbing up, fear fades and beauty rises. From the elevated perspective the woods are at peace, waking up to a world of potential, beauty and wonder.
So, in these moments when I feel surrounded by the forest, I remind myself to look up. God is still good, still in control and has set a path worthy of a continued walk in faith even when I don’t know where the road ahead leads. But yet, because of trust in my great God and not of my circumstances, I’m going to continue to travel down the road that I would not have chosen. Because through it all, I’m still standing, knowing that there is purpose on this path and beauty in the midst of the mud.