I have heard over and over again some variation of the phrase, “raising kids does not come with a handbook”. People often wonder, partly in jest, why they are entrusted with this great responsibility of raising children without more clear instructions. Why has someone not written a book exactly for them? When I have met at crossroads in my own parenting, I have also hoped for some sort of direction on where I should go next.
One of my favorite family activities is to go on hikes. We will drive to a nearby hiking trail, find a map, and head off on our adventures. On a recent hike with my family, we got off the trail a little bit to avoid a muddy patch due to melting snow. After continuing for a little way, and realizing we were off track, we decided it would be best to follow the trail.
Now, I have not hiked in a lot of different places across the country, or the world, so I can only speak to what I know. In the Northeast United States, trails are marked with colored rectangles on the trees. They change colors depending on the trail you are wanting to take, and on some trees, there is more than one color of marking when the trails overlap.
As we were wandering from the path and realized that there were no markings in front of us, we searched around and saw some white markings on the trees far in the distance. We quickly corrected our course, walking through a little bit of mud to get there, and got back on track, following the white marks to get us out of the forest and back to our car.
As we were following this trail back, I could not help but think about the parallels that this experience has with our own mortal existence. I spoke of the handbook for parenthood, but I think this is so much bigger than that. I think this is a parallel for life in general! God is there to guide us every step of the way.
Isaiah prophesied of this so beautifully when he said, “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” (Isaiah 30:21 KJV)
As we are walking through life, there are many different paths that we can take. Sometimes we are faced with two equally exciting prospects, and the thought of leaving one to follow the other is excruciating! We can be overwhelmed and overthink each step of the way. There are problems that we are faced with that can cause us to doubt ourselves, and sometimes our faith.
Sometimes we can get off the path, and we might have to go through some difficult things to be able to return to where we are meant to be. But we can find comfort in the knowledge that the path is always there. God is always waiting to guide us to the next step of our journey.
We will not know the “end from the beginning” (Isaiah 46:10 KJV) but thankfully, we don’t need to. We only need to know how to listen for our instructions. We only need to get enough information to get us to the next marker, because the things that God has prepared for us are so much better than what we could reach without Him.
“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)
Catrina – lovetobeamom.com