God Is Our Navigator

I looked out the window and it was impossible to know where I was except in the air. Clouds surrounded the plane taking me from Fort Worth to Atlanta. Up, down, in front of me, and behind – clouds.

I wasn’t worried. The pilot knew where we were in relation to other planes and to the ground. I could just sit back and enjoy the journey confident we’d arrive in Atlanta and nowhere else.

I want to rest like this in my relationship with God.

God isn’t just my pilot. He’s my navigator, chief mechanic, and flight attendant. He meets my needs, knows what’s wrong and can fix it, plots the best journey for me, and gets me there. He always has. Looking back reminds me of His goodness.

This flight was non-stop. Direct flights like this are my preference. Life doesn’t work like that. There are very few direct flights. Before founding Celebrate Kids, Inc., I taught second graders, coached basketball and volleyball, earned a Ph.D., volunteered as a school board member, and was a professor. Every one of these experiences is valuable to me. Every one! Together they form a foundation for Celebrate Kids and all that I do now.

Today is Related to Tomorrow

But there’s more. Looking back further allows me to see how much of my childhood mattered to the purposes God designed me to fulfill and people’s needs He has asked me to help meet.

When I was about 10-years-old, my parents enrolled me in children’s theater. I joke that maybe it was so I would talk somewhere else. Yes, I was a Chatty Kathy, and I’m grateful I wasn’t told to be quiet all the time. I don’t believe I’d be a speaker and author today if my parents would have raised me that way. In theater I learned to use my voice well and body language and gestures, too.

My mom took my brother and me to the library all the time. I won the summer reading award for reading more books than other kids my age. I still own, Little Men, the book I chose as a reward. I keep it on a shelf in my bedroom. Reading was enjoyable and probably motivated me to become a teacher more than I realized at the time.

Also, as you might know from hearing me use him as an example, my grandfather was the mayor of our city when I was about 10-18 years old. My brother, Dave, and cousin, Terry, produced a little newspaper called The Cousins Gazette. Guess who was one of their reporters on election night? Yours truly! On election nights, I left the newspaper office (a bedroom on the upper level of our grandparents’ home) and headed to the first floor and the basement. I asked men and women the questions Dave and Terry gave me. I remember my pad of paper and pencil well. I felt so mature! After I interviewed enough people, I returned to the office, turned in my notes, and Dave or Terry wrote the article using quotes I received.

God used these experiences to birth within me a love of using words powerfully for good. Interviewing and writing for Dave and Terry was fun. Listening to my grandfather use words well and influentially on election nights and through his two terms taught me a lot. His picture, while giving a speech, hangs above my desk. He’s one of my heroes.

When I told my parents I didn’t like being tall and clumsy, they enrolled me in dance lessons. God used these, too, as part of my firm foundation. I took lessons for years and enjoyed teaching dance, too. I became comfortable in my own skin and became coordinated. Now I’m okay standing before thousands of people.

I also babysat for hours and hours, began teaching Sunday school when I was a junior in high school, and taught many children’s messages in Sunday services for years. My love for children and teaching has always been a part of my life.

God’s navigation of your children’s lives has begun. It won’t begin someday. He is already at work. Today is related to tomorrow. Listen and watch. Be active as my parents were. Decisions you make today change their decisions. All these decisions together are related to everything about their futures.

Life is not a direct flight. That’s a good thing.