Thurs., Nov. 15, 2018
Acts 9:27 – Then Barnabas helped him by taking him to the apostles. He explained how Saul had seen the Lord and how the Lord had spoken to him. Barnabas also said that when Saul was in Damascus, he had spoken bravely in the name of Jesus.
Ever have something turn out oh, so different from what you expected?
Like maybe your life?
I’ve been thinking about how this is so true in my life the last few days. Would you like a glimpse in?
Good. Let me share.
I grew up on a small Wisconsin farm. I always anticipated working in agriculture, which I did. After doing this for many years, I was called into pastoral ministry, which was completely off my radar screen. Fast-forward almost 20 years, and some people still call me Pastor Dianne. For the last five years, I’ve also worked for a small agriculture firm. While these two fields may seem very different, they have more in common than meets the eye.
Growing up, my sisters and I raised sheep. My Dad always kept a few ewes (female sheep) after they moved to town. Eventually, my sister Debbie took over the sheep, as her son, Kevin, was interested in them.
Kevin is now a senior in high school. He enjoys showing his sheep at competitions, basically, a beauty pageant for sheep. Recently, Kevin showed his sheep at a national show in Louisville, KY. Only one hick-up: the sheep needed to stay a couple days after showing. Kevin needed to get back to school. The solution? Auntie Dianne drove to Louisville. Kevin, his Dad and a couple other ladies drove back so the kids could get back for school. Debbie and I stayed with the sheep and drove them back to Wisconsin.
The show is called the NAILE. I have been at this show many years ago: when I was in college, nearly 30 years ago and about 25 years ago. Yes, things looked different from what I remembered.
This is a big sheep show. Really big. Thousands of sheep from all over the United States big. Even an exhibitor from Alaska was announced as a place winner.
Kevin showed his sheep several days. On the last day he showed, everyone in our little group helped. I dusted off my sheep-showing knowledge and took a couple spins around the ring.
While there watching the show, I reflected upon how different my life has turned out. Thirty years ago, I could have never anticipated eventually being a pastor. I anticipated working in agriculture my entire life. God had a different plan.
God also had a different plan for Saul. In the New Testament, Saul openly persecuted followers of this man named Jesus until he had a life-changing event. A completely different man, he changed his name to Paul and traveled all over, proclaiming how God and Jesus turned his world upside down. This man who wanted Christians eliminated now became their biggest advocate.
Think his life turned out a different from what he expected? Did he find a different road?
God can use us and our lives in truly amazing ways … if we allow ourselves to hear God’s leadings and take them to heart. When this happens, our journeys may turn out different from what we expect. Yet, we can end up on a rather exciting, impactful and life-changing road if we do.
It happened to Saul. It happened to me.
On Tuesday night, Debbie and I drove the sheep home. After making a pit stop to drop off a sheep at a farm, it was early morning when we arrived at our house. After getting some sleep, we made sure the sheep got breakfast and exercise. We live in town. I’m thinking our neighbors no longer know what to expect at our house. The stakes and fencing in the garden became the feeding site. And yes, a little extra fertilizer was left behind!
Sometimes I daydream about how my life would have been so different had I not heeded a call into ministry. Yet, in these last 20 years. I have met, been involved with and had great opportunities to serve; ministries that have fed my soul and blessed my life.
This recent sheep show made me appreciate by background. I strongly believe agriculture is terribly important. Yet, this different road I have meandered down has taught me a lot about life and myself. This different road has allowed for a great breadth of life experience. I anticipate God putting a few unexpected different roads in my life yet. And I look forward to them!
How about you? Has God taken your life down a different road than you anticipated? How has this enriched your life?
For life opportunities made available to me by God and different life roads than I envision, I am grateful.
Holy God – sometimes we see “different roads” as annoyances rather than as blessings from you. Help us keep our lives open to being used when we are steered down new and different roads. Amen.
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