The dry, orange and brown leaves are crunching underfoot as my feet move swiftly in the silence. The sky is grey and geese flock to the pond. I feel the tension in my lungs as I breathe laboriously. I keep moving and never stop. Walking, then running, walking, then running. My eyes are focused on the breath-taking beauty all around me. Deciduous trees in bright yellows, fiery reds, and radiant oranges. It is quiet and I meet with God here. I run.

The Autumn here is beautiful and it feels familiar. It is getting cool here  which is perfectly pleasant to this foreigner now living in the mid-west. It is Autumn. We have been here for 4 and a half months. And now in this season of falling leaves, cooler weather and the smells of moist leaves in the forest along the Meramec River, it reminds me of home.

We were on the path to moving to the mid-west over a year and a half ago. Then we made an abrupt turn around and decided to head west again to the coast. But just when you think you know what God’s plans are, He often makes things very clear that He truly is in control. And despite our best efforts to plan and prepare, we are truly not in control. He moves us where He wills and He uses ordinary means to accomplish His purposes. Though we miss home, family, and friends, God has blessed us here in the mid-west and it has been quite the adventure. We’ve been refreshed in so many wonderful ways and God’s hand of providence has given us a home sweet home here in the community where we live.

We were on a path and then we were rerouted. Did God change His mind? No. Did God mislead us? No. Sometimes the journey takes twists and turns that we didn’t quite expect. Sometimes there’s a fork in the road and you have to do your best to determine which route to take. And sometimes you may loop around and end up back at the fork in the road and realize the loop wasn’t there to trick you or to mislead you. Perhaps it was there to confirm the path you needed to take. Perhaps the loop was there to show you more beauty and to make you truly appreciate the path you are supposed to take.

So we run, heart pounding, eyes embracing the beauty all around us, and feet moving swiftly one foot in front of the other to complete the race marked out for us. Perhaps being rerouted was all part of the plan after all. Of this, I am certain.

I run.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

(Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV)