The Highway of Unfamiliar Exits, Part 4 of 4, by Angela Parllin

The Highway of Unfamiliar Exits, Part 4 of 4

So the highway of life has been full of unfamiliar exits. I've always hated to drive in places I was unfamiliar with. As long as I can stay on the freeway, I'm good. But if I have to get off, I need step-by-step, thorough directions. That's just not the way real life is though.

Exit #1--We knew for months that God was calling us out of our current church, which we had grown to love for ten years. We continued to pray and stay put for a while, just to make sure God really wanted us to leave there and have a new start at a church plant.

We were very comfortable at our old church. There was nothing wrong with it. And we were surrounded by friends there. Why would God want to remove us from our comfort zone? But we knew He did, so we headed to a place where we recognized only a handful of faces, and watched God work.

Exit #2a & 2b--We fell in love with our new house over a year ago and promptly tried to forget about it. It didn't make sense to move with three small children, when our current house was wonderful. But instead, God just kept working out details in totally unexpected ways, and we moved forward.

Our beloved home sold in just over a month in a completely saturated market, and we praised the Lord for working out yet another detail. But then we moved our family into "the holding place," a tiny townhome near the new house, where we stayed for almost four months.

I felt like my entire life was on hold during that time. It was winter, and I hate the cold. There was nowhere to send the kids to play, so I was always tripping over them and their toys. Not enough outdoor time for them. Not enough sunshine for me. No room to make guests comfortable, so we had very few. Two thirds of our belongings were packed away. It was just a place to stay and not a home, and I had grown to love homey-ness!

It reminded me of one of my favorite children's books, "Oh, The Places You'll Go" by Dr. Seuss. We were "headed, I fear, toward a most useless place. The Waiting Place..." While I love the life lessons in that book, it turns out that the waiting place--while it stinks--is not entirely useless. God can do so much heart-work when we're in the waiting place, provided we listen.

Exit #3--Lastly, we lost a good friend to Heaven. God has done more in my heart through Kristi's life and death than almost anything else, ever. I will never forget singing Because He Lives (by William & Gloria Gaither) at her Memorial service with a thousand other people and knowing the truth of those words. Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future; And life is worth the living, just because He lives. You can read more about Kristi's life here.

With all these unfamiliar exits, the only thing I've known to do was to seek God, over and over again. Seek Him in my excitement. Seek Him in my pain. Seek Him with my questions. He is so good to meet me with something I need each day--comfort, understanding, or peace.

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1: 6-9, NLT

About Angela Parlin:

Angela is a full-time Mama to three little people, Wife to hubby of 10 years, daughter, sister, friend, and follower of Jesus.

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