Trust When You Can't See What's Ahead

The air was so thick from the firecrackers and smoke bombs my nephew was lighting to celebrate the Fourth of July that I had to go inside. My hair had the distinct whiff of charred hot dogs. 

And I’m a little particular about my hair. 

I thought maybe my hair could keep its fresh fruity scent if I just stayed inside when the big smoke bombs went off. I told my niece to keep me updated on the smoke situation. She’d open the door and shout the all-clear when the smoke had blown away.

But she kept calling me to come back out since she didn’t want me to miss the festivities. I knew it was impossible for my clothes and hair not to smell like a fireworks factory so I might as well just stay outside and {try to} enjoy it.

With all the smoke and noise and sparkly lights, there was no doubt it was the Fourth of July.

I sometimes wish that’s how I could hear from God. Lots of smoke and a great big bang would be nice. So I’d have no doubt that it’s him. 

I wish he’d let me in on all of his plans for me. I want specifics, details and instructions. I long for grandly painted arrows on the lane of my life, pointing the way. Just so there's no mistake.

But that’s not how God works. He unrolls just enough of the roadmap for what I need to know to round the next corner of my life. 

But I’m a girl who likes to make sure my bags are packed with everything I know I’ll need to make my trip comfortable. Along with a few other things {extra shoes, for sure} that I think might come in handy. 

Going against my inborn planner-personality, I think God is showing me that I can't anticipate what's down every pathway. I can't prepare for the detours. And I can't possibly predict what's up ahead.

But one step at a time {in my high heels, of course}, God is gently beckoning me to come on board for the trip of a lifetime. 

That’s how he invites me to trust that he knows what he’s doing. 

For a live-on-the-edge kind of faith life. An awe-inspired front row seat to experience God's wonders. A hopeful expectancy of seeing his work all around me. But even when I catch sight of his plans, the questions remain.

I wonder if I could have taken a shorter, faster route instead of this way that’s filled with roundabouts and uncertainty. 

I wonder if the not-knowing is what fashions hope, adorned in its lovely promises and beautiful dreams.

I wonder if my life looks a little different than I imagined it would because it’s God’s wonderfully unique invitation to know him. 

But if I hadn’t traveled this sometimes arduous, sometimes adventurous avenue, I wonder if I would have missed all the wonder.

The wonder of seeing God change me from the inside out. 

The wonder of seeing answers to heartfelt prayers, knowing that only God could be involved.

The wonder of seeing God’s fingerprints on the miniscule details and the monumental decisions of my life. 

When I think the clock of my life is moving so slowly through the days, yet ticking off the years so quickly, God is not fazed by my protests. 

It’s not too late. He’s not in a hurry. 

He asks me to trust his timing. 

To wait patiently for his ways that aren’t anything like the way I would do things. They're beyond what I could imagine.

And that’s when I see it. 

A glimmer. Up ahead. 

The clouds break. The lights are shining in the distance. 

I see them sparkling. I hear God whispering.

I see you. I hear you. I’m working out my purposes for your life because I know exactly what you need. My timetable is perfect for you.

This is my life's purpose. To know God better, richer, deeper. I could live every day learning something new about his character and never reach the end of all there is to experience about him. 

This truth holds all the answers to my questions. 

This is the why. The because. The how

And these wonders that he’s doing in my life speak louder than any firecracker.

The smoke finally clears. The neighbor's house across the street comes back into view.

My niece and nephew’s Fourth of July street-side exhibition has fizzled out. 

The snaps, snakes and sparklers are all smoldering now. The last rocket and candle have been fired off. 

All of us gathered on the front porch clap and cheer for the spectacular show that lit up the night sky. The holiday is over.

And I head home to wash my hair.

I'm linked up with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart. I'm also linked up with Sarah Ann at Faith Along the Way. Join me!


  1. Don't we all think we want to see around the corner. :) Great post, Valerie. I'm also a planner, hair, extra shoe gal. And timing - oh! Waiting on God and just letting Him direct when and how - that is trust. Amen.

    1. Ginger,
      Thank you for your kind words! Nice to meet another kindred shoe-gal! :)

  2. Sometimes the first instinct is to resist, but once you think about it you always enjoy these new experiences. :)

    1. Brittany,
      Who knows this about me better than you do, my friend?! So grateful for you!

  3. Hi Valerie,

    I found you through Holley Gerth's Coffee for Your Heart and I am so glad I did. This is exactly the phase of life that I am in and this spoke to me in a mighty way. Thank you for the reminder that God's plans are grander and more lovely than what I could ever wish for myself. I love how you stated about God changing us from the inside out. That's exactly what He is doing in my life with my special needs daughter and I need to trust His plan and timing! Thanks for the encouragement when I needed it most! I am your latest follower!

    1. Sarah,
      So happy to meet you! Change is hard, isn't it? But watching God at work is simply amazing. So glad you were encouraged!

  4. Goodness Valerie- once again you spoke right to my heart! Thank you again for these words. I have been struggling with a few things lately and this reminded me that I need to just trust.

    1. Tami,
      I'm so glad! Trusting is hard for me -- I remind myself almost every hour that my eyes are on God!

  5. "I hear God whispering." Ain't that the truth! Can't wait to hear where God leads you!

  6. Beautiful insight. I always enjoy reading about the world through your point of view, helping me look into my world too. :)

    1. Bree,
      I miss you so! Your encouragement and humor are sadly missing from the cubicle across the way!

  7. Good one Valerie!
    Saw you on Holley's link up.
    It truly is in the winding roads and mis-adventures that we see God working and remain close to Him to find our way! :) Jenn

    1. Hi Jenn,
      Love hearing from you as always and love your encouraging words!

  8. Hi Valerie,
    I came across your blog on Holley's site as well, and I'm so glad I did! Your words really resonate with me as I am in a desperate spot of needing the Lord to show me the next step. I know He you, I would love to have a blueprint of WHEN it will happen :) Thanks for an encouraging reminder this morning. He makes everything beautiful in His time.

    P.S. I love all of your beautiful Paris photos! <3

    1. Ashley, Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing these encouraging words! Trusting is not easy and I think that's why God challenges me with those tight spots in my life where I can't do anything but trust him. So grateful for your kind words!

  9. Clearly we are sisters from different mothers. :) I wrote the other day that I am a "planner." I like to know what's ahead. But, I think another definition of a "planner" is "organized worrier." It's probably easier just to trust Him with what's around the corner, because, I assure you, you certainly can't plan for it.

    1. Nancy,
      I like how you define planner! I think trusting God is the better course of action than worrying. Thank you for stopping by!

  10. I'm learning to let Him pack the bags - cause He has the itinerary:) I've also learned to find Him in the smoke I try to avoid:) It sounds like He has packed beautiful grace into your bags for this journey!

    1. Thank you for your encouraging words! "Packed beautiful grace" -- love that thought of taking that on my journey!

  11. Love, just LOVE the way you wrote this! It's so true how we expect and desire the big fireworks from God to show us the way. And you are so right in that it takes the very most surrender we have until the clouds break and we can see what's next. Thanks for this! Visiting from Considering Grace (through Saturday Soiree)! Blessings!

    1. Thank you so much Michelle, for your encouraging words! Grateful you stopped by!

  12. I am so glad you linked this beautiful post to the Saturday Soiree Blog Party! I hope you will continue to make linking with us a weekly tradition. You are a talented author and I know my readers will be blessed! Enjoy your weekend!

    1. Sarah Ann,
      Enjoyed linking up at your beautiful site this weekend!

  13. This post couldn't be more appropriate for me right now. I will keep this tab open on my computer for a while so that I can read it daily. I am in a season of needing direction and guidance in certain areas - a GIANT RED ARROW leading the way would be so wonderful, but that isn't always how God communicates with us. Thank you for your amazing perspective. Oh - and I am SO with you on the fireworks and smoky hair. I do the same thing. I stay inside and only come out for small spurts and watch from a distance!! -Shawna

    1. Shawna,
      Your sweet words are so encouraging to my heart! You also know firsthand the smoke of fireworks in our very boisterous neighborhood -- a girl has to shield her hair! :)


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