God of My Steps and Missteps

(entering the cave before descending to Mooney Falls, Havasu Canyon)

“Who would have thought,” I mused, “that parking at the wrong end of the mall would turn out to be so much fun?” What a morning of mistakes and missteps! They started when I read the wrong appointment card for my hand surgeon and missed a day of work, cutting our dogs’ walk short by 20 minutes so I could fly out the door, leap into the car, and speed to what I thought was a 9:00 am appointment. The puzzled look in the receptionist’s eyes morphed into a bemused grin of “Oh, this poor confused old lady” as she sadly informed me that my appointment wasn’t until four that afternoon. Wrinkles from too many hiking trips move younger people to see senility instead of a love for the outdoors in my appearance!

“Oh, crumb!” I chided myself. “I must have read the ‘4’ I wrote as a ‘9’!” Quickly shrugging off the $72 I had just lost in missed pay, I opted to make the best of the situation and save gas by popping over to the quick-fix jeweler in the nearby mall to get two bent prongs on my engagement ring repaired.

June in Arizona marks the beginning of the season when one is willing to walk from the farthest spot in the parking lot as long as it’s under a tree or even a healthy bush offering a spotty patch of shade, so I rejoiced in finding a parking space not only close to a mall entrance, but also beneath a leafy canopy of shade. Imagine my consternation to discover that the store whose entrance I parked near didn’t open for another hour! Grumbling at misstep number 2, I tramped back to my car and drove around to the northeast side of the mall, where surely the generic mall entrance MUST be open at 9:00 a.m. And true enough, it was.

Misjudgment number 3: the jewelry repair shop was in the northwest corner of the mall, so I had to walk the entire length of the mall!

“I needed the exercise anyway,” I philosophized, still leaning into optimism – or at least leaning away from mounting frustration. That meant I had to hike the length of the mall again at 10:00 when my ring was fixed, running the gauntlet of the now-open kiosks that flanked the food court.

“Have you heard of Dead Sea Minerals?” a young man called as I attempted to zip by.

“Yes- are you Ahava?” I shot back breezily, hoping to brush him off.

“No, we aren’t . . . ,” he replied.

“Oh, what the heck?” I thought, “I might as well get the nails on one hand buffed.” That’s fully what, and all, I expected to happen. Twenty minutes later, though, I wonderingly waved good-bye to Avi and Elan after chatting with them a bit, sharing what I recently learned of the meaning of the Hebrew letters Yud, Heh, Vav, Heh (the hand of grace nailed in grace), Isaiah 53:5 “But he was pierced for our transgressions . . . ,” and praying for the success of their little stand and for peace in Israel.

Elan was genuinely touched that I would pray for them. Yes, I walked away with a nail care kit, too, but I walked away with an awed joy that Jesus continues to use me, even in my brokenness, to touch other people’s lives with his love. After the person you’ve trusted the most tells you that you are worthless, hearing from Jesus that you are precious enough for him to speak through absolutely rains down worth, dignity, value and a joy that sets your heart dancing!

Oh, those blessed missteps that led me to a God encounter! Abba, can I dare to believe that even this trek through a valley of shadows deeper than death is, in fact, a pilgrimage under light I simply can’t see – a journey to a victory more beautiful than I can imagine?

Some days – days of mistakes and missteps – my heart dares to trust this is, in fact, the truth I can hang my heart on!

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