My friend and author Lucinda McDowell has recently published her new book, Dwelling Places: Words to Live in Every Season. I am blessed that she has allowed me to share an exclusive excerpt from the book as part of our #BeBoldGirl series. Enjoy!
I was blindfolded every day for three months.
This was part of my training in becoming an orientation and mobility specialist for visually impaired people. In order to teach the blind, I first had to experience what they experience.
One day I was tapping my white cane in front of me and horn honked nearby startling me. Then a dog barked and I wondered if it was restrained. Such anxiety is common among people who cannot see. My cane “told” me the sidewalk had become uneven as I precariously made my way toward my destination, the Hot Shot Café.
My trainer, Bette, had warned me of construction on this route but assured me the cane would “warn” me in time to avert potholes and newly dug ditches. “Just take it one step at a time,” she instructed. “Your cane technique will give you the view of a step ahead. The rest will be made clear as you progress.”
But I wanted to know now where the obstacles were. Long before I encountered them, not just as I needed to alter my path. Similarly, I wanted to know the whole plan of my life while I was in my twenties – where to live and work, what graduate school degree to pursue, who to marry, and whether or not cowboy boots were a good investment.
Are you looking for a little guidance?
If so, you may have to be willing to “see” only one step at a time, rather than the whole
picture. Eventually, God did indeed guide me to graduate school (in cowboy boots) up in New England.
Upon arrival, my faculty advisor gave me this verse as a promise for my time there.
I will make the blind walk a road they don’t know, and I will guide them in paths they don’t know. But I will make darkness before them into light and rough places into level ground. These things I will do; I won’t abandon them.” (Isaiah 42:16, CEB)
The Hebrew word most often used in the Old Testament for guide is nahal. Though the Bible warns of snares, traps and treacherous paths, it consistently portrays God as One who will counsel and safely guide all those who belong to Him.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to plan ahead. God requires that we do our part (pray, make plans based on what we know so far, and then trust Him for further guidance) and He will do His part (show us the way to go). If we take time to be quiet and listen, we may just hear His voice, as the Israelites counted on during their long journey of trust.
“If you stray to the right or the left, you will hear a word that comes from behind you: ’This is the way; walk in it.’” (Isaiah 30.21, CEB)
Do the next thing.
When you can’t see your way, know that you can dwell in God’s presence and He will guide your path.
“Wherever He may guide me, no want shall turn me back. My Shepherd is beside me, and nothing can I lack. His wisdom ever waking, His sight is never dim. He knows the way He’s taking, and I will walk with Him.” (hymn “In Heavenly Love Abiding,” Anna L. Waring, 1850)
One step at a time.
©2016 Excerpted from “Dwelling Places” by Lucinda Secrest McDowell (Abingdon Press, 2016)
Lucinda’s publisher has graciously given us a copy of her new book, Dwelling Places: Words to Live in Every Season, to give away. Just comment on this post by Sunday, July 24 to be entered to win!
Lucinda Secrest McDowell is passionate about embracing life — both through deep soul care from drawing closer to God, as well as living courageously in order to touch a needy world. A storyteller who engages both heart and mind, she offers “Encouraging Words” to all on the journey. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, Cindy is the author of twelve books, including Dwelling Places, Live These Words, Refresh!, Amazed by Grace, Quilts from Heaven and Role of a Lifetime. Whether co-directing the “New England Christian Writers Retreat,” mentoring young moms, or leading a restorative day of prayer, she is energized by investing in people of all ages. Cindy’s favorites include tea parties, good books, laughing friends, ancient prayers, country music, cozy quilts, musical theatre, and especially her family scattered around the world doing amazing things. She writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and blogs weekly at EncouragingWords.net
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Linking up with Holly Barrett at #TestimonyTuesday and Holley Gerth at #CoffeeForYourHeart
This sounds like such a wonderful book. It can be so hard to take one step at a time. Only as we trust Him and let Him lead us are we then able to be content with each step of the way. Blessings!
You are so right, Joanne, we must remember that life is a marathon, not a sprint. So, let’s enjoy each step of the way… Summer Blessings to you!
God always knows what He is doing if only we can listen. I like the cowboy boot reference since I just threw a cowgirl party online for a friend yesterday. It doesn’t matter about our shoes, as long as our feet carry the gospel of peace.
How fun, Rebecca, that you threw a cowgirl party yesteday! If I had been invited I definitely would have shown up in my cowboy boots! (yes, I know it was online). But you are definitely right, God always knows what He is doing and will reveal His way in His time. Summer Blessings!
Such a beautiful book by Lucinda…I have given two as gifts and the recipients have been so grateful.
Dee Dee, you honor me by giving my book away. Isn’t it grand to be able to share with others “words from the Word”? Btw, the DWELL necklace you won is winging its way to you (by snail mail). Summer Blessings!
Lucinda has such a way with words and encouragement. I have already given away copies and even left one in Scotland for my niece to read. If i win another i know who I will give it to.
Hello Marilyn – looked like you had fun at Summit in San Antonio! Thank you for being a great encourager and for liking “Dwelling Places” enough to give it to friends. I think everyone is in need of an encouraging word, don’t you? Summer Blessings!
Oh I just loved this post! I’m a planner by nature and like to avoid risks (impossible, I know!) but I’m learning this season that God wants me to trust him for each day — take him at his word and get up and do it all over again tomorrow. I love this excerpt from the book — it sounds amazing!
Valerie, it is an amazing book. So many of the devotions have spoken to my heart. God’s Word really shines through Lucinda’s words.
Hey Valerie, guess what I’m a plan-ahead gal too (very high “J” on the Myers-Briggs) so all this waiting on God is a great exercise in trust and obedience, isn’t it? Yet I have never found Him lacking. In any way. So hold on to that, girlfriend, and keep doing the next thing. Summer Blessings!
Thanks for sharing about Lucinda’s book. I’ve always loved that Isaiah verse about the blind being led by God along unfamiliar paths. We never think about how scary an unfamiliar path can literally be to a blind person. Love those two steps at the end: Do the next thing, and one step at a time.
Betsy, I love how Lucinda helps us “see” what it’s like to be blind.
Betsy, I’m so glad you liked my lesson from my twenties when I was a teacher for the blind. It certainly helped me get in perspective our need for ONLY the next step. Frankly I’d still love to have everything all mapped out, even now, but I suspect not knowing is a severe mercy from God. Summer Blessings!
This sounds like a wonderful book. Thank you for the chance 🙂
Sue, thanks for reading about the book. I don’t know anything about who will win, but if you do, enjoy the words from the Word. Summer Blessings!
Just what I needed this morning. I like to know what plan B is. God is teaching me to listen more intentionally just for today…He is in control…I need to trust more. Thanks for sharing..God bless.
Bonnie, I am the very same way. Waiting on so much, it seems. I would love to know Plan b-z! But our time of waiting and trusting can build maturity in us. If so, I’m very, very old…. Summer Blessings!