“Life is like a Mountain Railroad”


This song has been going through my mind the past few days.

This is the version I like:  Buddy Greene

Emily Senior2 copy

I’ve also been thinking about the story of Gideon. This part particularly:

9 Now the same night it came about that the Lord said to him, “Arise, go down against the camp, for I have given it into your hands. 10 But if you are afraid to go down, go with Purah your servant down to the camp, 11 and you will hear what they say; and afterward your hands will be strengthened that you may go down against the camp.” So he went with Purah his servant down to the outposts of the army that was in the camp. 12 Now the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the sons of the east were lying in the valley as numerous as locusts; and their camels were without number, as numerous as the sand on the seashore. 13 When Gideon came, behold, a man was relating a dream to his friend. And he said, “Behold, I had a dream; a loaf of barley bread was tumbling into the camp of Midian, and it came to the tent and struck it so that it fell, and turned it upside down so that the tent lay flat.” 14 His friend replied, “This is nothing less than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel; God has given Midian and all the camp into his hand.” 15 When Gideon heard the account of the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship.

  Have you ever just felt like falling on your face before the Lord in awe of what He is doing?

Let me try and relate what has been taking place lately in the area of Emily’s academic future.

Emily is in her senior year. She has had her sights set on attending a Christian university in Virginia, pursuing a degree in film and hopefully going on to use that in a ministry-related capacity somehow. While pursuing film, God used a government class this year as well as a biography to open up Em’s heart to the poor around her and the need to be involved in the community He has placed her in.  Well, she was accepted to the university this past fall and in January turned in her application to attend their scholarship competition in February, but was told she didn’t make the cut. (See here for the back story.)

Ok. So that door seemed to be closing. But it wasn’t shut. We would continue to pursue financial aid (even though that competition would award the largest scholarship available). We would stay hopeful and see what God would do.

Then Saturday, January 17th arrived. Emily asked if she could talk with me. Apparently God had been speaking to her heart and had somewhat flipped her heart’s direction. The bottom line was that she really didn’t think that “film” was what she was supposed to be pursuing, and that she really felt her heart leaning towards wanting to serve people in some capacity; therefore, she couldn’t find a good enough reason to continue pursuing attending a university all the way across the country and paying so much money to do so (though it would be a Grand Adventure), when she could start serving people around her right where she was.

So, the question became whether she should attend college locally. Well, her heart was really wanting to find some organizations to serve with here in Orange County and to continue working at exploring her options a bit more. She didn’t want to spend time taking general education courses until she knew the direction she should go. I can understand that. She has worked very hard these past 4 years, but she pushed herself because of her goal. She needs to find a new goal. And that may or may not mean a college degree.

Wow. This was a complete change of direction. But I could tell from talking with her that God had truly spoken to her and I was in awe. It is a wonderful thing to spend years training a child to follow the Lord and to trust Him and then to actually see that child grow into a young person who is listening for His voice and trying to walk wisely and biblically.

Emily and I spent that next week talking here and there, praying, and thinking things through. I tried to fill Earl in on what Emily was thinking as we had time. By that Thursday, she was really wanting/needing to make a final decision so she could “move on” and plan. So, Earl and Emily and I sat down that afternoon and she explained again all that was going on in her mind and heart. Earl finally got to hear Emily express her heart and he had a chance to ask questions himself. This time she sounded even more convinced and sure of this new direction than she had before. We asked some more questions, we got some different options on the table, and by the time we were done, we were all excited for this new adventure. We gave her our blessing to not pursue furthering her academic studies after graduating high school, but to spend some time figuring out how God wants to use her right here. God seems to be up to something and we are ready for it!

It was fun to see her so “free” and excited about what lies ahead (even though we’re not sure what all that will mean). She has worked so hard and diligently these past 12+ years and has rarely complained about the work load. She is really looking forward to the true academic break she will get here starting in June.

Then, as if that wasn’t exciting enough, Friday morning, January 23rd, we were all surprised when she received an email inviting her to the Scholar’s Weekend at Regent. Someone had cancelled and opened up a spot for Em! Wow . . . the timing could not have been more perfect. I looked at Em and asked, “Well, what do you think? Does this change your thinking in any way?”

She just smiled and said, “Nope. For about 30 seconds I thought ‘maybe’, but then as I ran back through my reasons, they all still stood firm. The changing circumstance has not changed what I feel the Lord is wanting me to do.”

Yeah, I’m wrestling a bit about the “no college” thing. It’s just part of me and my own growing up. But to be honest, I seriously can’t argue against any of Em’s reasons and I am beyond excited to see the Lord leading this daughter of mine over whom I’ve prayed all these years. How kind, how very kind, of Him to make the decision-making process all the more easier by taking out of the equation the Scholar’s Weekend, only to put it back in the very day after she made her decision. Like Gideon, I too want to fall down in awe and worship Him. It is a thrilling place to be as a parent (ok, and a bit “scary” too) to have the privilege of watching your daughter begin to stand on her own faith and to find the Lord faithful . .. just like you have. Amazing. Amazing grace!

You are doing well, Emily, and your dad and I are so very proud of you and excited to see all of the wonderful places the Lord will lead you.  Red heart


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