Broken roads lead us home

perspective in life can change over time

“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn, or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude in our heart and life.” 

– Author unknown.

I happened to read this quote from many years ago today as I was thinking about Thanksgiving and what it really means. My views perhaps have changed over the years and in the most recent months, I know for certain that I am now truly grateful for things I once took for granted. I, like many of you, consider myself blessed to be born in America, still the greatest land on earth, in my opinion. Not to anger any of my dear northern friends, but I was also fortunate enough to be born in the South. I was born in my Mama Cole’s farmhouse, on her big wooden kitchen table on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia. But believe me, as my shirt proudly says, “I got to Texas just as quickly as I could,” after some twists and turns in my life.

That sentence reminds me of one of Rascal Flatts’ most popular songs, “The Broken Road.” Truthfully, we probably all have a bit of a broken road in our pasts that led us to where we are now and the blessings we so enjoy. I know in talking with countless friends and readers of our work every week, I hear stories that can only be explained in the short two-word expression, “But God…” I once never would have said this out loud, much less put it into print, but I am now grateful for the broken roads in my life that brought me to where I am.

Hopefully, I’ve developed the compassion for others as expressed in Jude 22: “Some having compassion make a difference.” I remember the days of sitting, crying, trying to determine whether I pay the electric bill, the water bill, buy gas for the car, or groceries for the table. Thank God for where He has brought me.

On those broken roads, I learned to do without a lot of things that some feel are necessary to be happy. Never one for much glamour, I don’t grieve if I cannot buy a particular makeup or beauty cream. I really don’t care where my clothes come from as long as they are clean and fit well. Name brands don’t thrill me and when I find a bargain, I cannot wait to share it with my friends. Oh, the excitement of a consignment store sale, right Edna?

I have been blessed by God time and time again and find myself eternally grateful for His goodness to me. I have been reading various posts and articles about things that make people happy or things they are grateful for in their lives. I have realized again that there is a huge different in what some view as happiness and what is real joy. Joy comes from the Lord and in our right relationship with Him and with others He brings into our lives. One of my favorite foundational verses is, “… the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Another that I have claimed for years is Psalm 37:4. “Delight thyself in the law of the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” That verse is oft misunderstood and incorrectly taught in classrooms and pulpits. It does not mean that we will get everything we want. It means that the dear Holy Spirit of God will put within our hearts what to want for, if we seek His face and His will for our lives. And perhaps my favorite of all is loving, unmovable, and valuable. In Hebrews 6:19, we read, “Our hope is an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast.”