Don’t Turn Back

“While dreams and pictures of what your passionate heart longs for flood your mind and excite your soul, the weight of life is on your shoulders like a ton of bricks”.

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Have you ever felt this way? There are things that you love to do, places you want to go, careers and ministries that you want to pursue…yet you have come to a place where the weight of life seems to continuously get in the way, and you wonder if you should just let your passions die. We may even admit that the desire to “run away from it all” creeps in from time to time. Our stray thoughts begin to whisper “it was better back there“.


There always seems to be a restlessness when we are caught between what is and what is to come. We arrive at these places in life where obstacles seem to stand in the way of getting from point A to point B. Our restless spirit searches for an alternate route, one that is easier, one that is quicker, one with less resistance.

Nicki by a bigger than life tree

Let me tell you about this tree:

During the week of July 4th (this year) my husband and I took a little adventure to Southern Illinois. Stop, I know what your first question is, “what is in Southern Illinois?” We needed to take our daughter to Nashville for a week-long camp and Tim and I needed a place to play (sorry stay:).  As I scanned the map for something outside of this city, a large green blob appeared within my search radius; it was the Shawnee National Forest. I am telling you this place is beautiful and full of history.

The day I met this tree it was at least 98 degrees outside and 100% humidity (actually the area was under a heat advisory). I laid out our hiking plan the night before and was determined that we would move forward with our plans, despite the heat. After completing the first long and strenuous hike we arrived at our second destination. This trail did not actually look too bad, as matter of fact I thought it might end up being a “stroll”, compared to the previous one. What we did not realize was that a large wind storm has recently knocked over several trees. This particular tree was completely blocking our path and we needed to decide if we had enough strength to move forward or give up and turn back. I took a picture by the bottom of this tree so that I could remember how huge the obstacle was and what the Holy Spirit whispered to me, as I stood there.

When the obstacle is bigger than life:

Standing there, on the other side of this giant, the Holy Spirit whispered this: “I lead my children through obstacles that seem bigger than life.” I personally knew this to be unapologetically true. The last few years have taught me to expect obstacles on the journey.

Did you hear that? EXPECT THEM!

False expectations of what the road ahead will look like cause us to be shocked by a “roadblock”; these are the times that we consider turning back. This is because our eyes leave the plan and turn to the problem. BUT, if we keep our eyes fixed on the plan, the problem will become our friend. Does that sound crazy?

It may sound a little crazy, but here is what I mean:

I have learned the obstacles that block us from our planned destination have one purpose. They make us stronger, more determined, more resilient, more persistent. Without the “bigger than life” obstacles we would never experience the thrill of overcoming.

Today I pray that you are an overcomer!


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