God's Roadmap

Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground (Psalm 143:10 NASB).


Sunday, September 22, 2019

Thank You, God, for Marvelous Migrations


by Julie Lavender

This week's post is by multi-published and award-winning author, Julie Lavender. I met Julie through the writing conferences we have both attended. I'm sure you will enjoy reading the message God has put on her heart through nature.

An autumn walk with God in the south is often graced with the fluttering of butterfly wings. God’s creativity is evident in so many of His masterpieces, but I often feel like He ‘outdid’ Himself when it comes to butterflies.

Thank you, God, for Marvelous Migrations
I spotted a monarch butterfly on my walk today. Black and orange with white spots along the tips of its wings, the monarch flies farther than any insect during its short life on Earth.

The beautiful and elegant Monarch butterflies migrate almost three thousand miles every year – from the forests of Mexico to parts of the United States, all the way to Canada.

I can’t imagine the hazards the monarchs face on that kind of a journey. The in-flight “potholes,” like unusually strong winds, thunderstorms, fast-moving vehicles along the path, sudden and unplanned temperature changes, lack of food sources along the way.

Fortunately, God gave the monarch an internal “compass,” instinct if you will, to lead and guide the monarch butterflies to make these long treks. With his creative genius, God directed their flights, long before each one hatched.

Interestingly, monarchs that live east of the Rocky Mountains move from
Canada and the United States to Mexico, and monarchs that live west of the Rocky Mountains migrate up and down the Pacific coast from the US to Canada and back.

Whew – that’s a lot of frequent flyer miles those guys are racking up, huh?

I was born in the small town of Statesboro, Georgia, and though I always dreamed of traveling when I grew up and saved some money, I never really wanted to migrate away from my hometown. I was comfortable there and my family that consisted of three siblings had all settled in nearby counties.

And, when I started dating my high school sweetheart a bit more seriously during college, I thought my zip code was settled, because he, too, was from my hometown.  

Well, God (and my husband’s degree stamped on his diploma) had other plans, and David made a deal with Uncle Sam for one three-year tour in the Navy when we both finished our Masters Degrees. At first, I wasn’t happy about it and stomped my feet a little …. well, a LOT.

Long story, short….one three-year-tour became a twenty-year migration across the United States, courtesy of a career in the Navy.

But you know what? I only pouted and stamped my feet for a short time, because it wasn’t long before I fell in love with God’s beautiful creations in other places besides my hometown.

My military-wife migration sent me from Jacksonville, Florida to Camp LeJeune, North Carolina and then back to Jacksonville again. Next stop for the Lavenders became Stafford, Virginia. Those migrations kept us on the east coast, but our next flight sent us all the way to Oceanside, California. From there we fluttered up the coast to Poulsbo, Washington. Our last tour took us diagonally back to Jacksonville, Florida – we’d come full-circle in our flight, landing back where the career began.

When David completed his Navy career, our family settled back in our hometown, surrounded by our four kids’ grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Our family had a marvelous migration – I loved seeing God’s big beautiful world.

Every year, about this time, when I watch monarch’s flitting about, I’m reminded that I may often plan my course, but it’s God that leads my steps…or flight! And I’m so thankful He’s in charge and not me!

What about you? Did you have a plan for your ‘migration’ after college that went a different direction? Did that happen even later in your life or career?

Tell me about some of your migration adventures. My favorite landing place was Washington state during our adventures. Where was your favorite zip code?

Join the conversation and share your thoughts.

TWEETABLES

Julie Lavender reluctantly took off the homeschooling hat she’d worn for over twenty-five years when her youngest of four started college three years ago. Julie and husband David, married for thirty-six years, have two sons, two daughters, one son-in-love, and one precious grandson.


Julie has a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education and taught public school before becoming a stay-at-home mom and homeschooling mommy. Julie and her husband, a former entomologist for the United States Navy and a current wildlife biologist at an army base, traveled about the country with their four children as Uncle Sam directed for twenty years before returning to their hometown of Statesboro, Georgia.

Living in six states and moving twelve times, the Lavenders have certainly rounded many curves, encountered some potholes, climbed a lot of hills, and navigated a few valleys, but through it all, God was faithful and true and ever-present.

Julie Lavender won a Guideposts Writing Contest, joining eleven other winners in Rye New York to study under top, New York-based Guideposts editors. Since winning that contest, Julie has been chosen for five Guideposts Refresher workshops. Additionally, Julie writes for her local newspaper, The Statesboro Herald, authored 365 Days of Celebration and Praise and Creative Sleepovers for Kids, and contributed to Chicken Soup for the Soul compilations.

Julies’ byline is found in magazines like Refresh, Clubhouse, Today’s Christian Woman, Southern Writers, BookFun, Focus on the Family, Mature Living, Country Woman, ParentLife, The Upper Room, and Taste of Home.

Julie is excited that a co-authored Christmas devotional with Michelle Cox comes out in time for Christmas this year, and a parenting book, 365 Ways to Love Your Child, with Revell Publishers, releases in the fall of 2020.

Connect with Julie on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and follow her blog at julielavender.blogspot.com to catch a glimpse of what she learns from God’s amazing and fascinating creations. 

20 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Thank you, Barbara, for the opportunity to share my migration story on your lovely site. I always enjoy reading your inspiring posts that help me navigate life's curves!

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    1. I appreciate you so much, Julie, in sharing your wonderful experiences with nature. I think our readers will enjoy reading your post here and on your site!

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  3. I grew up in Dayton, OH near an Air Force base. I always thought I would end up marrying someone in the military and travelling around. But, it was not God's plan. I have never been out of Ohio...Thanks for your story!

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    1. Isn't it funny how God does that? And, since you know from our chats at writers conferences, a "migration" of sorts like the military gave me was the furthest thing from my mind! But God .... and He taught me to trust Him, since I had no one to lean on (except hubby) during that time!! Love ya, friend!

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  4. Julie,
    I loved learning more about butterflies, the Lord, and about YOU.
    As a kid, we moved over twenty times. My dad was in the military before they had me and got out but still enjoyed moving around. It was tough once I entered high school, but now I see how the Lord used those times to shape my faith and my writing.
    Thanks for sharing, Barbara.

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    1. Wow, I didn't know you had a prior-military family, Beckie! My husband finished his twenty years when my oldest was mid-eighth grade. The next-to-last move (the last move was back to our hometown with grandparents, so that one was fine) was very difficult on my two older children, so I know exactly what you mean. I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much if we'd pulled ours out several times during the high school years. It's great, however, that you recognize that the Lord used it to shape and mold you, and ultimately bless your writing! Thanks for commenting!

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  5. What a beautiful way to share your story. Thank you for the service you and your husband offered our nation as he served. I'm not a person that loves change, so this is a great reminder that God gives us beautiful migration opportunities... and He knows exactly where we're going. Even when I stomp my feet a little.

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    1. Joshua, I also love Julie's story. I appreciate all our military men and women. God does gives us special gifts with the migrations He includes in our lives. Thanks for stopping by. Blessings!

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    2. Thank you, Joshua, for your sweet words. I don't like change most of the time, either, and I'm glad forgives me for stomping my feet. One of these days, I'm going to learn that HE knows better than me .... you think? Why in the world would I ever doubt that!!

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  6. I thought so much about this topic of how God takes us different directions in life. In our early married life, we moved eight times in nine years!! That was quite a migration for sure.
    I just love butterflies! I was on the Rhode Island coast for a few days this week and it is a stopping place for Monarch Butterflies on their way to Mexico. Such a lovely sight to see them on the beach and stopping in flower gardens along the roads.

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    1. Thanks, Jeanne, for stopping by. I have migrated a few times myself. God is always faithful to bless us no matter where we are. I have gained some great experiences from those moves even though they were not fun at the time. Blessings!

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    2. Jeanne, my husband did his six weeks of training in Rhode Island before he actually started work in the Navy, so I got to visit him twice there and it is so pretty there! I bet the monarchs on the beach are beautiful!!

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  7. Thanks for your post, Julie and Barbara! I lived in Memphis for twenty years, and then I was ready for a new adventure. But I think I'm still a Tennessee girl at heart. Georgia is gorgeous though. And not flat. :)

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    1. We are glad you are in Georgia,too! Thanks for sharing,Katy. Blessings!

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  8. I agree with Barbara! We are glad the Kauffmans are in Georgia! But, I do wish my south-Georgia had hills and mountains like north-Georgia!! God blesses each location with special beauty, I believe, and that's part of what makes traveling so much fun to see those beautiful attributes of each place! Thanks for commenting!

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  9. I think you hit the nail on the head with this one Julie, God moves us in the right time according to His plans, not our dreams.

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    1. God does lead us according to His plans. Thank you for sharing. Blessings!

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  10. Beautiful post! Vivid descriptions and I followed each one. I lived in the same town (and same house)growing up. After grad school I married and we flew to the Virgin Islands and lived there two years- then back to the states-four different ones. For the girl who never left her hometown my Dad told me I needed to set down roots. But I think we have lots of branches- unique memories and friendships in so many places.

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    1. I have lived in seven states, Marilyn. I had roots in Arkansas until I married my husband and then we were on the road. I think we are settled down now. Thanks for sharing, and yes, Julie's post was full of beautiful descriptions. Blessings!

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