The Pilgrimage of the Soul

I remember the first time I read the book, “Hinds Feet on High Places”.  It resonated some place within me as I read of the journey of “Much Afraid”.  She had received an invitation from the Shepherd to leave her old, familiar home in the Valley of Humiliation and follow Him to the high places.  She accepted, had a seed of love planted deep in her heart and was told to be ready to go when the Shepherd called.  She was given two companions, “Sorrow and “Suffering.”  She had no idea what the road before her held.  To stay put would mean misery and death.  To leave would mean trusting another with her life. She chose to follow into the unknown with the most fragile of faith.
It wasn’t long in her pilgrimage before it appeared the path was headed straight up into the heights. The Shepherd had kept His promise, finally she would climb to that place her heart longed to be.  But just around the bend she saw something startling.  The road turned and headed down deep into the desert.  It was in the desert that her life truly began to take it’s own journey.  She learned to accept with joy the road that had been laid before her.  She began to learn what it felt like to trust.
It’s often been the same in my pilgrimage.  It never ceases to amaze me how quickly the road turns, taking me on paths I didn’t anticipate.  I’m beginning these days to understand a bit more that the journey is not the destination, the destination is the journey.  It’s not about where I am going, it’s about what is transpiring on the paths that look so very different from what I thought they would be.
Will I call good what God calls good regardless of how it looks, feels, and seems?
I’m taken back to remember the story of the release of the children of Israel from captivity. After years of slavery finally they are free.  They weren’t taken on the shorter route out of Egypt.  Instead God took them the longer way around, with the Egyptians hot on their trail, dead ending at the Red Sea. They couldn’t understand it all. Why would God release them to be pursued and captured again? 
What they didn’t know was that on the shorter route there was an enemy they were unprepared to face.  The longer route, though more difficult physically, would save their lives in the end.  They wanted the easiest, most comfortable route.  God wanted their protection and their trust.  He knew that a miracle, a revelation of His heart for them, waited off the banks of that sea.
They grumbled and complained.  They wanted to go back to Egypt.  At least they knew what to expect there.  At least they had some control over what went on in their day to day lives.    
It’s easy to want to go back to the familiar.  Trusting requires all of me, living in what I’m accustomed to, not so much.  But life is found in the winding turns that take us down paths we didn’t anticipate.  For those unsuspected places ask me once again, will I call good what God calls good no matter how it seems, looks, or feels?
I think of the hymn I learned as a child.  “Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His Word, just to rest upon His promise, just to know, thus saith the Lord.”  “Jesus, Jesus, how I trust you, how I’ve proved you over and over.” “Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus, oh for grace to trust you more.”
The road seldom looks like I think it will.  Sometimes it challenges my faith to the very core.  It’s why I’ve come to this new place to write.  Because the truth is the journey is the destination.  For in the midst of the terrains that can change on a daily basis, God is found.   
The terrain has changed here recently in my life.  A job layoff does that sort of thing.  I’m challenged once again to what I will stand in.  Will I judge God’s goodness based on who He is or what He does.  It’s the question that haunts me in the core of my soul.  
What about you?  Where is the path taking you these days?

25 thoughts on “The Pilgrimage of the Soul

  1. My path, for nearly 4 years now. has been rocky, unstable and at times the stench unbearable. The burning off of the old self will do that! But, as you my friend have stated, God is found.

    I’m sharing the book with my mom and she got it first, but I certainly can’t wait to read it now!

  2. Shalom Jewelz…

    Took the trail over here from Rebekah’s. Saw your comment. As I am new to WordPress(but NOT blogging) I’m slowly finding blogs to follow/subscribe to. A Christian counselor once used portions of Hinds Feet to help give me understanding during a time of difficulty. This post gives me pause to consider things as well. (As I am prone to having trust issues/problems in general) If you don’t mind, I’d like to subscribe to your blog too. Btw….you are the second one in as many weeks to tell me that your son’s name is Josiah:)

  3. HInds feet on High Places is my all time favorite book. When I was in the depth of despair and recovering from ‘difficult places’ I had been miss much afraid and I had been not able to go further for I was with ‘a handicap’ so I thought. Soul healing takes time ~ it is deep and it has layers. God used that book to heal me and I try to faithfully read it at least once a year. It is a love story if we spend time and take it in.

    • So, so true, Sharon. I love that this book was used to heal you. It is so profound in it’s own special allegorical way, isn’t it? I think I will always love it! Thank you for your words here!

  4. Well, I birthed you but I don’t have the gift of words that you do, so I hesitate to write. But you asked, “Where is the path taking you these days?” As you know, it’s an entirely new path. I’ve been on it 2 1/2 years but it is still very unfamiliar. It’s the path of widowhood. Learning how to become whole again when half of me is gone. If it weren’t for knowing that whatever happens God is good and I can call everything good no matter how it feels. I am so grateful for recent teaching on grace and have found that I am more ready to listen being alone than before. I love Casting Crown’s song, I’ll Praise Him in This Storm. I love you and I love your pictures you paint with words.

    • Momma, I am so proud of you. You have walked a hard, hard road. To be with Daddy for over 50 years and then to have to learn to live without him is huge. It has been a sheer joy to watch you come alive in this message of grace. You have been and will always be one of my greatest gifts. I love you, Momma!

    • Oh Darnelle,
      It is SO good to see you here. You were one of my first friends on my new blog. How special that you would come by for a visit. I’d love to catch up with you. It has been way too long, my friend. Thank you for being here… it touches me!

  5. Julie,

    The path has taken me straight to a place of “Utter Dependence” on Jesus.

    I can’t say enough how AMAZING Jesus is. I’m trying to start a JESUS REVOLUTION! I want the world to know how GOOD, MARVELOUS, and OUTSTANDING He is!

    Poverty and brokenness taught me how awesome Jesus is!

    It’s in the broken places that we find those deep, intimate places with Christ!

    Can you tell I love Jesus with all my heart?!!!

    Love you!!

  6. I have followed you on your old blog and many times your words touched my heart yet I never stopped to write to thank you. Now I find that I, too, am on a new path to a new season of life being led by Jesus. It’s scary, yet eerily calm and I anticipate His next words to guide me.

    I am so thankful for Jesus and who he is and what he’s done! Blessed be the name of the Lord!

    Blessings on you as you walk out your new path,

    • Nancy, I can’t thank you enough for your words. You have gifted me today. I have to totally agree with you, it’s scary but eerily calm… what a great description. Thank you for being here. It means a lot to me!

  7. Oh, Julie, I’m so glad you’re writing…love this new blog. My eyesight is giving me fits these days so I’ve not been online nearly as much as I usually enjoy, but I needed to read this today. My winding path has me stretched out over some sharp rocks right now. I’ve grieved, lamented, sighed, and expelled a lot of pain. As we faced job loss, it seemed like everything else went haywire too – but He is still alive in me and you….still undergirding us even when our emotions betray us. I need the encouragement that flows from your heart to paper, and I know many others do, too. Thankful you’re there….and that you’re my friend. Much love, V.

    • Vicki, What can I say to these words you write to me… Ahh… thank you my friend for seeing a gift in me. You have NO idea how much that means to me… And yes, dear friend, the job loss seemed like “the thing”… but then it seems everything starts to unravel. God is here in our midst doing things we will tell stories of… I’m certain of it, my friend.. Thank you for being here. It means so much to me!!! Love you!

  8. I understand the path of unemployment. My husband hs been unemployed over two years now. Thankfully, the Lord is providing, but it has been a long and winding road. I have learned to trust like never before, and go without, which has been hard if I can say honestly. I know I will love this new blog just as much, or more, than I loved the last one. You have a gift with words and to encourage others.

    • Oh Barbie, I am so sorry it has been such a long hard road for you. Yes, it is long and winding isn’t it? I hear ya on the “I’ve learned how to trust like never before.” What else is there, right? Thank you so much for your encouraging words. They touch me… bless you! I’m so glad you are here!

  9. i think i need this right now. we’ve lived in Mesa, AZ for 20 years, 17 of those in this house. in 54 days we move from here to Butte, Montana. i’ve known the change was coming and now here it is. it’s hard for me to let go of the house and friends and everything that’s familiar. and yet at the same time, i’m eager to go and see what awaits us.

    • Michelle, I’m so glad to see you here… thanks so much for stopping by! I wrote about what you are experiencing on my first post here… It’s HARD to leave the familiar behind and step out into a while new place. I know God is in your midst making things prepared for you. It’s during those times I remember how at creation before man ever entered the earth God went before to prepare all things for life. He was that kind of God then, He is that kind of God now. I am praying for easy transitions for you as you step out of the familiar into the wild new adventure with God. Thanks for being here! You blessed me!

  10. Jewelz, your new place is beautiful! I’m glad you are writing more again. Your words are always a balm. The story of Much Afraid always speaks to me. Yes, the road is often uncertain. Sometimes i feel like I just put one foot in front of the other in faith. Love to you, girlie!

    • Dear sweet Laura, How amazing it is to see you here. Thank you for coming by. You were one of my first friends in the blog world. I’m glad you are here! Yep, putting one foot in front of the other here for sure… Love you friend…

  11. This resonates with me:
    ” It’s not about where I am going, it’s about what is transpiring on the paths that look so very different from what I thought they would be.”

    and this:

    “Because the truth is the journey is the destination. For in the midst of the terrains that can change on a daily basis, God is found. ”

    I haven’t read the book “Hinds Feet on High Places”, but that is the second time I have seen it referred to in a week. I must read it.

    Love you and miss you my friend. xoxo

    • My friend, what a true gift to have your words here tonight. Thank you! Funny thing is that last night we were watching a movie titled “The Music Never Stopped”. One of the lines in that movie was “the journey is the destination”… I just look at David and he looked at me. Funny how that happens….

      Glad to see you here, dear friend!!


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