do not think that all who choose wrong roads perish; but their rescue
consists in being put back on the right road. C. S. Lewis
Sears sale on coats coaxed me to once again print out a computer map
and drive in Champaign. Meticulously I followed the directions. I
must have taken a wrong turn. WHERE is that store? I watched the
traffic and crossed from one parking lot to another, and glanced up
ahead and saw a sign. It might as well have been a flashing neon
sign that greeted me on a large wall of a building – SEARS! I
laughed outloud. God is always surprising me. Why was I surprised
that the answer of my quest would be before me?
entered the store and found the advertised coat sale. After an
hour’s deliberation, I found a coat that will protect me from the
Illinois winter elements – washable – water proofed – big
pockets – a hood – and a color that is attractive. After paying
for the 2 pairs of cozy socks and the coat and headed to the car. I
wondered what other stores this mall held. I went around corners,
not realizing that I was losing my inside head-compass. After more
turning, I found an ‘out’. I continued down the street, I saw a
street name I recognized and immediately turned on it – the wrong
way. Soon I came to another recognized name – and turned – the
wrong way.
the road became a high way. Where was I? Even glancing at the car’s
$2.00 compass did not provide a direction. Finally I realized that I
was totally lost. This confession crushed my pride iof effortlessly
finding my way around Champaign. (Pride goeth before a fall!)
remembered in 1952, buying groceries in Eureka KS, for the first time
as a bride. I couldn’t remember which way to take to drive home to
our farm. Finally, I swallowed my pride, and asked a passerby which
way was north.
remembered in 1968, I explored Collinsville IL. As I drove down the
street, the Exit signs off the road beckoned to me. When I found
myself speeding toward Vandalia, I realized a turn around was in my
near future if I wanted to return to our new home.
many computer-printed maps that littered the car did not rescue me.
I felt compelled to keep driving. When I saw the exit sign to
Peoria, I realized I would not be returning home in that direction.
I saw a familiar street sign exit, and pulled off and parked to
survey the scene. At that point I called my understanding
daughter-in-law. She confirmed my direction and soon familiarity
looked like home. Relief flooded my heart. Uneasiness and despair
exited my being as if there was a sign.
long ago, Mom told me of being lost on a dirt road in Western
Oklahoma. We three small children sat wide-eyed in the back seat of
the old Ford, not knowing she was lost, as she traversed the back
roads of Oklahoma. Somehow – being Mom, she because un-lost.
Mom experience that sinking feeling? Did she feel helpless? No! We
didn’t realize at that age the independence and perseverance (Some
would say – ‘stubborness’). Later I saw this family picture of Mom
when she was a little girl – a portrait of, “git’er done!”. The little blonde girl, with her hands on her knees is ready for anything.  Mom identified closely with the children’s story she offen told us –
The Little Red Hen.” The family book Mom wrote, “The
Lines are Fallen
”, reveals the source of her independence:
seemingly inherited Mama’s fierce independence. I must have been
about nine when I trimmed my fingernails with a tiny scissors. The
left hand was done. What about the right hand? I asked Mama, ‘Could
you trim my right hand fingernails, cause I’m left-handed?’ Mama
snatched that scissors in a wisk and snipped her own fingernails as
she soundly chided, “Child, don’t ever ask others to do for you
what you can do for yourself. If you don’t know how…then learn.
Here’s your scissors!” I learned and the lesson took.
gave us life. She taught us never to lean on others when we could
stand alone. Borrowers owe interest then kindness is extended; and,
flowers shared always bloom best. Mama taught us to walk through
each storm with head high.”
knew that we would feel lost here on this earth when dark deeds and
dark thinking snuff out the light of goodness and truth. That
feeling of lostness can be spiritual as well as physical.
What can give us hope and set us on the road to home? Anna Lowoen
Suderman had no formal training of strategies and techniques, yet she
taught independence and the genesis of joy in every-day living on the
flat wheat fields of Kansas to her children God blessed her with..
taught hope, perseverance and independence and tied them up with
glorious ribbons of joy and hope. She taught her children to look
beyond the storms of life to the joy that is there. Mother captured
Grandma Suderman’s teaching in this poem: Behind The Storm.
summer storms rolled by and sun-kissed drops
God’s brilliant rainbow across a clean-washed sky.
taught us joy.
each summer storm we romped and splashed
worn-out dresses through grassed-in puddles
the meadow greens.
through our youth our ears were tuned to thunder
joys behind the storm with rainbows overhead
jeweled drops teased the sun.
that winter storms are here, we wear our worn-out garb
tear-drops turn to joy within the rainbow circle
joys behind the storm.

happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I
have not
of those you gave me.” John 18:9

now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will
only the ship will be destroyed. Acts 27:33
me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope
is in you all day long. Psalm 25:5

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