When You Run Out of Road

We, as humans, like to believe we have some sense of control. You study a lot and you get into college. You work hard and you get a good job. And so it goes. Each step, we are building a road of sorts and life just keeps handing us brick after brick. And when things are going well, it is easy to start to believe the road is endless.

Until, one moment, you run out of road.

This moment can look different for each of us. You lose your job. You get a diagnosis. Your child rebels. In essence, life has shown all of its cards and you have absolutely no idea what is next. The road just stops and past that last row of bricks, it is completely dark. You find yourself grabbing for more bricks, but you have simply run out. No one on this planet can positively tell you what is next. It might as well be a cliff with a drop without a bottom in sight. You are disoriented, fearful, and angry. And sometimes all you can do in response is curl up and lay on that last row of bricks and cry.

I ran out of road twice in my twenties. I am not sure most people this young have this experience, but I know many of you reading have. The first is when I was diagnosed with Crohns, a chronic and incurable disease that I had no idea even existed. And the second time was when we were told we would never conceive naturally. You can read about it here.

I think running out of road a few times early in life changes you a bit. Instead of believing that “you can achieve anything you set your mind to”, you start to realize that sometimes, things really are out of your control. People die. Seasons change. Dreams flutter away. And you simply cannot do a thing to change it. When I was told I would never have a child, my road completely stopped. All the bricks that I had pictured with little feet pitter pattering all over simply vanished. What is next? What will I do?

My response was to build a new road. This was just a little hiccup, right? My type A personality kicked in and I went into gear. I researched doctors. I booked appointments. Take that end of the road! I will just fill in the blanks. And so for a few years, I made plans or ratherdidn’tmake plans, assuming I would be pregnant by the time that event came around. But the baby never came and I simply missed out on all kinds of things. Bulldozer after bulldozer plowed through my feeble road. So I guess I really do not have control.

I remember one year, Justin and I finally realized this. We finally understood that we may never have a baby and I could not cure my disease. So we stopped making plans. Instead of saying, “Well surely we will have a baby by then”, we started throwing our hands up in the air and saying, “We have no idea what is next!” But we said that with a hint of anger in our voices and fear in our eyes. Living in a tailspin is not entirely healthy either.

A few weeks ago, I found myself sitting in the living room of one of my oldest friends. My college girlfriends and I had all gathered in Nashville and like we did so many times years ago, we gathered around the piano. It was a warm night, in every way, from the tea we were drinking to the feeling we had in our hearts.

My beautiful and talented friend, Emily Weeks, sang one of the songs she had written. The chorus goes like this:

If You thought it
You’ll fulfill it
And if You planned it
I will live it
And You have to want it
And if You want it, none can stop it
And You have to dream it, and if You dream it
There’s no running
So give me faithfulness
Daily faithfulness
And obedience
Hourly obedience

When the last note was played, my friends saw the tears streaming down my face and they knew why. This is the song for someone who has run out of road. I was crying for the babies that we lost this year. Crying, because I wanted God to explain to me why Hedidn’twant those babies and why Hedidn’tallow them to be partofour family. But maybe even more so, I was crying for all the things that He did dream and He did plan since the day I ran out of road. Jack. My beautiful, sweet, little two year Jack- an obvious living and breathing miracle. And all of you. Over the last six years, I have had conversations that I would have never have had and met people I would have never met. And I have gotten to witness your miracles and my own. All because we ran out of road.

When you are a Christian and you believe in God, you must believe that He has a purpose and a plan. And when we run out of road, this is the ultimate occasion to trust Him. And so instead of trying to build a new road orfree-fallinginto nothing, I am learning to actively trust God. I am praying for the faithfulness and obedience to dothis, knowing that His dreams and His plans far surpass my own. If I would have never run out of road, my road would have been just that- mine. The construction would have been limited. If I was in control, I am sure the valleys wouldn’t have been quite so low, but the highs would have never even touched some of the places I have been privileged to walk.

My road has run out again. I have absolutely no idea if I will ever be pregnant again. I could. We still have a few more rounds of fertility treatments left and more babies in the “waiting room.” Or I could experience what I have the last three rounds- loss. But this time, I am trying to walk my talk and trust that God is building another beautiful road. My part in this is that daily faithfulness and obedience. And that, as you know my friends, is really hard.

What did you do when you ran out of road?


4 Comments on When You Run Out of Road

  1. JAM says:

    Bonnie…This is so well and beautifully put. Thank you for giving us a glimpse of what you and Justin have encountered. One of our friends who lost a daughter at 12 wrote me when we lost Megan and said “Don’t think of what you will miss, but remember all you have had for 37 years”……I thought that was wonderful advice. I won’t say it is easy to accept, but it puts a different spin on life. Sending my love to you…..Jo Ann

  2. roseturtle says:

    Beautiful again, Bonnie. God is doing beautiful things through you.

  3. Bonnie says:

    Thank you both for your comments. Wow Jo Ann- I can only imagine what your family has gone through. I am glad that advice has brought you some peace. I am certainly trying to adopt that shift of perspective in our life. Lots of love!

  4. melody says:

    wow, Bon. I love this. So true. Hourly obedience. I wish I could hear emily’s song! I love that even writing this blog is a step of obedience and trusting in the God who is making your road. Thanks for inviting us along…

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