Uncharted Territory

on June 8, 2020

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.” (Isaiah 43:2)

The world is in a state of change right now. What does it take to pass through uncharted territory?

Returning to a new unpredictable world for one is not the same for another. When we suffer loss or a treasured hope, how do we cope with the change? Trusting God is the key to finding our way to combat unexpected circumstances. His faithfulness never changes.

The Coronavirus health crisis complicated matters the morning I left Florida to return to my primary residence in Tennessee. My day started at six a.m. with packing the car. Tears dropped onto the steering wheel as I backed out of the driveway with my dog, Louie. The destination to Tennessee was my first long-distance journey since my husband, Bill, died of cancer the previous month.

I planned to gas up the vehicle with one-stop midway to Chattanooga, but the weather didn’t cooperate. Rain poured from the sky at different intervals. I strained to see the road and pulled over several times. Waiting for the rain to stop, I prayed fervently and promised God, if I made it home, I would kiss the floor in honor of His protection.

Eleven hours later, I parked the car into the garage. Moments after I pushed the kitchen door open, a dreadful sound blasted. In my haste, I forgot about the security system Bill set up. In desperation, I looked around and remembered Bill mounted the siren onto the garage door motor. I searched for a step-ladder and unplugged the alarm. I descended the ladder and dropped to my knees to give thanks.

As I started up the stairs, the alarm blasted again. I stomped back to the garage. That alarm is possessed. Why did Bill have to install an alarm anyway? How I wished he was here to help.

My nerves were on edge as I yanked the duct tape off the siren. I grabbed a towel to muffle the annoying sound and tossed the siren into the dryer. In the silence, Louie and I made our way to the bedroom.

When dawn arrived, my body announced it needed a hot meal and a cup of coffee. Thank goodness, a Krystal was open. I put my mask on and ordered a big senior breakfast to go. I reminded myself to buy groceries. Heading home, I thought about the last meal I prepared in the Chattanooga house six months ago, and how things have changed.

After breakfast, I refuse to allow change to engulf me, so I unpacked the car. It took a dozen trips to climb the stairs to the master bedroom to put my belongings away. With each step, I claimed the promise written in 2 Timothy 4:17; the Lord stands at my side to strengthen me.

Over the next week, the washing machine broke, the air conditioner quit working, and the computer revealed problems. I was up against a wall of new challenges. I could either emotionally break down along with the appliances or tackle the situations with faith-fueled confidence. I knew little about machines and computers, but God’s grace is sufficient. Therefore, I decided to learn something new.

The Lord is loyal to revive, provide, and deliver. His children can stay confident He will help us pass through uncharted territory.

What uncharted territories are you facing?

How do you cope with new challenges or change?

22 thoughts on “Uncharted Territory”

  1. Ann Kling says:

    Awww, Linda this was too short. You are such a gifted writer. Thanks for sharing your journey. Love you

    1. Linda Ray Center says:

      Ann, You have been a big part of my writing journey. I’m forever grateful.

  2. Nancy says:

    I think we all have challenges that we go through every day. I know when my husband passed away it was very difficult for me. I was mad at God for taking him. God said I have big shoulders. I will be with you every day. Everyone says don’t make any big changes for a year. I did that and God was with me. I still have my moments but I know God is by my side. You just pray and do the best you can.
    Praying for you Linda.

    1. Linda Ray Center says:

      Nancy, You’re right, we all have our crosses to bear in life. Death of a loved one is the most difficult. God never leaves us, that one of my favorite promises in the Bible.

  3. Roberta M Fish says:

    Dear Linda,
    Thanks for sharing you experience, strength, and hope. God is faithful. Amen!!

    1. Linda Ray Center says:

      Thank you, Roberta. It’s a privilege and honor to write about God’s faithfulness. I’ve missed you and the Word Weavers group. I’ll see you soon.

  4. DeborahAldridge says:

    As they say, “The first year is the hardest.” I found that very true when Alan died. But, I felt a love and protection like I’ve never felt before. God guided and protected me at my weakest, and He will do the same for you.

    1. Linda Ray Center says:

      Good to hear from you, Deborah. You are so right, I have a new understanding of 2 Corinthians 12:9-11. God’s grace makes a difference in our most difficult moments. I miss you.

  5. Diane Clark says:

    How I can take counsel from your testimony that “I could either emotionally break down along with the appliances or tackle the situations with faith-fueled confidence.” May God continue to bless you on your new journey as you remember your dear Bill. I had to chuckle a bit though as I’m married and we often face problem solving decisions. Since it seems that opposites attract, negotiating those decisions is sometimes contentious–do we fix it or buy new? One tends to be a saver and fix a problem while the other seems to want to spend and outrun any repairs for a few years. Sound familiar? Please to rely on friends, even those who live away, to talk through your issues and decision making. We LOVE to hear from you any time of the day or night because you have been such a blessing in my life…and you know too much!

    1. Linda Ray Center says:

      You are too funny, Diane! You have been a blessing in my life too. I wouldn’t be where I am today without those long conversations in the middle of the night or the numerous cards you sent to keep me going. Praise God for committed girlfriends.

  6. Pim Miranda says:

    Hi Linda, thanks for sharing your poignant story of your return home. I could feel your frustration as you had to deal with situations reminding you of, and even created by Bill. But just think, the alarm was installed by Bill for your protection, and is, therefore, an expression of his love and concern for you.
    You are daily in my prayers, that the Lord will give you peace and comfort you, and guide you in this uncharted territory.
    I am continuing to get reacquainted with the lady I told you about. We now talk every week and our telephone conversations last 2 hours! I am (impatiently) waiting for next step that the Lord will provide, which needs to be a face to face meeting. I shared my plans for my RV trip in July, and mentioned that I really would like to have company. She offered to pray for that. Of course, I want her to be that company, so (unknown to her?) she is praying for the Lord to create a desire in her to join me.
    Then she shared that she has left her church due to a conflict with her pastor, and is searching for another church home. So I offered to pray for that, not telling her that I am asking the Lord that it will be my church, so that we can attend together.
    Remember that in all of this I told the Lord that I would step aside (after making a mess of it) and let Him fix this relationship.
    I am reminded that He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that I can imagine or ask.

    1. Linda Ray Center says:

      Thank you for your insight, Pim. I can now see Bill’s protection for me the night the alarm kept going off instead of my own frustration. I’m so glad about your relationship with your lady friend moving forward.
      Yes, God is more than able. When He is in the center of our relationships it always works out for our good.

  7. Marieta Kerley says:

    Thank you Linda for sharing your change journey. I know there are many ‘out there’ needing to read your words and heal. I am praying that you will grow stronger every day. You are an amazing woman!

    1. Linda Ray Center says:

      Marieta, Thank you for covering me with prayers and encouragement. I’m thankful we’re sisters in Christ.

  8. Joli Gilbertson says:

    Thank you Linda! Your faithfulness encourages me…

    1. Linda Ray Center says:

      Thanks, Joli. Stay strong in Him!

  9. Charlotte Black says:

    You are my hero!!!!! You’ve entered uncharted territory with a brave face, learned many new things and still with your hand in Jesus’! I know wonderful adventures are waiting for you! I love you, my friend!!!!!

    1. Linda Ray Center says:

      All we have to do is ask God for directions. He patiently waits to help us.

  10. Linda,
    This is a beautiful account of what you are dealing with in a time full of losses and uncertainties. God is always faithful and He is definitely our strength. Be encourage dear friend and continue encouraging others with your testimonies. I am sending you my love and prayers.

    1. Linda Ray Center says:

      Thanks for commenting, Eglaide. Your prayers have covered me for many years. I can’t tell you enough how grateful I am for you.

  11. Carol Walls says:

    Good morning, Linda
    Your story of leaving Florida was so touching as you faced
    such difficulty along the way and were coming back to your home
    in TN without Bill by your side. Once home there were more
    difficulties to face (alarm going off and wishing it would stop and
    the challenges you faced with all your appliances soon after
    home). Isn’t that always the challenge to find joy and peace
    during these situations? However we know that faith in God the
    Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit walk beside us even though we
    are tested and challenged and our faith will grow stronger because
    of the difficulties we have faced with faith.
    I have a dear friend (my college roommate) who lost her
    husband in April and has not been able to get out as she lives
    in a retirement condo and they are very strict about their having
    any company or leaving the facility. She cannot plan her husband’s
    funeral either even though she hopes by Sept. You can imagine
    her loneliness since she cannot be comforted by friends and
    family live away. I am sending her your e-mail as I am sure it
    will help her to know that she is not alone.
    I am so glad you are back in Chattanooga to be close to your
    family and thank you for your uplifting messages of God’s love
    for us.
    Blessings, Carol Walls


    1. Linda Ray Center says:

      Hi Carol,
      I will be praying for your college roommate friend. In these challenging times losing a loved one is more difficult. It’s in the difficulties He carries us with His amazing grace.

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