Safety on the Road Home

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I didn’t start the day on Saturday, September ninth thinking I’d end it in a panic in the Decatur, Alabama police station.

Mom and I spoke at a teen girls’ purity day in Ripley, Mississippi that weekend. On a fluke, I decided to drive to Huntsville in convoy with Mom when we finished speaking to visit for a couple of days rather than heading straight home to Columbus. Mom had Ezra in the car with her, and I had Colleyanna with me.

During the last half of the 4-hour stretch of highway between Ripley and Huntsville, I noticed something strange. A man in a white car was traveling in the lane beside me on 72. Whenever we entered those small towns, he always seemed to be right beside me at each stoplight. He’d wave and honk, he’d smile, roll down his window, and try to get me to roll down mine. Making momentary eye contact with him, I thought maybe this was someone I knew. But I definitely did not recognize that grill or those dreadlocks. By the time we got to Decatur, though, I knew them very well.

Mom and I started communicating about the little car that was darting in between us and then in front of us and then behind us and then right beside us for what seemed like very long stretches of highway. Then we both started communicating with our husbands, who were advising us to call the police. Mom talked with 911 dispatchers in three of the little towns and officers were watching for our little caravan to pass through.

But as we exited each little town, we apparently just missed the officers and the little car stuck with us no matter the speed or direction we traveled. Once he veered way over into my lane and my right wheels were forced off the road. Once he turned off to the right only to make a very quick U-turn and come right back onto the main road and dart in between our SUVs again.

By that time, Mom was describing to the dispatcher in Decatur, Alabama exactly what was happening. The lady said,

“Whatever you do, don’t stop. When you get to the bridge in Decatur, turn right. Be sure you turn right and I’ll direct you to the police station. Even if he gets way ahead of you (and he didn’t) and even if he turns left (and he did), you do not turn left. It’s getting dark and he could stop ahead and wait for you at the boat dock. You just come here and we will know you are safe.”

We did and she did and it felt incredibly good to be in that municipal building where, incidentally, Ezra was in police-car-heaven. (Best thing about the whole weekend for him!) It wasn’t long before the report was filed and we were escorted back to Huntsville where my Dad, who was on his way to the rescue, met us on a familiar exit and took us all to Cracker Barrel, where all is (always) right with the world.

It did take a few hours, though, for me to stop feeling nervous and anxious. I felt a little skittish every time a car approached mine in the lane next to me at a red light or darted in front of me as I tried to exit. I thought of that scary drive when I’d see dreadlocks or little white Fords. But I also have thought a lot about the good things about that afternoon. It’s what my Mom calls the “blessing trail” and it’s always an open road when the “other road” gets a little treacherous. There are always blessings, even in (may be even especially in) the most difficult days. Here are some that are apparent to me:

  • I just happened to be riding in convoy with my mom when this happened. I’m very glad there was one of us to talk to the police while the other kept up with directions and Colleyanna and writing down the tag number, etc….
  • I was never afraid my car was going to break down. My husband works very hard to provide for our one-income family, so much so that we are able to afford reliable transportation. I don’t like to think about what could have happened had one of us experienced an engine failure or an overheated radiator.
  • I had just filled my car with gas when this happened, as did my mother. (I had even looked at my mom incredulously when she had pulled over for gas at an old run-down little station in Ripley. But it was there that an old-fashioned attendant had actually pumped the gas for me. That was an experience I’d never even encountered before.) Stopping could have been the only option had this not been the case.
  • My children were fairly quiet during all of this. Had they been yelling or crying or begging to “potty” or disobeying (as all kids do at one time or another), it would have been lots harder than it was.
  • The 911 responders on the phone with my mom (in three towns) were all willing to help. One was especially helpful and kind and remained on the phone with my mom as long as was necessary to get us to a safe place.
  • I was the one who was afraid rather than my being the road bully. So glad to be me and not him.
  • The police had a lot going on that night (three groups in the office when we arrived) but they escorted us to safety.
  • My dad and husband happened to both be at home that night and they answered their phones. Both voices were very reassuring.
  • My vehicle was three times bigger than the one that tried to run me off the road.
  • The night ended, for my sweet children and me, in a safe and protected place.


I’ve also been thinking about how the road to heaven is similar to the road home that night.


  • As Christians, we travel in convoy with others who are like-minded. God didn’t intend for His people to make this journey alone (Gal. 6:1-10).
  • Like a reliable car and a full tank of gas in a time of panic, we carry with us the providence of God at all times (Romans 8:28). 
  • Like the 911 responder, there are always others who are ready to rescue when we find ourselves in spiritual danger (Heb. 10:24-26). God is definitely the first responder whenever we face a spiritual emergency. (Phil. 4:6, Lk. 11:9, Psa. 34:17).
  • There is always—ALWAYS—someone trying to run me off the narrow road that leads Home (Matt. 7:13) . Because the devil is who he is ( I Peter 5:8), you and I will always be tempted in one way or another to leave the safe “pavement.”
  • It’s important not to stop.
  • Our transport Vehicle through this world is infinitely bigger and more dependable than anything that can try and harm us (I Cor. 10:13).
  • Like the children who never even knew of any danger, there are always innocent people influenced by paths I choose. May I always remember the children who will be affected by my choices.
  • There’s always a right turn. I pray I will always see it and take it.
  • There is always a Father who’s listening. He’s concerned for you, loving you, waiting to wrap you up in a warm embrace to welcome you back to safety. I’ll never forget how my dad’s embrace felt that night when my tear-stained face was pressed against him, his arms wrapped around me. I was safe. I was loved. The Father runs (Luke 15:11) to wrap us in His arms. He is always on the Mooresville exit, waiting for us. He wants to take us home.
  • Things that are relatively small when placed in the context of a lifetime can seem overwhelming in the moment. I need to think more about the bigger picture that God sees and the safety that’s mine when He is with me, even when the darkness of trials and temptation closes in for a time.

Ezra is THREE!

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Ezra Lee turned 3 yesterday. At 3 years old, he is the most energetic, most stubborn, most obstinate, and most adorable 3 year old I’ve ever known (yes, all at the same time!).

Ezra amazes me in so many ways. He is rambunctious, yet thoughtful. Hard-headed, yet tender-hearted. Mischievous, yet innocent. He moves constantly and does not slow down for a second until he’s asleep. He never stops talking. He says, “Mom” or “Dad” at least twice before he continues with his next thought.

This boy loves anything that moves–trains, cars, busses, airplanes, helicopters, excavators, bulldozers, tractors, dump trucks, garbage trucks, firetrucks, police cars, ambulances…I could go on and on. He’s in size 4T clothes and only wears BIG BOY UNDERWEAR NOW (though sometimes Mom misses the diapers).

If you explain anything to Ezra that he didn’t already know, he usually says, “tell me about that again,” after you’re done explaining it (he wanted to hear about Hurricane Harvey about 18 times before he was ready for a new topic). He loves anything that gives him a thrill– jumping off of high surfaces, spinning around till he’s dizzy, being flipped over…this kid’s going to love roller coasters. He loves Bible class. He loves his sister fiercely and is very proud of her. He thrives on praise, like any child, I guess. He loves his mama and says to me several times a day, “I want to love you” or a “I want to hold you” when he wants me to pick him up. He loves to read books, and considers it a grave consequence for disobedience if he gets his story time taken away at night. He could live solely off of chicken nuggets, “macky-macky and cheese,” pizza, and cheese dip (but how long could anyone actually live off of just that? Life is unfair).

His favorite games are the ones where you have to use your imagination and pretend you’re someone or something you’re not. He’s very into monsters, and his favorite movie right now is Monster’s Inc. (He’s going to be Sully for Halloween). He loves being outside.

His favorite Bible story is Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He can quote Ephesians 6:1 (though his life-application of the verse is a little wanting at times). He is quick to forgive and never holds grudges. He is intensely passionate about everything he says and does. This makes for some pretty intense parenting challenges. Ben and I say all the time that if we can just harness that passion and point it in the right direction, this child can do incredible, courageous, God-honoring things with his life. I want him to look back on posts like these and know how much we prayed and strove for him to have a future that glorifies God and helps others go to heaven. Our little redhead is a blessing to us in so many ways. We thank God for his intelligence, his health, his passion, his heart. Can’t wait to see what year three holds for our little fireball!

To My Daughter, On Her First Birthday

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My darling Colleyanna,

This is your 12-month picture. You just turned a year old, and I truly can’t believe it. I feel like it was just a few weeks ago I was listening to your first cry. I was stunned as I touched your face by how perfect you were. And now, a year later, you’ve changed so much! 24 pounds, 2 teeth, a lot more blonde hair, eating solids, wearing size 4 diapers and sizes 18-24 months clothes, and saying that I word I LOVE to hear you say: “Mama.”


Let me tell you some of the things I have observed about you lately.


  • You love music. You stop what you’re doing and dance every time you hear it.
  • You are not a great sleeper. You are still waking up every 2-3 hours at night, and have since you were born. However….
  • When you’re awake, you’re the most pleasant, most contented baby I’ve ever known. You are just so happy to be alive, and you’re satisfied doing whatever it is we have planned and going wherever we go.
  • You are very affectionate. You love to cuddle and you lean in for hugs, even though you’re just a baby. Sometimes you press your face against mine when you’re happy in my arms and my heart becomes a puddle—it’s SO sweet.
  • You are friendly to almost everyone. You’re very much into waving and smiling at anyone who talks to you. You make friends wherever you go.
  • You love your brother wholeheartedly, and you think he’s just amazing. Nothing is more exciting or more entertaining to you than watching Ezra. Nobody can make you laugh like he can. You light up every time he walks in a room, and especially when he talks to you or plays with you.
  • You are extremely nosy. 🙂 You have to know what everyone is doing and talking about all the time. You watch everyone intently and it’s clear that you’re thinking through our every move and our every word. You’re an expert observer.
  • You love clothes. Every time you see an article of clothing, you pick it up and put it on your head. You also love going through Mommy’s make-up bag about more than any other activity.
  • You love baths. Your favorite thing is standing up and then crashing back down as hard as you can so you make a huge splash. This makes for a pretty messy bathroom floor, but you think it’s hilarious.
  • You love books, especially ones that have something you can touch and feel inside.
  • Your eyelashes are four miles long (maybe not QUITE that long, but close).
  • You hated cake and ice cream the first time you had it, but the second time around, you were much more open to the idea. You rejected it with a vengeance the first time, much to the disappointment of your birthday party guests. But don’t worry, we are laughing about it now. 🙂
  • Your brother calls you Kie-nananana. We think it’s cute so we call you that half the time, too. Sometimes I worry you won’t actually know your real name. 🙂
  • You already have a great sense of humor. One of my favorite sounds in the world is your laugh.


Now, when you’re older and you’re looking back on this sweet time of your life, there are some other things I want you to know:


  • Your parents had Bible time with you every single day. You love to pat the Bible, listen to us sing Bible songs, and you’re learning to pray. Every night you’re hearing the words, “True success is living your life and going to heaven.” We will continue this practice of family Bible time every day with you for as long as you’re in our home. We will teach you all that we can about the Bible and God while you’re in our home, but if you ever study your Bible and realize that we taught you something that contradicts the Bible, we want you to do what the Bible says, not what we say.
  • Except for when you were sick, you never missed a worship service or Bible class. When you grow up and leave home, we pray this will still be true.
  • Your parents love you fiercely. We think you’re absolutely perfect in every way. We act like fools all the time just to get a glimpse of that million-dollar smile. There’s nothing in the world we wouldn’t give to see you grow up to be happy and successful (for success definition, see above).
  • We want you to know that, while we think you’re gorgeous and perfect on the outside, what matters is what’s in your heart (Ephesians 3:3-4). If you love and obey God, we will always think you’re beautiful, and anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is not your friend.
  • You’ll probably go through a stage where you really don’t like me, but I hope we can always be close, as I am to my mother (who, incidentally, also loves you fiercely). I learn more from my mother than anyone else. I hope you are able to learn good things from me, too, one day.
  • Parenting you and your brother is the hardest, scariest, happiest, most inspiring thing that’s ever happened to us, and we thank God for the opportunity to raise a soul as beautiful and precious as you.

I love you to the moon and back,