Jen Jeffrey Billington: Crossing Paths

Thursday, January 5, 2017 - by Jen Jeffrey Billington
Jen Jeffrey Billington
Jen Jeffrey Billington

Recently, a friend of mine said to me, “I’m glad our paths crossed and it was for a reason.” I whole-heartedly agree.

Sometimes when we cross paths with others we may or may not see the reason right away or sometimes ever – but we know God has a reason for the crossing.

I think it is a beautiful thing, crossing paths.

It means that this world isn’t about us. It isn’t about our agendas or our perceptions or what we think is best. Because as we cross paths with others their lives are affected as well as ours.

I find this very inviting.

As I get older, I am not as much of a ‘large group’ person as I used to be. I like solitude and my alone time, but I still am a ‘people-person’ and I love being relational. And as a writer, I also enjoy stories – the stories of people’s lives. The story of what brought them to a certain place or endeavor.

So when my path crosses with someone else, it is like solving a mystery to find out the purpose of the crossing.

I love that!

Sometimes, it takes years to actually understand, but other times God reveals to us the good in why He brought us together.

Isn’t it mostly coincidental? No, I don’t believe that at all. I believe EVERYTHING is for a reason. Do I always have to know the reason? Nope.

I trust my Father. I trust His ways. I don’t have to know the answers to everything. But the mystery is fun to figure out when I am supposed to.

Life isn’t all about ‘me’ so there are times when I am part of an equation of life in which I have no clue why. And that is okay by me.

Sometimes, I think those who wish to be needed feel the crossing of paths means they are to ‘see it to fruition’ when God may only have the crossing for which that person may only have a small part. And that’s okay too.

I consider it a joy to be a part of a crossing. Whether significant or just a blip in our lives, I feel as though I am walking my path and giving high-fiving to those I pass. Sometimes, a hug is required in the crossing and sometime even more than that.

But each crossing of paths is so very important. People are important. Not one more than another, but we all have a role to play here on earth and we can be excited!

We can fret and try to figure it all out and dictate how we think life should go… or we can ‘let go’ of such a tight grasp, and ‘watch’.

I like watching God because I never know what He’ll do next. Even wrecking my Jeep in Virginia some years ago, was exciting to me because even though I was bruised up and concerned of what I was going to do without a car, I KNEW at that very moment – within seconds of the crash, that God was going to do something. I could almost hear Him say, “Watch this…” as He elbowed me in my bruised ribs.

And it was a major growth spurt to claim to trust Him and while the first thing I thought would be an answer to my dilemma didn’t happen, that I was able to STILL trust and not fret …as I waited.

Waiting is very important.

If we don’t see answers immediately, we sometimes feel that maybe God is telling us to do something. But whenever I did that, I usually did something in my own efforts and failed or made things harder when God just wanted me to wait while HE was the one working things to the good. He gets the glory.

Waiting isn’t God ‘just showing us He’s the boss’… there is a reason. We hear all the time “in God’s timing” but we need to TRUST His timing. He is busy getting things in place and it may require time to get everything ‘in place’.

Not to say God couldn’t do something instantaneously, but this is what the whole ‘crossing paths’ thing is about. As I wait for God, I meet someone in my path who may say just the right thing I need to hear, or I may be there for them in some way.

As I am waiting for answers to a problem, God may be using me in someone else’s problem - yet I may not even know their circumstances. I don’t have to know. Unless God shares that with me. The point is, I am there in that crossing.

And it is significant.

I have been a part of ‘divine intervention’ several times in my life where I saw God’s hand at work and the reason was clear of why my path crossed with another.

And, I have crossed paths with people in which I knew God was up to something – but I didn’t know what, and we were just excited to watch it unfold.

While I was busy ‘adulting’ in my 30s and part of my 40s, I learned the importance of waiting. Busily scurrying around and juggling the many roles in life I had taken and trying to make it all work, I missed God at work.

As a Christian, I used my ‘church words’ and repeated what I knew was the right thing to say, “I trust God” “I will wait on God” “I don’t worry” … these words were ‘good intentions’ but something I really needed to work on.

It was in my early 40s when I really began living those words. What I had made so hard – was actually so simple! God tells us to ‘come as a child’ – now I get that! Children are simple – they can teach us great perspectives when we let go of what is muddled in our hurried world and to see things simply.

Something I enjoy creating with my five year old granddaughter is a segment in my publication called “Dear Ellie” in which she is our ‘advice columnist’. She is just learning how to read, so we make a VLOG (Video blog) of her answering reader’s questions.

The idea is that life is pretty simple though we look for the complications.

Ellie breaks down all our barriers and concerns and the advice she gives can either have truth, or simply make us laugh at ourselves.

When I look back at how I used to fret over the things I thought were mountains but realized they were just molehills, I can see God’s hand in most of the problems I thought were problems that aren’t even an issue today.

Do you know why they aren’t?

Time passes. Feelings change. Circumstances change. Yet the Kingdom of God is near. If I am focused on the Kingdom, then the little things on earth which get people so worried and preoccupied aren’t as ‘big’.

Am I worried about our president? No, I am focused on the King. Am I worried about my husband’s job? Our finances? No, I am focused on its purpose toward the Kingdom and our role together. All things pass away, but the Kingdom of God is eternal.

So, while I am ‘just a passin’ through’ and I cross paths, I get excited to watch what God will do. Is this path crossing for me? For them? For both? Will God reveal to me? To them? To both? Is it a ten-fold blessing He wants me to share and keep the blessing ongoing to minister to others? Or is it to hold close to my heart and grow in His wisdom while watching others grow (in His time) which they may not be ready to receive if I were to share at that very moment. Each crossing is different.

Life is exciting. I love watching.

Please know that even though God has brought me to a place where my life may ‘seem easy’ to others, that I know ‘both sides of the coin’ and I shall never forget.

I know struggle, I know pain, and I know loneliness. These words I share with you now are not my ‘church words’ – they are my experience.

I have been walking with God on this journey and I have found in this last decade, that the watching and waiting is sometimes as exciting as the reveal. Even in turmoil, even in despair… God is at work and that is exciting!

Through tears, through sleepless nights in which I am called to pray, through circumstances good or bad; God IS at work. God is GOOD.

And He keeps his promises.

I don’t have to have answers when crossing paths. I do not have to see them to fruition. I just need to be there with an open heart and open eyes and enjoy the crossing – and in it, we experience the cross.

jen@themurraymirror.com


Local DAR To Support Welcome Home

The Daughters of the American Revolutions’ Chattanooga Regents’ Council met on Thursday. Regents Joye Duke, Chickamauga Chapter; Jessica Dumitru, Chief John Ross Chapter; Susan Lindsey, Judge David Campbell Chapter; Natalie Blackwell, Nancy Ward Chapter; Barbara Fickley, Moccasin Bend Chapter, and Teresa Rimer, Chattanooga Regents’ Council Chairman discussed upcoming events. ... (click for more)

Road And Utility Repair On Gunbarrel Road

The 2400 block of Gunbarrel Road, between Hamilton Run and Summertown Court, will be closed for road and utility repair beginning next Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. The project is scheduled for three weeks, reopening on Wednesday, Feb. 15.  Detours will be posted using Pinewood Drive, Jenkins Road. and Shallowford Road. (click for more)

School Board Votes To Issue RFPs For Private School Bus Service; Allows Independent Drivers To Add 20 Routes

The Hamilton County School Board voted unanimously to issue a Request-for-Proposals (RFP) to private bus companies at a special-called session early  Saturday  afternoon.   The vote came at the end of a two-day strategy session where the school board has confronted a list of challenges but the busing question, spurred by the tragic bus wreck in November ... (click for more)

3 People Shot Early Saturday Morning On East 3rd Street

Three people were shot on East 3rd Street early Saturday morning. They were identified as Countess Clemons, 24, Kezia Jackson, 23, and Dutchess Lykes, 26.   The Chattanooga Police Department responded at 2:40 a.m. to a person(s) shot call at a local hospital. All three victims were transported to the hospital via a personally-owned vehicle.   All three ... (click for more)

A Light Rain Began To Fall - And Response (2)

Around noon Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the most powerful nation on Earth after a long and sometimes bitter campaign where 17 GOP candidates of his own party and two of the opposing party competed for the honor.   Thousands rejoiced in the Washington D.C. streets while policemen who had come along with national guardsmen pushed ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Jumoke’s Thuggery Ends

Jumoke Johnson, the most notorious criminal in Chattanooga’s recent history, was killed by a rain of bullets in the 2100 block of East 12 th Street at little after 8 o’clock Friday night and for the many of us who have kept up with the 23-year-old, you wonder how he ever lasted this long. He was aptly proclaimed as the “most dangerous man” to ever have been sentenced in Chattanooga’s ... (click for more)