The View from the Back Seat

CHARLOTTE  (6:16am) – I’m so thankful this morning for all your encouraging notes and phone calls as I enter this new phase in my life.  So many of you have said my decision to “trade up” in this life – to say goodbye for now to the career I’ve pursued for more than 20 years – has inspired you to consider similar decisions in your life.

If that’s the path you’re on – please be certain you are not on it alone.  If the time is right for you, I encourage you to choose your faith, your husband, your children over your career.  But please, don’t do it alone.  Because uncertainty will come up along side you and give you a slap upside the back of your head, and you’re going to need something strong enough to knock it back down.

This past month, Elevation Church gave four young, single moms the keys to newly renovated homes at Jackson Park Ministries.  I had the opportunity to be there – to share in this life-changing experience with these young ladies, their children, and the hundreds of Elevation volunteers who made it happen.

And in the middle of this celebration, and all the excitement surrounding it – I had a moment where I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be doing.  Now that may sound strange to you – my role was clearly defined – it wasn’t that.  But I wasn’t in charge of the action, I wasn’t directing the moves, I wasn’t working to create anything that had my name on it.

I shared this uncertainty – in that moment at Jackson Park – with my good friend Angie, who is a young pastor’s wife and an amazing mom to three beautiful little girls.  She smiled at me and said, “Welcome to the back seat.”  I laughed at the time, and had no idea how those words would resonate for me in the coming weeks.  Now, every time I have that feeling of uncertainty – when that voice nags me and says, “Where are you going?  What are you doing?” I answer back – “I’m enjoying the view from the back seat.”

I’ve surrendered my life.  I’ve given in to that which is greater than me.  I’m choosing the back seat.  But I’m not here alone.  I need daily reminders that I’m on the right path.  I get that from friends and colleagues, people to speak into my life and encourage me.  Beyond that, here are a few resources I’d like to suggest:

Prayer:  Pastor Steven Furtick this past weekend said, “Prayer is not a last resort, it’s a nuclear weapon.”  You can watch his sermons online now hourly at “The Elevation Experience.”

Books that recently have inspired me:  “Crazy Love” and “Forgotten God” by Francis Chan, “Hero” by Derwin Gray, “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” by Donald Miller, and coming out this Tuesday, “Sun Stands Still” by Pastor Steven Furtick.

Gratitude:  I begin each day with thankfulness.  Psalm 100:4-5 says:

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.

5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

The view back here is nice.  Time to get the boys breakfast.  See you soon.

4 Comments on “The View from the Back Seat

  1. What an inspiration you are. In this age that we live in, it’so refreshing to find a “name” in our community turning out to be so grounded. We admired you for so long because of what you’ve accomplished in the public eye, not knowing that you have (and will) accomplished so much more away from our view. May God bless you in your future adventures and may you find all in life that you deserve. You are truly an inspiration and an example for the rest of us. God bless you.

  2. Tonia you will be sorely missed! I truely admire and respect the choice you made to ride in the back seat. Several months ago I too decided to ride in the back seat. Often it is not a comfortable ride, but I have faith in the driver. May God richly bless you and keep you.

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