Wednesday, September 14, 2011



Interesting term.

We usually use it when someone has been diverted from a goal.

I looked it up to discover its origin. I'm sorta "English major" that way. Here's what I found:

"railway siding," 1835, from side (adj.) + track (q.v.). The verb meaning "to move (a train car) onto a sidetrack" is from 1880; fig. sense of "to divert from the main purpose" is attested from 1889.

Early railroads had only a single track between destinations. Problems arose when a train was met by another going in the opposite direction or was about to be overtaken by a faster one. This dilemma was solved with the creation of sidings, short lengths of track built parallel to the main line where one train could pull over while the other went by.

The train had been "sidetracked," meaning that, for a time at least, it wasn't going anywhere.

Interesting, huh?!

But the word *sidetracked* usually has a negative connotation. It's not quite as desperate as being completely *de-railed* – but it's something that definitely fits into the "snafu" category.

So, I have had a *sidetrack* I'd like to share with you.

This past weekend, I attended the Women of Faith Conference here in California. It was, as always, a most uplifting experience. Words cannot quite describe the feeling of roughly 12,000 women lifting their voices in praise to God.

The speakers were wonderful. I'll be sharing some of my insights on that next week (love the teaser??). I was planning to start on that today, but I got…


Let me tell you what happened.

My husband left last Wednesday for one more camping trip before fishing season ends. Though I usually go with him, he went solo this time. I was a tad unsettled because he was camping in that same area that we were at in July. You know, the one with no cell phone reception. So, he was out of contact.

He promised he would come down the hill to call me every few days.

I talked to him on Thursday evening, and he said he would probably call again on Saturday. I reminded him that I'd be at Women of Faith, and I might not be able to answer. He said he'd leave a message.

So, I get out on Saturday around 5 PM. "The Hub" had not called. I told myself not to worry – it was still early.

At 6 PM, a wave came over me – I felt a total attack of anxiety. I just knew something had happened to him. I didn't go "over the edge" – after all, he had said he'd "probably" call – and I just started praying for him.

Sunday I left bright and early to attend a Los Angeles Kings Hockey Fan Day with my sons.

Around 9 AM, my phone rang.

"The Hub" –

"Hi sweetie, um, it's raining up here and I'm going to head home early."

I knew it.

A pause…here it comes, I thought.

"And, uh, I sprained my ankle."

Conversation went back and forth. We established that he was "OK" – and he told me not to worry.

Fast forward several hours. He's home, and he calls again. Now I find out that his ankle and his foot and "halfway up my calf" are completely swollen and purple. I tell him to call the doctor.

About half an hour later, he tells me he's on his way to the emergency room.

I get to the hospital as quickly as I can. I arrive about an hour and a half later and find my husband. The first thing out of his mouth is, "It's broken."

Yes, I know the meaning of "sidetracked."

Here's the thing.

Life is just like that.

It's a train ride. We go humming along the track, coasting and enjoying the scenery – when all of a sudden, we get sidetracked. Things come to a screeching halt. We're put out of commission.

But, are we?

God is not surprised by this *change of direction.* He saw it coming – in fact, He may even have pulled the switch that diverted us.

Maybe He saw an oncoming train He wanted to save us from. Maybe He saw another train that was catching up to us and we needed to move out of the way. Maybe He had a completely different destination in mind, and a little "sidetracking" was the only way to get us there.

We can view this sidetrack as a lesser alternative. We can feel like we're being pulled away from coasting in a certain direction. We can wonder why we're being sidelined.

However, we must not lose sight of two very important things.

One, God is still the engineer.

And two, that sidetrack leads somewhere.

You see, on God's sidetrack you aren't pulled to a stop. No, His sidetrack keeps going. And if you find yourself at a standstill, it's because you put on the brakes…

May I paraphrase here?

"And we know that God causes all TRACKS to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."
(Romans 8:28, NASB)

So, today "The Hub" and I will be heading off to the orthopedic doctor. Today we're traveling in a different direction. Today we begin the new journey that God wants us to take.

Frankly, I'm sorta excited about this new *sidetrack.*

I'll keep you posted on what I see along the way!

(Tell me you got that last pun...)

Has God ever *sidetracked* you?

What did you learn along the new way?

(Please join me at Joan's Grace Cafe!)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. I loved this post! Very sorry to hear about The Hub's broken ankle! (how'd it happen?) I also loved seeing the word 'track' in Rom8:28. I've become very familiar with that scripture over these last two years but after reading all about sidetracked, it really does take on a fresh meaning. Thank you!

  2. You got it, sister - I am sidetracked! Totally sidelined! Your Word today has encouraged me greatly. Yes - this is what God keeps saying - He is driving the train for my good and His best purposes - so they are to lift me up - not cast me down. Presently I feel like I have been put out to pasture. What had been a work situation full of potential just a month ago - the reality has become just the opposite, and I am crushed at the changes I've made to make room for a career change that finds me in the center of a black hole. God wants me to respond in His Spirit - oh, that I have the strength and discernment to know what and how in this humiliating time.

    Joy in the journey . . .

  3. Your poor husband with the broken ankle!! Glad he is working on getting it taken care of and got home safely from his trip. I have never been to a Women of Faith conference, but I hear they are awesome! I look forward to hearing what you share about it, Sharon.

    I think when faced with a sidetrack, we shouldn't despair about it, but look forward to seeing what God might be trying to teach us about it. But I know my first thought a lot of times is not that, its usually how soon will things get back to "normal" again :)


  4. I hope he is okay. Gosh - how will he get to work?

    And another name for sidetracked is ADHD and I know ALL about it.


  5. So sorry that "The Hub" broke his ankle, but glad that his injury wasn't worse! Sidetrack...that IS an interesting term. I like how with the original definition of the word, being sidetracked was a GOOD thing. It was a diversion that avoided a terrible mishap! The conductor drove the train onto the sidetrack ON PURPOSE! Well, I've just sidetracked myself and I'm extremely excited! I gave notice at my job today and am so looking forward to where God is leading me now! Being sidetracked with the Lord is a great place to be! I hope your husband heals quickly!

    Blessings, Joan

  6. Sharon:

    I'm so sorry for your hubby, but so glad for your attitude here! May the days ahead be fresh and new experiences, with good surprises, in this 'yet another' adventure!


  7. Ohhh my goodness Sharon, I will continue to pray for your husband and his ankle, that it mend before it needs anything further in Jesus name.

    Yet this post on "sidetrack" was right on track!
    Amazing how you write these wonderful experiences and bring them to life and give us such great spiritual tie-overs! I was so concerned as you led us through the waiting and phone calls, and not connecting to find out... OUCH! How horrible... glad you made it to ER in one piece with so much worrying. Plus your husband likes to "tough it out alone"... hmpf.
    Glad that he went to take care and I hope that the healing will be enough and complete.

    but, my... how I love how you wrote this part:
    "'s a train ride. We go humming along the track, coasting and enjoying the scenery – when all of a sudden, we get sidetracked. Things come to a screeching halt. We're put out of commission."

    Perfect! Too many times, I (we) assume it's the other side of the track causing us to be derailed or sidetracked when indeed it may be from God Himself. That God can foresee the "oncoming train" and save us, inspite of us.

    I really love your attitude through this also, teaching me so much and your paraphrase. Great!
    I'm thankful to look ahead and trust God as my Engineer... and wait as you keep us posted as you sidetrack or let us know what happens along the way. Hope all is well from your visit and you enjoy together being sidetracked, resting and allowing God to heal.

    I know God has sidetracked me many times to avert a precarious or dangerous situation. That's how I learned to trust completely in Him, come to Him regularly for my protection, plead for protection daily, and go where He leads His way rather than mine (even when I'm outta step)
    and truly DEPEND on Him. God's alternatives at times don't look like they come from Him so that's where spiritual discernment becomes so important. (Wish I had yours) but I'm learning and developing/strengthening with God...

    Thanks Sharon as always... good thought provoking truths and lights,

  8. So good! I'm glad I found your blog, I love how you think.

    I host a link up on Fridays called Brag on God Frida. It seems like something you would like.

  9. Sharon - I'm so sorry about your husband's ankle, but thankful it wasn't worse. (Plus you have kept your humor in all this.)

    Yes, God sometimes takes us on sidetracks, but He is the engineer and in control. And do keep us posted on "what you see along the way."

    Thanks for linking up today!

  10. In a bit of wonderful Providence, the preacher for the tent meeting we have all week addressed this EXACT thing on Sunday morning.

  11. Both my husband and I thank all of you for sending your well wishes our way. He is definitely sidelined - needing to stay home all the time. But God is bonding us in new ways as we learn how to travel down this *sidetrack*.

    God knows what He's doing - and I'm trusting that He WILL bring much good out of this situation.



"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

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