How To Respond When Life Sends Detours

Trusting God Down Unplanned Roads

Sometimes life seems to detour. We set-out in one direction and curves in the road turn us away from our goals or dreams—especially in motherhood.

When Life Sends A Detour

(photo courtesy of unsplash)

These past five years God curved many roads for our family. Serious health issues with our son. Joblessness. Two major moves. A surprise pregnancy. New jobs. Graduate school. Unexpected deaths of loved ones. Loneliness. Depression.

Lots of detours.

When we see God leading us down an unplanned road how are we to respond?

This question reminds me of a road-trip in my early days of marriage and parenting.

Road Trip Detour

My toddler son and I joined Jason (hubs) at a ministry conference in San Diego, CA. We lived in the Los Angeles area at the time and planned to follow Jason home up the 5 freeway.

A few miles in, I made my way into the center lane, but Jason hung on the right shoulder.  Hmm… doesn’t he know to come over?   I stuck to my plan: drive up the five.

Unexpectedly Jason veers right onto an exit that led to a rural highway.

I scrambled to merge over two lanes to follow him on the detour, but the oblivious drivers squeezed me in and I missed the turn off.  Great!  Jason went the wrong way and now we are separated!

Buzz, buzz.  My cell phone vibrates.  I hit the speaker button.

“Why didn’t you follow me?”  Jason said.

“You didn’t stay on the 5,” I said.

“The GPS recalculated based on traffic.”

“Well, I thought you were going to get over and by the time I realized it, you were gone.”

“Guess we are driving home separately, then.”

“Guess so.”  Click.


If I just followed him on the detour and not assumed he needed to be in the middle lane, I would be driving on that freeway.

Traffic Jam

(photo courtesy of pixabay)

Unnecessary Trials 

About an hour into my drive in bumper to bumper traffic Kavin starts to freak—crying—screaming—kicking his legs. Every minute of his antics twisted my frustration even further.

It took two hours more for us to arrive home—my neck and jaw pounding—both Kavin and I in tears.

Jason held me in his arms and soothed my heart with words of compassion.

“I barely hit any traffic. I enjoyed a beautiful detour through the wine country.”  He said.

He also arrived more than an hour ahead of us.

“I should have followed you,” I said.

“Even if we go the wrong way, at least we will be together,” He said as he kissed my forehead.

There Together

God just wants us to follow Him. He knows what detours to take to avoid unnecessary delays—or what delays are necessary for His glory to live through our lives.

Down Rocky Roads

Following God down unplanned paths sometimes includes breakdowns. Like friends of ours who just graduated seminary and moved back to their home country, only to discover the wife/mom is sick with cancer. They already drove down the cancer road once. Again, Lord?

Proverbs 16:9 – In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.

When we choose to follow Him, no matter what pot holes we sink into along the way, or how much longer the road seems, at least we are there together with Him.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

Motherhood Detours

Just take one parenting day and we see many points of detoured plans.

Some irritating: school lunch forgotten—tired kids complaining—clean house demolished—rice cooker left unplugged.

Then the detours that make life beautiful. Unplanned tickle sessions—playing hide-in-seek—stolen kisses—building forts.

Let’s Follow God’s Leading

Whether the detours are simple motherhood challenges or gifts—or major life plans turned in unexpected directions—let’s follow Jesus willingly. Unlike my stubborn willfulness on the 5 freeway, let’s not miss the plans God prepared for us in advance so we may walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).

PRAY: God, it is hard for me to trust you sometimes when things don’t happen the way I think they should. I’m sorry for not trusting You. Please lead me in all the plans you have, even when they are unexpected. Help me to follow you in faith, no matter my fears or doubts. I want to follow you every step of the way. AMEN.

When Life Sends Detours


ACT: Sit in silence for a few moments and ask God to show you if there is a road He wants to lead you down that you are reluctant or afraid of. If so, talk to the Lord about your fear and ask for help.


Question:Have you ever been led down a detour in life? How did you see God work? To leave a comment, just click here.

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