November 26, 2019

My Tattered Map - Marnie Pohlmann

I gaze at the map as it once again lays open on the table. It is well used, crinkled, and faded. Spills have stained it, hiding parts of the contoured landscape. Some of the folds have torn from being manipulated too many times while studying the way to go, and by constantly trying to restore it to its original state. Highlights and ink spin a web of trails across the country, circling some of the special places I have enjoyed.

I consider a starting point and my finger traces along the road to see how far I have been. Like a maze, though, I follow the path only to remember how I had turned back to find another way. I recall those trips. Sometimes I had become lost. Other times, a rabbit trail took me off the planned route.

Backing away from the table, I look at the map from further away. Overall, it seems I have not traveled to many destinations I had meant to visit. Some of my friends have shared wonderful stories of their adventures to those places; places for book releases, successful sales, or awards.

On the table beside the map is my Bible. Pen and highlights mark the pages. Corners are folded and some pages are glued together from sticky fingerprints. It is well used. Flipping through the thin sheets, I can trace the journey of my life through this map, too.

With a sigh I take a closer look at the journey of my life. Am I disappointed? A little. The map shows trails I had not been meant to travel. There were times I walked shortcuts through dangerous terrain, daring the darkness to overtake me. And there were times I followed the direction of people I should not have listened to. Yet although I have not traveled to where I had wanted, or to where I thought I wanted, I have discovered some exciting and special places I will never forget. And I have had wonderful companions on many of my adventures.

My eyes shift between my marked map and my marked Bible. I overlay some of the onion paper with highlighted Scripture onto my worn map and see how God has spoken to me throughout my journey. God’s Word has provided teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training. On the rabbit trails, He gently showed me His truth that redirected my path. In the dark times, He provided protection and comfort, encouraging me to make better choices in how and where I traveled. When I was lost, God’s light shone on the path He desired me to follow.

Both my map and my Bible look tattered but are filled with who I am, and who I desire to be.

I close my Bible and gather the map, once more folding it along the ever-thinning creases. The result is an uneven bulk of paper. It does not look like it was meant to any more than my journey looks like I meant it to look, but it is still what it is. The map reflects my past and reveals the place where I presently find myself.

I tuck the map into my Bible, ready to continue my travels, wherever the journey may take me. I try now to depend more on God’s map than my own, so I am sure to discover delightful company and destinations, all of which will provide new marks on the map - my map, that tells my story. This is the story I write about and share.
“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
(Psalm 119:105 NASB)

Read about Marnie's journey on her blog, Phosphorescent.


  1. "Both my map and my Bible look tattered but are filled with who I am, and who I desire to be." A tattered, well used map and bible speak of a life lived seeking pathways to discover ourselves and Him. Lovely post, Marnie!

  2. Thanks for your eloquent metaphor of your life journey, Marnie! "Am I disappointed?" you asked.I related to your thought: "Yet although I have not traveled to where I had wanted, or to where I thought I wanted, I have discovered some exciting and special places I will never forget." I'm reminded, too, that a lot of these places are where God took me on journeys I might not have otherwise taken. He knows best which routes and destinations we're to take.

  3. Once again your words have drawn me in. This is such an eloquent and beautifully written post. Thank you for expressing yourself in such a way - and keep on truckin'!

  4. Well written, Marnie. I can't wait to hear more of where your story leads you.

  5. Our paths are filled with many directions and choices. It's not always the perfect path we choose that provides the best memories either. Sometimes the trail is filled with unexpected blessings but just knowing that God is there with us on every one of those trails is a great feeling. He's there in the disappointment and the good times. I love how you tuck your map inside your bible - a reminder for us that all of life's journeys begin and end with God.

  6. Once more, Marnie, your metaphor delights and enlightens. Good, strong writing! Keep at it, Marnie. May each of us keep God’s light shining brightly on our pathway. Amen.

  7. Wow, Marnie, what a beautiful piece of writing and compelling story. I am currently reading Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering by Timothy Keller and although our life journeys are not picture perfect, God uses them to grow us and to glorify Himself. As John Newton said, "Everything is needful that He sends; nothing can be needful that He withholds."

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