Posted by: Kara Luker | May 11, 2018

Higher and better

I wanted to share a story that might help illustrate my last post about learning to let God lead. My son, Cole, had been in South Carolina attending the Navy’s Nuclear Power School for two years and we missed him like mad. After graduating, he was fortunate enough to get a month off around Christmas before heading to his submarine job in Virginia. It made sense to me that most or, heck, all of his time off should be spent with me, his adoring mother. And the rest of our family, of course. There were other things to do during that time, he explained, but he agreed to meet up with us in Florida for a week where we would be spending Christmas with John’s side of the family. Sure I’d like more, but I was grateful for whatever I could get.


Blurry bliss

The time came to see him and my heart leaped a thousand times. I quickly adjusted to his sleeved arms (sooo many tattoos) and soaked up every minute of his quirky nature and dry humor. Seeing all three of my kids together in all their sweetness and laughter made my heart melt on an hourly basis. It had been a long time.

With our Florida trip coming to an end, I asked (okay, maybe begged) if he could come home with us to California to see my side of the family and extend my happiness… just a wee bit longer. Unfortunately, no, that wasn’t going to work. So I revised my plan in order to suck more life out of our time together. The rest of the family would head back to California while Cole and I lingered a few more days in Florida. Cole agreed. I was happy. It was set… until it wasn’t.

That night, I felt a tug on the reigns. God was speaking and it was clear. I was supposed to go home. It would mean saying goodbye to Cole earlier than absolutely necessary; a very sad reality, especially in light of that fact that we knew he would not have any time off for entire year – at least. But I’d experienced God enough to know that His plans are good, even when I don’t understand. So I let Cole know of the change in plans. And that was that.

The following day, Cole had a change of heart. The things that had felt so pressing suddenly looked to him like they could wait. And he could indeed accompany us out to California. The week (or two?) that followed can only be described as pure magic. I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun with my boy as I did during his visit home. There was so much lightness and laughter. He was able to see my family (who helped raise him and loooove him), as well as some very dear friends. He also got to visit his great grandmother, a last opportunity since she passed away after his return to the Navy. He was even willing to override his extreme aversion to having his picture taken to allow us to take millions of pictures to capture the joy of the visit.

This unexpected and utterly divine experience didn’t come from my attempts to make it happen (all of which all fell flat on their face), but from following the leading of God, who wanted to give me so much more than the couple extra isolated days with Cole I was willing to settle for. As it turns out, he hasn’t gotten leave for well over a year and I’ve only heard his voice once or twice since then, so that time together has been a sustaining gift. Not just for me, but him too, I think, to tuck away for the long journey he’s embarked on.

While following God’s lead doesn’t always provide such immediate delight and gratification, it does always make space for the very best… giving us so much more than the “good” we would have settled for. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9


A boy and his mom.JPG








Chase & Tattoos



Together again

Thanks for indulging me in the sentimental photo journey 🙂



  1. You had to go and make me cry. Gosh, I miss that young man. Thanks for the beautifully written summary and for the wonderful photo strip.

    On Fri, May 11, 2018 at 6:19 AM, where waves grow sweet wrote:

    > karanoel posted: “I wanted to share a story that might help illustrate my > last post about learning to let God lead. My son, Cole, had been in South > Carolina attending the Navy’s Nuclear Power School for two years and we > missed him like mad. After graduating, he was fortuna” >

    • He is so miss-able! But I’m so grateful for all the pictures to remind me of the wonderful time – while still hoping for another. Ps. I think I am going to start putting real photos in a real photo album. Your influence might finally be taking effect!

      Sent from my iPhone

  2. […] that’s been stirring around in my heart and mind. If you don’t mind indulging me, here is a post I wrote in May of […]

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