Life is change
Growth is optional
Don't miss the opportunity.
Truth be known, I'm a bit of a creature of habit. Okay, I am a lot a creature of habit. I take great comfort in knowing how things are going to go and having a sense of at least a modicum of control.
Oh, I know intellectually that life changes in a heartbeat. I know that I don't have control. I know that, but I don't have to like that.
At times I wish I was the kind of person who always stepped back during great change, hard change and said...
"Woo Hoo! What a great adventure. Everything is changing. I'm sure I'll learn so much."
There are people like that.
I'm not always one of them.
When life is great and it all makes sense and is at least somewhat predictable, I am most at ease. When the proverbial apple cart is dumped upside down and the apples are scattering all over the place, I have a great sense of dis-ease.
Recently a few of my apples have been all over the place and I am sitting watching them go to and fro and shaking my head and talking to God big time.
I am asking God to help me know what to do next. His will, not my will. His vision for me, not my vision for me.
And it seems like the lives of many of my dear family members and dearest friends are also in a time of hard change as well. Lots of hurt and sadness going around. Times of great adjustment and loss. Times of dreams broken and shattered and scattered.
Times of fear for what lies ahead.
What next, God? What do I do now, God?
How am I to make sense of this, God. How will I possibly get through this, God?
And truthfully, it's so hard to see my changes and their changes and know how to grapple with them.
My changes seem so small in comparison to the hard changes of others I hold dear. I almost feel guilty being rattled by them. When my sweet friend Vicky Westra, who has stage four breast cancer, has just lost her Mom and then goes to an oncology appointment and learns that three of her tumors are growing again...how do we let the magnitude of all that sadness and fear and hard change in?
Changes seem to be everywhere. I want to be grateful
for all of the life-lessons that accompany them. I want to choose to grow and absorb the opportunity provided to me!
That said, while I consider myself an optimist, I am also a realist. Some of these changes are gigantic and may not have a happy ending, by my definition of how it should all turn out.
My plan may not line up with God's greater plan.
Yet I still believe in miracles. I believe in hope. I believe in faith and trust that God has got this, no matter what. No matter what it is or how hard it is.
I believe that each change, especially the ones that require the most faith and trust, is an opportunity for new growth. I believe that the Lord God is in the midst of each change, no matter how large or small, and holding the dear one going through it. I believe we are never alone, even when we feel we are.
Change and fear and resistance and belief in God and a ray of hope all seem to be braided together, woven like yarn on a loom. Where does one stop and the other start?
When things seem scary, and hard changes seem everywhere, I have a ritual of sorts. I talk and process and pray and read and pray some more.
I cry and cry and talk and grieve and pray.
And then I read...the Bible and some of my "go to" books.
When I remember...
"Fear not for I am with you.
My rod and my staff, they comfort you,"
I feel the power of that ray of hope, God's hope.
When I read my "go to" book, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, and the entry for Saturday, April 18th says,
"I have designed you to need Me
moment by moment"
I am comforted. That's so true, Lord. So, so true. They need you. I need You. Every moment.
And when I also read another of my "go to!" books, Elizabeth Lesser's
How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow,
I start to make sense of how times of hard change
help to transform us. We may feel like we are going through a "Phoenix Process," as Elizabeth calls it.
The Phoenix Process is...
"surrendering to a time of great difficulty, allowing the pain to break us open, and then being reborn-
stronger, wiser, and kinder. We can come through the shattered pieces of a difficult time. Our lives ask us to die and be reborn every time we confront change- change within ourselves and change in our world. "
So this morning as I write this and the sun is not yet up, I take a breath and say a prayer. I am asking God Almighty to be there with us when the apples are in the cart and when they are rolling all over. I am asking Him to give us a sense of His peace, a peace that passes all understanding. I am asking Him to help me and help my dear loved ones surrender to the time of difficulty, the Phoenix Process, that we might be transformed. And I hold tight to HOPE, His hope, a hope I can trust. And I believe. Above all, I still believe.
And could I ask a favor? If you believe in the power of prayer, would you please pray for my soul-sister Vicky Westra. Please pray for strength and hope and support and that she would know how deeply she is loved. Thanks!
Amen, Amen and Amen!
"If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old." ...