Since last summer, I have been dealing with many changes in my life. Some good changes and some not so good changes. Each change though was and is part of the plan God has for me, He was not surprised by any of them. I have known that fact in my head for a long time, but getting it to my heart, well, that has not been the easiest thing to do. Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have made for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” As I see it, going through all that I have been going through is to help make me strong, strong in my faith.
You may ask me, how can it make you strong when you are going through so much? In my weakness, I see that I cannot do it alone. I need someone to come along side and help me. That does not always need to be a physical person, it can be God. For me, I always thought I needed another person to help me out, but I am learning that I can do some things that I never thought I could do on my own. There has been one person who has consistently told me that I need to lean more on Christ and not on people. In my mind, I was seeing that as rejection and abandonment. It was not. It was his way of telling me, teaching me that I need to lean on Christ and Trust Him for all my needs and not humans. Has it been easy? No. As a human, God makes us, for love, companionship, family, etc. As a single woman, that is hard to swallow sometimes, especially when you see others getting married and having children, while you remain single and without a family of your own. Nevertheless, God is teaching me that although I am single, I still have worth in His eyes. He made me to be who I am. He knew what path I would take. He knew I would be receiving the various diagnosis I received, He knew I would lose my job, He knew the outcome of the appeal I just completed, and I know He knows what my future holds. Did I see any of this coming? No and believe me, I have lost it more than once at God for what I have been going through and no, He’s not mad at me, He understands the anger and frustration I have been feeling.
In Joel 3:10b it says: “…Let the weakling say; “I am strong!”” (NIV) As a Christian, I can only be strong when I allow God to fill me and guide me. However, I am also human and have many human weaknesses. I have fears and trust issues. I have control issues. We all have issues that keep us from fully giving ourselves to the Lord. What are yours? Only you can answer that question. Only you can decide for yourself if you want to accept the Gift of Life that God so freely gives you. His only Son, Jesus, paid the price for us. We do not have to do anything, but accept the gift of salvation, the gift of mercy, the gift of God’s grace.
Now, I am sure you are asking yourself, how this relates to dealing with changes in your life or my life. Good question! Because I was there. I did not have the faith I needed or should have had. I have been a Christian since I was 10 years old. I know what the Lord requires of me. I went to a Christian University. I took the Bible and Theology classes. But, you know what? I became complacent. I became bored with it. I started hanging with the wrong people and got my eyes off God and onto people. People used me for their own ends. People treated me as if I was worth nothing, a piece of trash. What did I do? I internalized it. I thought that if so many people were saying and doing the same things about me, then it must be true. For many years, I thought that. Then, I started going back to Church, I got interested in the Bible again, not as I am now, but I was reading it some and going to church, some. Then this last summer, my world crashed. I had some big diagnosis and I had no job. I fell into a depression and I yelled at God and treated some people bad. I was a mess. Crying all the time and just not doing well. Then I was able to go back to church on a consistent basis and things have turned around for me. I have gotten back in with people who love the Lord and practice that love. I have gotten back with people who believe as I believe and are supportive of my journey, not knocking me for who I am right now, but loving and encouraging me to keep keeping on, to continue to grow and learn about God’s love. The Bible Study group that I am in is an awesome bunch of women, who love the Lord and each other. We support each other in whatever is going on in each other’s lives. We encourage each other and lift each other up in prayer. I had not had that in many years on a consistent basis. God has brought me back to a place where I am being fed His word, learning His precepts and going back to the basics of my beliefs. The whole church is doing The Purple Book by Rice Broocks and Steve Murrell. This also includes our teens. Each lesson is filled with scriptures and questions regarding those scriptures. Questions designed to make you think and dig into the meaning of those verses. We have some great discussions in class regarding some of those questions. Each of us brings our unique point of view and experiences into the discussion, which helps in understanding the scripture more deeply, at least for me.
Changes in life are inevitable. It is how we deal with them that is the issue. If we have Christ in our hearts and our lives, He is right there with us with His loving arms around us, leading us to where He needs us to go. If we don’t, what do we have to help us through? Alcohol? Drugs? Gambling? Sex? Video games? With Christ, there is hope for better things to come. Without Christ, there is no hope. I am not saying that Christians are better than anyone else is. We are not. We all have issues, but those whose trust is in God have someone at their side no matter what happens. God does not leave us or stop loving us just because we sin. He loves us still. I know for many that this a very hard concept to fathom. I guess the best example I can use to show you the love of God is from the Bible itself. In I Kings 3:16 – 28. It is the story of two prostitutes who lived in the same house. They both had babies. When one baby died, they ended up going before King Solomon. They argued before him and he asked that a sword be brought to him so he could cut the living child in half to give to each of them. The real mother of the child said “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!” The other said “Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!” (V26 NIV). King Solomon gave the baby to his mother. He knew that only the true mother would love her son so much that she would give him up before letting anything bad happen to him. God allows things to happen in our lives so that we may know His power and grace. So that we will come back to Him. A parable from the Book of Luke also shows us the love of a father for his son. In Luke 15:11 – 31 we read of the son who wanted his inheritance and took off for foreign lands. When he had used up all his money, he made his way home to his father. We read in verses 20 – 24, “So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found. So they began to celebrate.” (NIV) In this parable, we see a parallel of God to us. We are the lost son and he is the father. When one of us comes home to Him, there is rejoicing. He never stops loving us.
While some changes are hard, they are necessary. How? To bring us to where we need to be. Even doing my jewelry and other crafts, I have learned to be flexible and make changes to the design or even the pricing. These are good things, although, sometimes, hard for me to do. I have a style I like, but my customers have a style they like. I need to adjust and change with what my customers want. They are growing pains and we all go through them! So, the next time you face a change that is unexpected and unwelcomed, how are you going to react? You need to look deep within yourself for that answer. I cannot give it to you. Only you know where you stand in your faith.