Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you in this world of constant change and ever moving parts that you are constant. I will focus on you. I will keep my eyes fixed on you so as not to grow weary or dizzy. Right now Lord I am dizzy from all the moving parts and overwhelmed by the tasks that lie ahead. Thank you, for you are my resting place where I can come and give you all my worries.
I want to be strong. But maybe it’s best I’m not because then I have no choice but to rely on Jesus to rescue me. I want to be like my little sister who takes change head on like a warrior goes into battle. It’s as if she is always ready for it and embraces it as if she is welcoming an old friend back into town. We were born into the same family with the same love from two parents and we bare the same battle scares of life from a tragedy that hit when we were too young to understand how our lives would be forever altered. I can’t say why she heads into change with a charging force and I panic and run as fervently as I can in the opposite direction. Maybe that’s why I love running and she hates it with a deep passion.
Well there you go. The thing that threatens to cut me down at the knees before anything else can, CHANGE. I can only tell you that I have harbored these feelings for as long as I can remember. This must be why I can still hear my father saying, “The one constant thing in life is change.” These words made one of his daughters panic and the other’s heart skip a beat with excitement.
Where one father left off the other carries on. The death of my father changed everything. In the summer of 1996 on a beautiful sunny summer day, a day when we should have been swimming with friends or riding in a car singing with the windows down, we watched my father take his last and final breath this side of heaven. He was young, heck we were all young. But that summer the bottom dropped out of my world. It was life altering in ways I still can’t understand. I was fatherless. An orphan at an age when I needed to branch out but still know I had someone to come back to. There was so much change coming at me that I had no focus point. It was as if I was on a merri-go-round that would not stop spinning.
You would think that would cure me right then and there of being afraid of change. And maybe it did some but those old feeling would come back to me when I moved away to pursue my teaching career, before every move and in moments before each of my children were born because I couldn’t stop the change that was about to engulf my life.
OK so problem established, I don’t like change yet I can’t stop it. So then how do I learn to run into change instead of from it? Faith, its the only solution that has ever worked for me. See what my father should have said to me when I was little was, “The one constant thing in life is change AND GOD.” Yes life is constantly changing but in all of that change God and His love for me is, was and always will be constant. He promises me He is the same today, tomorrow and forever (Heb. 13:8, NIV). So where one father left off the other continued. As I began to understand that God’s love for me and His promises would never change, admin all the changes in the world, then I could branch out without fear, knowing that His plans for me are to prosper me and not harm me, to give me hope and a future (Jerm. 29:11). And those promises are for all His children who love and believe in Him.
So how do I constantly remind myself of God’s grace and love and promises? My weapon of choice is scripture, God’s word to me. My scripture board is one of many favorite ways to keep God’s word fresh and ever present in my mind.
Almost two years ago after watching the movie War Room I put up a cork board in my bathroom so that each day as I readied myself for the day ahead I had God’s word right in front of me to read and remind myself. I tend to spend about an hour each morning in my bathroom doing my hair and putting on make-up before work. So for me my bathroom was a logical choice of where to put my scripture board.
My board is filled with scripture from current and past bible studies, prayers for salvation of my family, pictures and drawing. Each piece on my board helps me to remember God’s promises for my life and to remember the places where the horizon looked dark but God bursted through with His redeeming light. We are a forgetful people. We need daily reminders of God’s grace and redemption. God knows this about us and I believe that’s why His word to me this year was REMEMBER.
Each year for the last three years God has given me a word to meditate on throughout the year. This year, 2017, the word is REMEMBER. At first I understood the word to mean that I needed to continue filling my heart and head with His word and His promises. I still believe this is what God intended by the word REMEMBER but as the year has continued I am understanding more why. My family is getting ready to make a change that has been in the works for years. It is a wonderful, exciting change that we have dreamed about and planned for but it is still a little bittersweet. We are on the brink of moving our family out of the only home we have ever known. I remember a people who were given a beautiful promise of hope and beauty but chose to take their eyes of the one who made this dream a reality and as a result they wandered the desert for 40 years.
I want to learn from history, mine and others. I want to move past the crippling feeling of change. Here is a wonderful blessing that truly has God’s hand all over it and if I don’t focus on God speaking to me through scripture then the change will trip me up and hold me down causing me to miss the awesomeness of God. “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ (Matt. 4:4, NIV)”
So I have a choice. One that I have to make multiple times a day. I can chose to keep my eyes on Christ and His promises for my life or I can chose to look back, this looking back didn’t work well for Lot’s wife as she longed for what was instead of God’s saving grace (Gensis 19:26). I don’t aim to repeat Lot’s wife’s or the Israelites history when it comes to moving forward and keeping my focus on God.
In the process of writing this post we have encountered some issues in the process of selling our home. Issues that threatened the sale of our home. Not knowing if our house would sell this time or be put back on the market I began to pack our home in prayer, literally! The only way I knew to fight this time of waiting and wandering was to pray as I packed up our memories and belongings. My weapon of choice is and will continue to be God’s word. With each box I packed I included a piece of scripture written on the top: a promise, a love note from God to me. It’s almost as if each box got detailed directions to where it is going, and I with it. As I began to write these directions on each box I decided to enlist the help of the people God gave me to encourage me. I reached out to my friends and family to give me one piece of scripture for each box. The response was more than I could have hoped for. I enlisted a whole group of people to pray with me and in turn remember where their hope comes from. The idea of course was all God’s doing. God is good! Who needs MapQuest when I have God’s direction!
So I keep my focus each and everyday on where I am going and I REMEMBER that God has given me carefully detailed directions. I believe it is ok to look back at lessons learned, on priceless memories made in kitchens surrounded by God’s blessings and on where God has delivered us from. I look back to an earthly father who loved a little brown eyed girl and thank God for the blessing of having him. I look back to find direction not to find a hiding place. The only hiding place I need is in the Lord. “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance (Psalm 32:7, NIV)”.
Challenge: I challenge you the next time your path looks unclear or there is a fork in the road to focus on God’s direction for your life through scripture. Create your own scripture board and put it in a place where you are sure to see it everyday so that you can remember God’s plan and promises for your life. It may be a screensaver on your phone or computer, a scripture board in your bathroom or even a verse written on your mirror in dry erase marker. I don’t care how you do it , just do it! Recenter and refocus on what God offers you not on what this world offers you!
Additional Challenge: Next time you have a friend, co-worker or family member who is struggling with change I challenge you not to say “it will all work” or “it will be ok” because these are empty words to the person you are speaking to. I challenge you to speak life into their struggle with a piece of scripture. Help them to see what is just on the horizon waiting for them in God’s amazing plan. I have a wonderful friend who never hesitates to do this for me when I am troubled or for that matter happy. Thank you Tonya for always speaking life into me and my situations and circumstances. Iron sharpens iron my friend and you sharpen me daily!