Things Change…It’s Hard

Time to make some changes?  How are you with change?  Do you go with the flow?  Do you have to be dragged along into the change?  Do you find change is easy for you, or is it hard?  Change can mean we have to make a U-Turn and go back, or it can be going in the direction you are going with changes, or forward with a possible detour to something new.  Sometimes its leaving something behind that needs to be left, and sometimes we are moved forward toward something new.

Here are a few definitions:

  • change is different from what is.
  • make or become different.
  • the act or instance of making a future course change.

We don’t usually ask for change, ever notice that?  So, I would assume from that, change is not so welcome to most of us.  We might think, what if we want change and it doesn’t come to us?  What if it does?  Ok.  Let’s say it doesn’t seem to come for us.  Are we willing then to do something else?  Are we willing to stay where we are and ask God to change us so we can be more content where we are?  The struggle is real!  No matter how we define our life, it will require us to take some type of action.  It can look like a big mountain before us, but God will make a way around or through.  Nothing is too big for Him!

Let me share some of my changes with you so you know that I know about changes.  Since 1992, there have been many changes.  That year I had the unexpected death of my mother.  Big changes there as I helped my dad navigate life after losing the love of his life.  I was a fill in driver for my dad as his eyesight became an issue.  Changes…  In 1996, I became a single parent with 3 boys, and in 1998, a divorce.  Later a remarriage.  A step-daughter added to the family.  So from 1996 to 2015, I have moved 13 times in 19 years.

  • A move to Missouri is one big change.
  • Another one of those changes was the loss of my dad from complications from a car accident so back to Washington.
  • Yet another one was a move to Idaho; both of these Idaho and Missouri moves were away from family and friends.
  • The move to Missouri meant moving two times while there.
  • Next, a move back to Washington; both of the above two moves were into houses sight unseen.  We only talked by phone and made arrangements. We depended on God to take care of us.

Changes…

Change isn’t just about location, although it is hard to break into new neighborhoods, churches, and make connections.  It can sometimes be about being set apart for a season from everything you know, so that, you can have more time for something you are called to do. I have found that because of so many changes, I have gotten better at it, and I am better at turning it over to God. I am feeling pretty good about it most of the time.  THEN, comes a BIG change that hits me sideways, and I have to remind myself again of what I need to do.  My head knows, but my heart?  Not so much.  However, the quicker I take it to God, the more clarity I have of His direction.  I’m not letting my feelings get involved first, but God’s direction.

So what’s the solution?  Maybe thanking God for placing us where we are is a good start.  Confession?  I like my house and all we have done with it.  I LOVE being close to the ocean!  But if I could, I would move back closer to my family and friends in a millisecond!  However, I’m not in that position.  God has a different idea for a different purpose.  And His different purpose just might be a smaller connection than what I thought it was when we moved here.  You see, He definitely answered my prayers for a quiet place to live!  I have a wonderfully scenic back yard with the deer to watch come and go at times.  Not much traffic and quiet enough to hear birds singing and watch them come and go in the trees.  I prayed for that.  He answered that.  But it looks different from what I thought it would be.  Change usually is.  I have to accept that God knows what is best and He will help me in these circumstances that He has brought me to.  He has called me away from the noise, but for a different purpose; to study, and to do a little excavating within myself.  I need to ask Him to help me see where I need to change and what I might need to do differently.  Or  bigger yet?  Where I might need to THINK differently.  Allow Him to do the work He wants to do in me and not be yanking at His arm trying to pull away from His grip like a child would do to a parent.  Because…He will allow me to pull away if I want to go my own way.  But that isn’t what is the better path for me.  In fact, that will just get me into trouble.  He reminds me that I don’t have to see where the path is going all the time.  He does.

What changes may God be telling you to get ready for?  What changes might you need to make within you so that you are content where you are right now?  Are you living for what Jesus has for you to do?  Or are you living out what YOU want to do in your life, as you convince yourself it is God’s calling?  It’s easy to do.  I have gotten stuck there a few times.  Ask the hard questions and God will give you answers.  But…be ready.  Here comes the truth!

The Bible says, “How a man/woman thinks in his/her heart, so is he/she.”  The decisions we make, makes the lives we live.  So, the bottom line for me is this question in the words of a well-known man, Chuck Colson, “How Now Shall We live?”  I, and only I, can decide.

Until next time…

~JoAnn

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Love In Action With A Servant’s Heart

 

Is it well with your soul today?  It is well with mine.  I wanted to share a little more about my experience following the adventures that God has me on.  Namely…helping my friend after her surgery.  You see, I believe that God places people in our lives to help us walk it out.  Without them, our life would be much more difficult, and sometimes, we just might feel like giving up.  But when we can find someone who we can share life with, cry with, laugh until our sides ache, just sit with, help in times of need and hurt, THAT is when we need to leave our cares behind, and be love to someone else.  It causes us to get our eyes off of ourselves and onto the task of loving on someone who needs it.  That was my experience.

The Captain all packed and ready for the journey north.

I have known this friend since we were in second grade, and I’m not telling you how long ago that was, but let’s just say, it’s been a while.   We have done many firsts together…firsts for her

Squirrels in her yard were so fun to watch.

and first for me.  We both enjoy going to the ocean and walking on the beach in silence, or even at different paces, and when we go to the ocean, the first thing we do is throw wide open the doors to hear the ocean waves.  Then we sit and say, “Ahhhh…” at almost the same time.  We can talk about anything and have gone through many things together.  So I didn’t think twice when God put on my heart, AND that of my husband, for me to go up and help her after surgery.  We rearranged our plans for our get-away, and away I went; The Captain and I.  I have totally been blessed with many of these kinds of friends and have received the same kind of help from them at times.  That is what relationship is all about.  If I have something I can do for someone, and it is in my power to do so, I will do it.  I always have…I always will.

So what did I learn in this adventure?

  • God provided the resources for us to do this.
  • When He puts something on your heart, He will take care of the details.
  • He gave me the strength to get up every 2 hours.
  • He gave me energy to help out with all that was needed and cooking a meal, and never feel tired during the time I was there.
  • It isn’t about me in this life.
  • It is about what I can do and give to make life easier to see Jesus every day.
  • I don’t do it on my own.  I learned that doesn’t work way back in Junior High School.  I still had bumps in my journey, and I still do.  But God is the one who helps me through it, keeps me strong and focused on the right thing…Him.
  • We love to show the heart of Jesus.
  • Her family got to see love in action.
  • It’s not about the person I am, but the person I have become BECAUSE of Him that I want them to see.  We live like Jesus as best we can, with His help.

We had her surgery, her husband took a fall the next day and hurt himself, and another emergency all within 36 hours of my coming.  When your friend covers her head with a blanket after all that happened and sobbed, you KNOW why you are there.  You sit down, you cry because your heart hurts with and for her, and you assure her that we will make it through this one together too.

A cup with a Starbucks card given to me by my friend’s daughter-in-law.

I ended up rooming with her, because of her husbands fall and he needed to be on the lower level.  How fun…it was like junior high and high school and many times after that…laughing into the night.  Doing her exercises and laughing so hard we could hardly do the exercises.  But I found I had to watch her too.  She is Miss Independent and would try to do it on her own.  God helped me to wake up at her moves and anticipate what she was doing.  I told her it was like in an old folks’ home; I was putting her walker on my side of the room so I would know what she was sneaking to do.  Or in exercises, we would be giggling over the leg lifts that aren’t coming even an inch off the bed and you couldn’t help laughing as I would ask her if she was lifting her leg!  I remember that feeling.   Then in the quiet of night, you think about some of those things and burst out laughing because you picture it all over again!  Yep!  And of course, trying to be sort of quiet when its 2 am in the morning or 4 am in the morning as you get up to use the rest room.  We would say “shhhh to each other back and forth” and I’m sure made more noise than was necessary telling each other to be quiet!  We also had breakfast together, lunch together, and dinner together.  Conversation and dreaming together.  That is awesome times right there!

Gift basket waiting for me in my room when I got there. How sweet is she??

I was reminded we aren’t promised a tomorrow and we need to take care of ourselves and be our own best advocate for living.  It brought back some hard memories for me because its only 3 years or so ago that I went through it with both knees at the same time.  I recognize the pain.  I know the struggle.  I have been there.  But you see, that is why God can use me.  I can sit alongside them and say, I know what that feels like.  Don’t sit on the sidelines, when you can be a help or encouragement to others.  THAT is ministry.  That is living a joyful and purposeful life.  After it is all said and done, she and I changed the world sitting in our chairs, over a mocha.  That’s good stuff!!  When we do what God suggests we do, and we are obedient to it, God will get us through it by walking with us.  I have had many friends in my life that have been that kind of people to me and it makes me feel great to pay it forward.

Who might you be the hands and feet of Jesus to today?  Are you willing to give up your schedule or time to follow through?  One less post on Facebook to send a text or make a phone call, or even a day without technology to help someone, have some quiet time, or whatever it is in your life that you need to do.  I got in the car to leave, left her crying and I was crying, but I thanked God for the time I got to spend helping her.  She deserved the help.  She helps others all the time.  God knew.  He gave something back to her and just used me to do it.  Love how God works!

So now this next week, I get to be the hands and feet of Jesus to another gal, and also to my husband after his surgery.  God keeps us humble and uses us when we notice where He is working.  I ask God for opportunities to be there for someone.  He always answers.  Always… I hope you find encouragement for your journey through these thoughts on my adventure.  I pray these thoughts push you out of your comfort zone and you begin asking God to show you ways you can love on others also.

 

Until next time…

~JoAnn