Today marks the fourth year of a season of learning to accept, embrace, and yes, even love change! It started as we left the only church family we had known while living in Upstate New York where we had moved ten years before from Texas (As if that wasn’t a big enough change). Leaving a church and all that goes with that process is never easy. Especially as we thought we would be in this church and in this area for the rest of our lives. But that was not to be and we learned our first lesson in change.
- When God tells you to move on…move on! (Genesis 12:1)
Genesis 12:1 “The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.”
After a year of wrestling with God and becoming miserable as we continued to suffer hurts and rejection we submitted to what we knew deep inside through the Holy Spirit’s prompting and finally submitted to the verse He gave us (above). When we left we had no idea where He was leading us but we knew that we were being asked to trust Him and to go…abandoning fear and believing in faith that He would guide us.
I know these are difficult to so many as change can be daunting, but we learned our second lesson.
Change is necessary for spiritual and personal growth.
I won’t even pretend to try to convince you that change is easy to embrace, but I will say that as you take that step of faith you begin to see the plans of God unfold and the natural progression is increased faith. In the book of Exodus we see that the Israelites were weary from their time spent as slaves in Egypt so God led them out and to what seemed to be an impossible situation. I can imagine the beginnings of faith taking root in their lives as each obediently walked through the parting waters of the Red Sea. Even with that amazing display of power they still had much more changes and challenges that lie ahead.
For our family, the next three years would lead us to three different church environments trying to find where we fit in to God’s plans. It was painful to say the least. False accusations, jealousy, and pain where a part of all of those experiences but that is where we learned our next lesson on change…
- Hardships flex our faith muscle just like exercise flexes our physical ones.
I’ve recently started working out 5 days a week and shortly after each workout my muscles become sore. When someone works out what is actually happening to their muscles is their lactate levels increase, and microscopic damage to the muscle fibers and connective tissue take place. The soreness that is felt after a workout is caused by our muscles naturally learning and responding to new activity. In the same way working through change can be difficult as we learn mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically to respond to the new activity/changes in our lives. Just like working out, the end result is always worth it! We become stronger!
Not only did we go through all that I have described above, but there was personal heartache. Lost relationships for each of us, broken trust, a cancer scare, the suicide of a friend of our daughter, my father moving in with us due to poor health, the alienation by loved ones, the loss of loved ones, our failed attempt at building our dream home, job loss, and of course the accident that almost claimed the lives of our three youngest babes, and the PTSD, depression and physical and mental struggles that would follow that accident for me. Yet, even in the midst of what seemed to be a never ending desert the Lord was still teaching. Our next lesson on change is…
- God is not only to be found on the mountaintops of our lives, but also in the valley.
Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
In the book of 1 Kings there was a battle that took place when the Arameans marched against the Israelites (See 1 Kings 20:23-30). The Arameans who believed that Israel’s God was only a god of the hills went out to wage war against God’s people. Scripture reveals that while the Aramean army covered the countryside, in comparison the Israelites looked like two small flocks of goats. Israel felt weak in small and fared better fighting in the hill country than in the flat plains where their enemies had horses and chariots.
I don’t know about you but change has a way of making me feel isolated and small just like the Israelite’s in the situation above. Change can and doesmake us feel vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy. He loves us to feel isolated and wants to separate us from feeling like we are part of the flock. But God wants us to remember that He doesn’t ask us to go anywhere that He is not and His end goal is to draw us closer to Himself and His plans for our lives and lead us into victorious living in Him!
1 Kings 20:28 “This is what the LORD says. “Because the Arameans think that the LORD is a god of the hills and not a god of the valleys, I will deliver this vast army into your hands, and you will know that I am the LORD.”
This brings me to my final lesson.
- God uses change in our lives to fulfill His perfect plans for our lives!
1 Corinthians 2:9 “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him-“.
It makes me think of all the amazing things that Abram would have missed out on, including becoming had he rejected God’s call to change. Yes, there were difficult times as well and just as Abram we will walk through our desert seasons but just think of what we would miss out on should we hold onto “the familiar” and never venture out “into the wild” with our God for fear of change.
I can say with all honesty that we have left a season of spiritual drought (a good sign you may need change) and have entered into a new season and love the church family the Lord has led us to. Here we are being cared for, strengthened, and fed.
In seasons of change we learn the faithfulness of our God and it strengthens our resolve to follow Him wherever He may lead.
As children of God we are not called to live by fear…but by faith!
“Embracing change has the exact opposite effect on our fears. It conquers them and fuels our faith!”
How about you? What change is God asking you to make in this season that you are resisting? I would encourage you to make a list of the things you would have to lose by not following God’s call of change. Next make a list of what you would have to gain should you move out of your comfort zone to follow God’s prompting in your life and embrace change. Now would you join me by going to Him today in prayer asking for the faith to follow through with whatever He is revealing to you in the area of change?
As always, I would love to hear from you. Your thoughts, the lessons you learned from seasons of change, or how I can pray and agree with you in this season!
Thank you for stopping in!