How many of you are experiencing changes in your life right now? Did you discover that with new experiences your eyesight shifts and all of a sudden everyone you meet is facing the same thing?
Years ago, Mike and I bought a white minivan. All of a sudden, every third car on the road was a white minivan. Who would have thought there were so many white vans?
And when you’re pregnant – who do you see? Pregnant women!
Because of this similarity I feel secure assuming that if I’m dealing with big changes in my life right now, a good many of you are also. The interesting thing about change is it brings stress. Even good change. A change like a marriage or a new baby is a wonderful change, yet produces stress none the less.
Hard changes bring even more stress than good changes. It’s difficult enough when a tough situation develops, but when said hard times stretch out like a dog on a rug in front of the fire – settled down to stay – one of several responses will occur:
- what at first is acceptance, may turn to anger
- what at first is trust and peace, can morph into rebellion
- waiting for it to pass may impel us to seek a solution on our own
Does it help or hinder that since this trial began I have, at different points, chosen all three responses? Does it help or hinder that my stress hasn’t abated, the answer hasn’t materialized, and I’m still going through it?
Have I learned anything? Yes. I have learned that God is faithful. I am learning to rest and trust. I am still battling bewilderment, frustration, and the Why?s
Tell me what you’ve learned. Everyone who comments will be entered into a drawing to receive a free Sunday’s Promise. Name will be drawn on March 15th. (Read more on Read more…
Have you ever stopped to assess your pastoral sisters and pondered why some of us thrive in the ministry while others flounder? When someone we’ve known and respected makes choices that are unexpected and devastating, we seek answers. If for no other reason than to prevent ourselves from taking the same tragic course. Appearances are deceiving, and as we gain experience and wisdom we learn not to unconditionally accept what appears to be. Because what appears to be is not the whole story, God looks directly into our heart for the accurate picture.
An illustration on this truth was brought home last summer when a huge wind storm hit Boise. Boise’s nickname is City of Trees. We have a long love affair with trees and every yard, corner lot, park and sidewalk flaunts wonderful speciments that add beauty to our town. In a span of four hours last August, a devastating number of our trees were destroyed. Morning light revealed them lying on the ground, leaning against houses, crushing roofs or cars, and blocking roads.
While the winds had exceeded gusts of eighty miles an hour, we had withstood winds like that and stronger in previous years, so we asked Why had this wind brought down so many trees?
It was discovered that modern irrigation was the culprit. A practice of watering our lawns regularly had trained the trees to spread out their roots and drink the surface water instead of drilling down to drink from the water table. The deep nourishment that would have provided roots for stability was not accessed. And in adversity they toppled.
Keep this lesson in mind this New Year. We can sit in the pew all polished and pressed, attend conferences smiling brightly, but if we do not have any spiritual depth, we will fall when the storm comes. Nourish your spiritual roots this year and remain strong.
And if you’ve already been aware of the necessity for this in your life. Tell us, what do you do to nourish your spiritual roots?
The Thanksgiving holiday this month reminds me that a grateful heart is a healthy woman’s best emotional vitamin. It makes the continual adjustments we inevitably face in the ministry easier to handle. Gratefulness is a comfortable compassion. It enriches our lives manyfold, allowing us to enjoy any size blessing, not just the biggies.
Gratefulness accepts each situation at face value, allowing us to see how it enriches our lives. For instance, it reminds me each Monday how blessed I am to be able to do my laundry in the comfort and convenience of my home instead of lugging piles of dirty clothes to the laundromat. Interestingly, if I was at the laundromat, gratefulness would remind me how blessed I am not to be pounding my dirty garments on the rocks of the river bank. Gratefulness isn’t visionary, it accepts what is instead of longing for what could be. Gratefulness cannot dwell in a heart filled with bitterness.
Like internal smog, bitterness obscures our spiritual sight. It keeps us from enjoying what God has given us. As long as we allow bitterness to dwell within we can never be grateful for the laundromat experience because we feel we deserve the washer/dryer in our home. We’ll assure ourselves we’ve been cheated and list all the ways life has shortchanged us.
But if we daily pray, “Create in me a clean heart, Oh God, and renew a right spirit within me,” we will rid ourselves of this disease of discontent. By repenting we allow the Holy Spirit to wash the windows of our heart. And then we can clearly see all that God has done to bless us.