“Just when I think I have learned the way to live, life changes.” -Hugh Prathner
Change is alive in the seasons, weathered on our skin with age. It’s in the thrust of death, and of birth. It’s the memory as we clean our grown son’s whiskers off the sink, of the pure scent of his baby soft skin years ago.
Some change is not welcome. It’s about sad news, speeding brain loss, the big ‘C’, a loved one dying, financial fall-out, or unwanted divorce. Or it’s tragedy, a tornado sweeping up a community, a son or daughter a victim of violence.
Other change is welcome, a new job, getting married, starting a dream project, a new home.
I’ve had my share of both wanted and unwanted change – some glorious, some horrific – and I’m still here in one piece. In fact, both the welcome and the painful have graced my life with wisdom.
Sometimes change is slow-coming, however other times serendipity steals us away quickly into something new – a fresh surprise, a gift, grace, a person we never knew suddenly showing up from out of the blue, changing the very direction of our lives for good. I love when that happens.
Either way, change signals ending and beginnings, where was is no more, where we find ourselves in something new, as if we walked from miles away finding ourselves standing in the sun.
Sometimes we know deep within us things are about to change, yet we cling to the illusion of stability, of sameness that’s bursting at the seams.
Before it arrives, we ignore it’s cues, like an elephant in the room.
It’s natural to want to resist change. But it’s best to accept the elephant in the room as a new pet, this big magnificent, awkward lump of an animal that needs attention.
Years back, I watched a Tibetan man who worked hours upon hours creating the most colorful and exquisite sand painting, suddenly blow his finished masterpiece into the wind, colorful specs of sand scattering into the atmosphere.
As I watched the grains of sand fly away like multi-colored gnats, I learned a lesson – don’t hold on too tightly to our lives.
Change is a free agent.
This profound moment made me realize stability and beauty are temporary.
Yet, when our clinging is onto God, our one constant in winds of change, when the hurling winds rock our boats, we have a sure anchor.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”-Joshua 1:9
In illness and in health, when we walk through the valley of death, in every change, God is with us assuring safety, strength, comfort and guidance.
When we seek first the kingdom of God, fear has no place, no breathing room. As we trust in God’s supernatural direction, we know, as Julian of Norwich once said, “All shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”
It’s having radical faith in the abundance of God’s love, that “God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches.” -Philippians 4:15
My grocery bill the other day was $29.11 which made me think of a favorite scripture, Jeremiah 29:11 — one I’ve meditated upon over and over again during many difficult life changes.
“For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
It’s knowing God will never leave or forsake us no matter how high the waters of change rise in our days.
And it’s God’s pleasure to give us the kingdom.
Holding on to divine promises, we move forward through mirages of Red Sea impossibilities ahead. In faith, we consider God’s promises our life boats, our wings, our every breath, where God at the helm of change guides us to safe, new ground.
In silence, in prayer, during our spiritual practices, we listen for the quiet voice of God.
“Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go.. the one who will keep you on track.”- Proverbs 3:6 (Msg)
“I will instruct you and teach you the way which you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” (Psalm 32:8)
But sometimes, when change is slow coming, I’m the first to complain, fret, struggle, and lose faith. I’ve even cried. My husband always reminds me, “remember, in God’s time. Look, weren’t you graced with a baby at 40 years old?” At 35-years old, when I thought maybe I’d never marry, I met my husband, my soul mate and best friend.
Change arrived with it’s riches, maybe later than I wanted, but in it’s hands it carried more than I’d ever imagined.
When we’re ready for change, perhaps it’s time to rally out of a year long rut, to launch a creative project, land a new job, take an adventure, grow spiritually, or develop new friendships and relationships. During these times, we need friends, support, hope, and ways to deepen our faith — ways to challenge negative self-talk and doubt. Sometimes we need practical support like a career coach to help us gain clarity, or we need tools to help fine tune and develop needed skills. We may find temporary work while our unfolding visions takes root, and to fulfill our basic needs. As we wait for clarity, we hold near and dear relevant scripture, sacred writings and relevant books that help keep us on course of hearing God’s will.
I’ve written about how I’ve been preparing for the empty nest around the corner, and a needed change in my career. Since this is a biggy, shifting from being a hands on mother for 18-years. to questioning now what, I created a staycation without an end date to assure ample time for reflection during this wanted and needed transition. During my years raising my son, I found a way to be a stay-at-home mom, while creating meaningful work that made a difference. This work came from long months of prayer and reflection. Yet, as years went by I sometimes got lonely or overwhelmed working alone. The purpose God handed me to pursue made it’s way into the world, paving roads for others to now handle. As wonderful and impactful this work has been, as I’ve grown and changed, God is creating in me a new song.
Now with my son towering over me, charting his own new path out in the world, this new composition cracking through fertile soil doesn’t yet have a name or a melody. Yet, it speaks in silent yearnings of community, of working with others again, of joy, inspiration, and bringing meaning to those around me.
It’s a tender sprout requiring God’s loving grace to birth it into the world. Just as a seedling needs sun, water, and enriched soil, such change needs intentional nurturing. Solitude allows unforced rhythms where new songs arise from God’s fertile ground. Prayer brings intimacy with God where the longing of our hearts merge with God’s will for our lives. Here we can put our requests before God, but more important is being receptive to divine wisdom for the next step during this new phase of our lives.
Patience is key. Faith is essential.
.”..when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way. Walk in it.” -Isaiah 30
Are you facing change? We love your thoughts and comments!
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