Wednesday, December 26, 2018

2018: Some Unexpected Changes, While Other Hopes for Change were Unfulfilled

It's hard to believe, but another Christmas has come and gone. I pray your Christmas was full of love and blessings. I'm so thankful ours was uneventful(a large family gathering and a small Christmas Eve meal), but also a little sad...
2018 is almost over...
Where did another year go? 
I had planned on writing many more posts this year, but it just didn't happen.

My word for this year was "change". Yes, I admit, there were several things that brought change for me in 2018...some were good, many were very difficult. Other changes that were anticipated never occurred. 

I'm realizing that's real life, though.
It brings lots of surprises, followed by numerous disappointments. 
But, it's just been one year out of many.

The truth is, the best any of us can do in this life is just do our best and trust God for the rest.

As I think back over 2018, I know I am blessed with changes that I have experienced!!...
  • I have my son back, after he went through a rough marriage/separation, which had put a barrier between us for years.
  • I participated in a weight loss/fitness program and lost 35 lbs and became healthier.
  • My hubby just recently retired from his job of 42 years. There had been several dates for his retirement set over the years, but he finally is officially retired.

There were also changes that I had hoped for that did not occur...
  • Receiving outside help with the caregiving of my mom, who suffers from Alzheimer's Disease. (I never realized how exhausting and challenging caregiving is!) I recently had been reminded that it is the 3 year anniversary of when I quit my job and began caring for her. For over a year I had wanted some help with this and, in August this year, we began the process of officially applying for that help. Unfortunately, the process has been excruciatingly difficult to complete! (Lots of paperwork and hoops to jump through, as well as lack of availability of professional caregivers). After almost 5 months, we still have not gotten any help.
  • Traveling/RVing was something that I had hoped and dreamed to be able to do in 2018. We made a few very short trips(a couple of days each) within our state in our RV. Because retirement plans, as well as not finding caregiver help, had been put on hold, so have our travel plans. There is no timeline set for this for now, so I cannot say if it will happen in 2019 or not.
  • Even though I have my son back, I have prayed for years to share in having a strong faith in God with him, but it hasn't happened, yet. I will continue to pray for this, but only God knows when/if/how this will happen.
Ultimately, I have to say the "changes" for me this year have been an emotional roller-coaster.
I've had some hopes and dreams met, but also some that were crushed.

Some quotes about change...
"Give up the struggle and the fight; relax in the omnipotence of the Lord Jesus; look up into His lovely face and as you behold Him, He will transform you into His likeness. You do the beholding–He does the transforming. There is no short-cut to holiness."  (Alan Redpath)

"When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves."  (Viktor E. Frankl)

"There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse."  (Washington Irving)

"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves." (Anatole France)

"What we count the ills of life are often blessings in disguise, resulting in good to us in the end. Though for the present not joyous but grievous, yet, if received in a right spirit, they work out fruits of righteousness for us at last."  (Matthew Henry)

In my next post, I'll be sharing a new word(or words) for the new year ahead that I have felt pulled to write about. If you have a new word, feel free to share them with me in the comment section. Until next year(2019), may the Lord bless you, strengthen you, and empower you!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Painful Change

"Growth is painful. Change is painful. But, nothing is as painful as staying stuck where you do not belong."
N. R. Narayana Murthy
Normally, I am quite open to change, and even welcome it over doing the same things, over and over again. Especially when I have patiently waited for an answer to a specific prayer, the change the Lord has brought about to answer my prayer produces an overwhelming gratefulness and joy in my soul! 
For the past 25 years (but more deeply in the past 8 years), I have prayed over a specific change in the life of a loved one. Throughout these years, God has allowed me and my family to go through some amazing, but mostly tumultuous times. (If you have read my past blog posts, you may have read about some of those times.) My prayer has been to bring my loved one home...and ultimately, back into having a relationship with the Lord. Recently, the Lord answered the first half of my prayer. Of course, I was overjoyed! It was a big step that only God could have opened the doors for it to take place!!
The thing is, it was such an instant event, I'm not really sure how prepared I was/am for the changes that has/will occur...I was so set on the thought that it would take longer than it did (even though I deeply wanted it to be answered right away), that I went ahead and made my own plans, not thinking that they could all be affected by this, too. I truly didn't think that change may possibly upset the balance in my life. 
What I've Learned
  • Painful change and hurting for the right thing(s) - the thing(s) that break the heart of God - is good. 
  • When I try to avoid pain, I avoid taking risks that could change my life and other's lives. When I try to avoid pain, I avoid loving and being loved in return. 
  • There cannot be change without some pain, but it will be worth it if I endure the painfulness of change.
  • I grow and learn new things every time something changes. I discover new insights about different aspects of my life. I learn lessons even from changes that did not lead me to where I wanted to be. 
  • Frequent changes make me easily adapt to new situations, new environments, and new people. As a result I do not freak out when something unexpectedly shifts.(Something I did a lot in the past). 
  • Not all changes lead me to pleasant periods of life. Unfortunately we do not live in fairy tale and sad things happen, too. Overcoming the tough period have made/will make me stronger. 
  • One never knows what each change may bring. When I turn from my usual path there will be plenty of different opportunities waiting for me. Changes will bring new choices for happiness and fulfillment. 
  • Small changes become extremely valuable. One shift at a time, small changes will eventually lead me to the desired big one...God's ultimate answer to my prayer.  
Some songs about change.......

Sometimes I wish change wasn't so painful, I wish pain didn’t affect me so deeply - so that I can love, live, hope and dream more.

But I must remember—if there was no pain, then there would be no change, and without change there can be no joy or miracles! So, I rejoice in the already answered prayer and wait for God to answer the second half of my prayer...

 "God's plan is always the best. Sometimes the process is painful and hard, but He has a purpose for our pain, a reason for our struggle, and a reward for our faithfulness."
(Dave Willis)

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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Eleven Words, One Theme: Change in 2018

Happy 2018!!
I have been contemplating a word for the new year ahead. But, as in the past, it seems like there have been several different words that have gotten my attention. After breaking my list of words down to 8, I constructed a "word cloud" above. Though there are several words, one word is central to me...

Change is inevitable in life. More importantly, I see change being a bigger part of my life this year, more than ever. 

Throughout the year, I will be posting about each of these words and what they mean to me, especially as I consider how God is using them to mold me.

To go along with each word, I am sharing a Bible verse, as well.
  • Change/Prepare - "This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace." Colossians 1:6
   Prepare God’s arrival! Make the road smooth and straight! Every ditch will be filled in, Every bump smoothed out, The detours straightened out, All the ruts paved over. Everyone will be there to see The parade of God’s salvation.” Luke 3:1-6
  • Healthy - "Jesus heard about it and spoke up, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? I’m here inviting outsiders, not insiders—an invitation to a changed life, changed inside and out.” Luke 5:31-32
  • Brave - "Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord." Psalm 27:14 
  • Exhale - The Lord God created the heavens and stretched them out. He shaped the earth and all that comes from it. He gave life to the people who are on it and breath to those who walk on it. Isaiah 42:5
  • Freedom - "If you have a chance at freedom, go ahead and take it. I’m simply trying to point out that under your new Master you’re going to experience a marvelous freedom you would never have dreamed of." 1 Corinthians 7:21

  • Turning - "I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back." Philippians 3:12-14

  • Passage - "What I’m interested in seeing you do is: to break the chains of injustice, sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families. Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave your way. The God of glory will secure your passage. Then when you pray, God will answer. You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’ Isaiah 58:6-9

  • Freefall - "God frees prisoners— he gives sight to the blind, he lifts up the fallen." Psalm 146:9

   "Because God’s your refuge, the High God your very own home, Evil can’t get close to you, harm can’t get through the door. He ordered his angels to guard you wherever you go. If you stumble, they’ll catch you; their job is to keep you from fallingPsalm 91:10-13

   If God hadn’t been there for me, I never would have made it. The minute I said, “I’m slipping, I’m falling,” your love, God, took hold and held me fast. When I was upset and beside myself, you calmed me down and cheered me up." Psalm 94:17-19

  • Trust  - "Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture."  Psalm 37:3 
  • Leap “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets." Luke 6:23 
  • Travel - "From now on every road you travel Will take you to God. Follow the Covenant signs; Read the charted directions." Psalm 25:10
"Dear friend, guard Clear Thinking and Common Sense with your life; don’t for a minute lose sight of them. They’ll keep your soul alive and well, they’ll keep you fit and attractive. You’ll travel safely, you’ll neither tire nor trip. You’ll take afternoon naps without a worry, you’ll enjoy a good night’s sleep. No need to panic over alarms or surprises, or predictions that doomsday’s just around the corner, Because God will be right there with you; he’ll keep you safe and sound." Proverbs 3:21-26
"Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God." 1 Peter 1:18

 My Bible Verse Prayer for 2018:
God, teach me lessons for living so I can stay the course. Give me insight so I can do what you tell me— my whole life one long, obedient response. Guide me down the road of your commandments; I love traveling this freeway! Give me a bent for your words of wisdom, and not for piling up loot. Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets, invigorate me on the pilgrim way. Affirm your promises to me— promises made to all who fear you. Hurry with your answer, God! I’m nearly at the end of my rope. Don’t turn away; don’t ignore me! That would be certain death. If you wake me each morning with the sound of your loving voice, I’ll go to sleep each night trusting in you. Point out the road I must travel; I’m all ears, all eyes before you. Save me from my enemies, God— you’re my only hope! Teach me how to live to please you, because you’re my God. Lead me by your blessed Spirit into cleared and level pastureland. 
 Psalm 119:33-40Psalm 143:7-10, 
I'm  very excited to see how God will be preparing my heart, as He guides me through the changes ahead of me.

What word (or words) are you choosing for 2018?


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