There were so many great responses to the last newsletter about change. It would be wonderful to be able to include all of what everyone wrote, but then this email would be way too long!
For this newsletter, we will excerpt from the letters those parts that seem to apply to a large audience. But when you have time or want to see comments on specific aspects of change, go to our website. You’ll find the link at the end of this newsletter.
When change means children are leaving home:
Our youngest son will be married in less than three weeks. We are already feeling the effects of him being gone. Mannie summed up this period very well, ” You must be so pleased and happy for him but at the same time sad that your season of mothering really is about to close.”
Michelle added, “You will all be making new memories and relating to your son and wife-to-be differently as well.” And from Nancy, “Eight years later, my eyes still well up thinking about it. Those are precious memories that the Lord gives us to keep for all of our lives here on earth.
Margaret shared her struggle during this transition in her life. “I had some sort of emotional/panic attack. I couldn’t sit still. I had to walk all the time or work. I was exhausted. I had to open the car window all the time, as I couldn’t breathe. It really got bad! I decided to go the hospital.”
After her doctor, a believer, listened to her symptoms, he prayed. Then he said, “I don’t prescribe medicine, but prayer. Pray that day by day God will remove a little of the loneliness from you. Most of all, thank God that He has made you into a concerned parent, so many don’t really care THAT much. You have another privilege, you can pray each day for your son, there is no greater gift we can give someone than to pray for them.”
Tina found that her faith in God helped when she suddenly had an empty nest. “God decided to allow my 20-year-old son to come home to Him. How could I not balk or scream or try to change this CHANGE?! When I balked, allowing Satan to infiltrate my mind, God gave me His word, memorized over the years to refute him. When I screamed, God bundled me in His arms and calmed my spirit. When I felt I couldn’t go on with any more of life’s changes, He whispered His love and mercy to me. Will there be times when I still balk and scream at changes? Oh, I am sure. But I know beyond a doubt that He who is faithful will be there right with me helping me to accept and get through these changes. Oh what a FAITHFUL, WONDERFUL GOD WE HAVE!”
Gail had a reminder for wives when their children are leaving home. “He is not finished with you yet. For now, enjoy this time of transition by letting Himdirect your new schedule. Enjoy your husband. Renew your devotion to him. Remember, he is also going through this strange new land as well. Cook his favorite meal or dessert and be there for him. These are the years when you will have romance unhindered and a comfortable, enjoyable relationship, unhindered by the inexperience of youth. A wonderful time for romance!”
When change means going to new places:
Several ladies had things to say about lessons learned when change meant going to new places. Mannie had a hard transition back “home”, but found good came out of the inconveniences. “I really thought that moving into this temporary house was very inconvenient, but God in His wisdom thought otherwise. By living here in this particular part of the base I have met many potential friends, which I may not have done so easily if we had moved into the correct house straight away, being tucked away as it is up a hill and away from everyone else. The Lord knows how important friendships are when you move areas or even countries every two years or so, and once again He has seen to my needs.”
Betsy is seeing how she must adapt to the culture wherever she is at the time. In her new home among a tribal people in Africa, it is the custom to ask questions about anything that piques your interest. It is also expected that you will give a completely honest response.
Now as she is preparing to return to her home culture she realizes she must change again. “So, the solution to this changing problem would be to become like a chameleon. When here in Africa, I can change into the bright colors of honesty and inquisitiveness (some might call it rudeness), and when back home, I’ll have to change to the more subtle shades of diplomacy and caution.”
A sad event showed Dinah her change was long-term. “When I married my husband, I realized for the first time I was totally cut off from my family and married to a stranger. We had only known each other 6 weeks to the day! The most painful part hit me when my mother died that same week. I mourned alone. I thought I was going crazy. I never had a chance to see her for the last time, but I know we will see each other again in heaven.”
“Gail and her husband divide their time between two houses about an hour and a half from each other. She described her “portable lifestyle.” “We try to spend most of the time with each other at the same location, but sometimes it is necessary to be apart. For about the first 2 months I thought of it as an “impossible” situation. But I soon realized what a special opportunity God had given us to enjoy life from a different perspective.
“Once again I am brought to the realization that God wants us to live one day at a time. Look to Jesus and enjoy the simple life that He is calling you to. Don’t try to figure it out, control it, change it, or arrange it. Simply focus on and follow Him (follow means to let Him take the lead…to walk behind). And enjoy the view along the way!
Cheryl has been living a very changeable life for the last few years. “From 1999 through February of 2003, we lived in or traveled through 5 different countries. We slept in more than 150 different beds, the longest we have lived in any one house or room was 5 months. She shared some insights from her furlough specialist.
“We sought help from a furlough specialist when we weren’t sleeping, afraid of what the next day would bring – another move another change – and all the usual reverse cultural shock situations. She reminded us of Whom we were serving and that nothing He does is without reason – even all the moving and changes. She also reminded us of our humanity and how we humans like to have things somewhat stable. With her help we were able to take our eyes off of ourselves, where the enemy was delighted to have them, and put them back on our Father and seek His arms and comfort. Each day that we seek Him, He provides us with reassurance that all we are going through He knows about and is in charge of. We are in His service here and when His work is done He will send us on our way to the next place. This is about Him and we accept that or we go on our own.”
In seasons of change and in times of stress, there are a few questions we can use to evaluate our situation and as a guide to prayer:
- Do you know this is where God wants you to be and what He wants you to be doing?
- Do you know that the way you are doing it is the way God wants you to do it?
- Are you trying to meet any unrealistic expectations either from within yourself or from others?
- Is there any adjustment God wants you to make that would lessen the stress and increase your effectiveness?
- Do you need to let others share your load and work with you?
- Is the deepest motive for what you are doing to please God or to please people?
When we are sure of our answers to these questions, then we can seek God’s grace for the challenges facing us.
Michelle shared how she is getting through the season of change she is in. “I’ve been finding myself laying on my face before the Lord for every ounce of strength I need. It’s so easy to get discouraged. Just recently I came across a precious scripture. ‘Let the beloved of the Lord REST SECURE IN HIM, for He shields me all day long, and the one the Lord loves (me) RESTS between His shoulders.’ Deut 33:12. God has been impressing upon me to REST IN HIS PROVISION, REST IN HIS LOVE, REST IN HIS GRACE.
“I don’t know about you, but RESTING is very difficult for me. It doesn’t mean I do nothing. When I find my source in Him, there will be a stillness that will flow out of me instead of worry, anxiety, fear, insecurity. And the other scripture that has spoken life to me is Ps. 16:8-9, ‘I have set the Lord always before me, because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my tongue rejoices, my body also will REST SECURE.’”