When the familiar turns into an uncharted course with little direction on how to navigate the unknown, to whom will you turn? Or, when the excitement of that long-desired change, finally comes to pass, has faded into the doldrums of daily living, where will you turn for sustenance?
Change, whether long-anticipated or a sudden explosion across the landscape of life, can be a reckoning force. Change can bring joy, sadness, fulfillment, despair and grief. Change is exciting, overwhelming, exhausting, heartbreaking, life-altering. At various seasons of life, change is greatly desired and anticipated. Untimely change rocks ones world into numbness. Change can bring us to our knees before a trustworthy and changeless God who brings about His purpose for our lives.
Have you ever noticed the great hymns of old that speak of change? In this season of my life I have been granted the gift of interaction with residents in the Memory Care unit of a local retirement home. Part of my morning routine includes a devotional time with the residents. I regularly rely on the age-old connection of hymns. Joy floods my soul as I witness mute, time-worn lips mouthing “Jesus Loves Me”. I sing, “Help of the Helpless, oh, Abide With Me.” I see the reality of that comfort revealed as sadness turns to joy, peace settles like a cozy blanket, and the shadows of memory loss fade for that precious moment. “Be Still My Soul” brings to mind the lyrics handwritten by my Dad in a particularly tumultuous period of my life.
How merciful is our Heavenly Father in the changing seasons of our lives. The wholeness experienced, the joy of a heart given to Him—even the Angels rejoice! Adolescent navigation through bewildering processing of change. The anticipation (and dread!) of a first-time Bible School Student. The young adult’s call to serve God in a foreign land. The joy of acceptance into a dreamt-of career program—and then the diligent work required. The union of a man and a woman, a family unit begun. Navigating the journey as a single in a world of couples together. The heart-rending loss of a beloved one. Betrayal by one whom you had trusted implicitly. Souls sent your way to be nurtured in His love. Broken-hearted when His love, and yours, is rejected. No answers in life draining health struggles. We each have variations of these few examples of change to address.
A few closing questions: Am I merely enduring the changes God has wrought in my circumstances? Do I longingly dwell only on the “good” things of yesteryear or place unrealistic ideals on my future? Do I chafe under the burdens of physical pain, of loneliness or self-pity for my situation?
My prayer in this God-given journey of life is this: “Lord, I surrender to your work in me.” “I rest within Your loving care” immediately follows. There is acceptance and even joy to be found as my reliance and trust grows. How I thank Him that His presence is a constant in all of my days.
Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide;
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see—
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
I need Thy presence every passing hour;
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s pow’r?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness;
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies;
Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
~William Henry Monk
Hello–I’m Kathy aka Kate to my family and friends. My husband Sam and I celebrate 33 years of marriage this year. We are blessed with 4 sons, 2 (nearly 3!) beautiful daughters-in-law,1 daughter and her handsome gentleman of a husband. 4 amazing, precocious darling, beautiful granddaughters add to the party plus another lively little baby is on its way. I’m Canadian by birth and never quite get over missing my extended family. We’ve lived in Virginia most of these 33 years; a recent transition has been a move to Bridgewater. I am grateful for every lesson, easy or hard that God has taught us along the way. HE is faithful!