February 9, 2015

Anticipating Change

It is a good Monday, and I am blessed, so very blessed. Today is February 9, and I am thinking about all that I have to accomplish this week. I have assignments on top of assignments, and the likelihood that I will get everything done and turned in on time seems nary impossible. Yet, I trust in the Lord, and I believe that He is able to do all things. Nothing is impossible for the Lord (Luke 1:37).

As I sit at my desk and blog this morning, several things are on my mind. The first is the fact that my to-do list seems insurmountable today. The second revolves around the plans the Lord has for me. The third deals with other lingering issues, doubts mostly, and some anxiety over the Lord's will for my life. Yet, despite all the emotions and thoughts, I am confident that the Lord has me well covered, well in hand. Let me explain...

I am in the midst of change. It would be unfair to say that this is the first time I have experienced major change because it seems like my life has been in flux for nearly eight years. My once stable, albeit unpleasant life, gave way to the great UNKNOWN back in July of 2007. My then husband suffered a major heart attack, and in one single moment, my life was plunged into anxiety, worry, and fear over the future. Once we had recovered from that experience, a second major medical issue arose, and in 2009, I had to face the prospect of losing my husband, and living a life as a widow. His brain bleed healed, but not without continual problems, so what resulted afterward was not 100% shocking news -- it was more so -- just another level of change for me to overcome.

It has been five years since I separated from my husband, and it will be one year in March from when I filed divorce papers (the divorce was finalized in August). My life has been an unending string of change, one hurdle, one hill, and one happenstance after another. Through it all, though, the Lord has been my steady companion, my rock and my redeemer. I have panicked, for certain, and at times, I crumbled under the weight of the burden of carrying my life and that of my son's life (his hopes, his dreams, and his aspirations) -- all as a single Mom. Add into that mix was the extra weight of carrying for my parents as they transition through their Senior years. In all, the burden I have borne has been heavy at times, so very heavy. But, despite all the challenge, the Lord has consistently held my head up. He has not allowed me to sink, to suffer, or to sorrow for too long. He has graciously provided for every need, and He has gently and with great patience led me through each challenge, each difficulty, and each new measure of change. He is my King, my Sovereign Lord, and My Ruler. I love the Lord with all my heart for He sustains me with His mighty and glorious hand! Selah!

So today as I think about my life, and I consider the change that is upon me (job, relocation, life), I cannot help but think that nothing happens in my life that is not part of His marvelous and most perfect plan.

My days are numbered (Job 14:5-7, Ps. 39:4), the hairs on my head accounted (Matt. 10:30). The plans the Lord has for me are set and fixed (Prov. 19:21, Ps. 33:11). Therefore, do I walk in fear of what tomorrow may bring or do I continue to press on in faith trusting in the One who has safely carried me through all the challenges and change thus far?

I believe the answer is a resounding no to fear and a hearty yes to faith! The Lord does have a specific purpose in mind for my life. I may not know the details or the specifics in what I will be doing in 10, 20 or even 30 years, but I can take hope in knowing that whatever the Lord determines for my life, it will be good because He is good. I don't have to walk in fear that tomorrow will crash down around me, that decisions I made will somehow come to naught. No, I press on in faith believing that the One who holds my hand is faithful, righteous and true. He is God, and as such, He knows His own mind, His own will, and He will make a way. Selah!

I struggle with the details, of course. It is a challenge to know exactly what will be today or tomorrow. I honestly do not know how the Lord will move me, should He choose to move me, but I know that if it is His desire, then He will provide a way. I have testimony, I have experience, and I have history that tells me that the Lord does what He determines to do. No one can thwart the plans of the Lord (Job 42:2, Is. 14:27).

What does this mean for me today?

I think it confirms to me that nothing that I do, no decision I make, no thought I consider is outside the will of the Lord -- unless I am walking outside His will. I believe that everything I do is in His will. I am not seeking my own way, but only His way. I am not making plans that are based on what I want, need or feel. No, I am considering only His way. This means that whatever ideas I may have, thoughts or feelings about this or that or even desires for romance, for love, for marriage (for example), none of these things exist within me of my own accord. Nothing I feel, I think or I desire is of my own hand. I made a conscious decision ten years ago to become a wholly devoted follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. I didn't know what that meant back then, just that I was miserable living my life, lonely and unsure of my relationship with the Lord. I began a love relationship with the Lord, and through the years, I have come to know Him intimately, deeply and fondly. I should say He has done this because through no effort of my own, He has shown me what it means to love the Lord with your whole heart. I asked, yes I did, but even in that fleshly moment, I believe it was the desire of the Holy Spirit asking on my behalf. What I received back from that small request has been indescribable, immeasurable, and unimaginable. I am in awe of my Lord, and I stand amazed at the love He has for me.

Whenever I think about going anywhere, moving to a new place, and over the last ten years there have been many thoughts on that account, I always find that it is His desire and not my own. I haven't said to Him, "Lord, take me away from this place (Phoenix)!" Sure, I don't like the heat and the long hot summers. Sure, I love to travel, and I would love to live someplace else. But, I haven't been begging Him to move me. In truth, I have asked repeatedly to keep me here, even though I don't like living here that much. I didn't want to leave my parents. I didn't want to go someplace where I didn't know anyone at all.

The Lord has placed various locations on my heart, and through prayer, supplication, and mediation (constant consideration), He has gently shown me that He is moving me away from Phoenix and to another place in the US. I have known this for the past ten years. I have not known exactly where, but there have been several very strong contenders over the course of time. He has not moved me yet, and for some friends with whom I shared that inkling, they have felt that what I heard was not from the Lord because it didn't come to pass. However, I am reminded that often the Lord prepares us to go long before He actually tells us to go. I have been in the preparation stage of life for a long time. I have learned to trust Him, to rely on Him, and to wait on Him. I have learned to be patient, and to look for His provision before I step out and go. In many ways, I am not like Peter who often ran ahead of the Lord. No, I am like John. I am calculating and watchful, an observer, waiting for the Lord to say "you may go now."

At this point in my life, with all the change that has happened to me, I look forward to moving some place else with great excitement and adventure. In fact, I am open to going anywhere the Lord leads me. My heart's desire is not to please myself. My heart's desire is to please the Lord. Therefore, I go where He sends me, I live where He tells me to live, and I do the work He prepares and has prepared for me to do. There is no other way. I am His and He is mine, and together we accomplish His work, through the power of His Name, and the inner working of the Holy Spirit. Selah! God is good. God is good. All the time, He is good!

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