The last few days have been glorious. I spent some time out on a Polo horse farm with my friend, Sarah. The ranch sits just outside a small town called Aiken, South Carolina. There isn’t a whole lot to do there, but I suppose that makes it even better. What a joy to feel surrounded by such peace and serenity. It will most definitely be my new retreat in times I have to get outa dodge. I did a lot of thinking, a lot of waiting, a lot of honest reflection.
As the world stopped for a moment, I landed upon one question to ask God: how do I deal with the inevitability of change?
In all honesty, I know I’ve been here before. I have ascended this mountain a few times, in fact. It’s all about coming to a point of trust, and assuming the ability to let go of control. It isn’t easy. I don’t know if someone already famously stated this, but change is the constant of life. We will never be without it. Life is seriously about adapting to change, adapting to the curve balls that speed at us, thinking in the moment. Truth be told, we can’t plan for anything. Sure we can have a “plan” as a guideline, but we have to leave room for the thing we can always count on: change.
You know, I never pictured myself living in Charleston, South Carolina. As time keeps rolling on and life continues its speedy move forward, I don’t even know what I’m doing next. My whole world of ideas and desires have changed this past year. I love what I’m doing, but wonder if I’m doing it the right way. I’ve changed. It’s amazing how God can bring us to a place for reasons we think we understand and then completely turn it around to show us His plan. And while the waters may rise, and we might feel like we’re drowning in the waves, we have to remember He knew this plan all along.
These plans are to prosper us and not to harm us; to give us hope and a future. As I read on in the verses that follow Jeremiah 29:11, I see how sometimes changing plans (in our eyes) are reason for us to call upon God. We reach a point of uncertainty, of frustration, of possible failure, He looks at us and says, this is for your good. Call to Me; I will answer. Seek Me; You will find Me. I want to show you the way through this.
I worked for a summer camp a couple of years ago. Two summers of helping foster children understand what it is to trust. I was a low ropes course facilitator and every week, I was amazed to see how God would begin to open up doors of healing in the kids lives. We worked with one group per week. The object of the course activities were obviously not to do them alone. I remember many kids who thought they could accomplish each element alone. As they got more difficult, however, the stubborn ones would see the importance of team work, of following the few rules I gave them, of trusting. Sometimes if a group was getting through a course too quickly, and therefore not learning much from it, I would change a rule or throw an obstacal in the way. Not to harm them, but to teach them something.
As I recall this amazing season of my life, God is really showing me that this is all He is doing in our lives. God isn’t stupid: He is God. We can plan our way, but He directs our steps. He sees everything we need, everything our heart desires, but He knows the best way for us to walk the journey. He puts rules in place to keep us safe; He challenges us to learn to trust Him and other people. He makes a way when there seems to be none. He is Abba.
One of my life verses I need to remember more often speaks the truth regarding whatever we face:
Do not fear, [Bridget]. I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you. (Isaiah 43:1-2)
We won’t always see the road before us. We will face all kinds of obstacles and challenges. Our emotions will try to drown us, hurtful words my scorch us. We might be physically challenged, crushed, beaten. We never know what each day holds, but I do know the truth of what God told me there: He will be with me through it all.
So I speak to my friends who are about to journey to new places; those of you who feel alone and uncertain; those whose course has changed from where you thought you were headed. God is with you wherever you go. And when you face the inevitable change in your life, remember this promise; remember His promise.