Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ch, Ch, Ch, Ch, Changes....

Well. Change. There it is. The word we all love to hate. haha Mark Twain once said something like the only ones who like change are wet babies. I believe it's the truth. I know it can be scary, stressful, annoying and so many other adjectives, but one thing is for WILL come.

I know that each of us could write a novel about the changes we've been thru so I need your help. I'm teaching this Sunday and the lesson is on change. We're studying some of the changes Joseph faced in Gen 39-41. LOTS of changes for the brother. Whew. So, tell me how some of the changes in your life have increased your faith. You don't have to be specific, unless you feel led to, but just explain how circumstances in your life changed -whether at your hand or not - and how you dealt with those changes and how - looking back now - you can see the Lord worked them for your good. (Rom 8:28)

So, get your thinking caps on and leave me some good stuff! Thanks.


Leah said...

Changes, well, how many words can I leave on this comment page!! The most life altering change came for me when my beloved Daddy was diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer in late 2002. The diagnosis was grim. Miss I-Can-Help-God-Out just didn't have a chance with this one because only Ha-Shem, the Name, could handle this one.

After we got the diagnosis, I drove home having a conversation with God that went something like this:

God: Do you believe that I am Who I say I am?

Leah: Yes

God: Do you believe that I love your Daddy more than you ever could?

Leah: Well, yes.

God: Do you think I need your help on this one?

Leah: Well, well, I guess not.

God: Then trust me to do what is best for him.

Leah: OK, I trust you even though I know it may not turn out the way I would like, I trust you.

Val, that was a huge turning point in my faith walk. I knew to the very core of my soul that God was good and that He was trustworthy, but that He would likely take my Daddy Home to heal Him. Peace, unlike anything I have ever known or could explain, washed over me and for the next 22 months, as I watched my precious Daddy be taken away from us by the cancer, my faith soared.

When Daddy breathed his last and stepped into eternity, I was by his side and was truly able to say, "He is healed." I walked outside and the beautiful autumn leaves began to fall from the trees like confetti. Our Lord was celebrating one of His own coming home.

God is who He says He is and He loves us so much more than we can ever, ever imagine. Sometimes His ways just don't make sense but they are ALWAYS good. He is good.

Sorry for the epistle. I got started and couldn't stop. Hope this helps.


Lucy said...

You already know my story, but I'll tell you again. Once upon a time in a land far far away (Travelers Rest, SC).......

My husband and I owned a family style meat and three for almost twenty years. We actually met in the restaurant when I went in to pick up a to go order, but I digress. I waited tables, JB did his owner/manager stuff. Our kids also worked there. In about its
15th year business started falling off. In the eighteenth year we were really struggling. I went back to school "just in case." At the end of the nineteenth year it died. We didn't know what in the world we were going to do. It was all we'd known for almost 20 years. To make a long story almost nonexistent......JB now has a really good job working for the City of Greer, insurance, paid holidays, weekends and nights off......the whole enchilada. I've got an awesome job working as a medical assistant at a brand new family practice. We've got more leisure time with our teenagers than we've ever had and more time with each other. JB never misses church like he did when he was working for himself. We're struggling more financially than we ever have, but we're happier than we ever were with the restaurant. If given the choice, we would've NEVER turned loose of the restaurant and gone after the jobs we have now. The change would've been too scary and we were too comfortable with what we were used to. God has a way of pushing his children out of the nest when they're too afraid to fly on their own and that's what He did for us. Thank you, Lord Jesus from the bottom of my heart!

Now if you really want to know about change, let me tell you about my experiences with menopause............MUCH scarier!!!

Valarie said...

You already know about it, Val…it’s my health issues with lupus. I was not looking for this sort of change in my life at 44. But God wanted to teach me about trusting Him. The doctors sometime have a way of scaring you into taking medication. I reluctantly began taking medication in May of 2000. But God wanted me NOT to fear the words of the doctors, but to TRUST HIM. So I stopped the meds in 2004. Every good day that I had without hurting I counted as such a blessing! But after 6 months without medication, the pain became more intense. I had such severe pain in my body that made me feel as if I would never feel pain-free again. I became fearful and got back on the medication. I did not want to, but I was afraid I would do some serious damage to my body somehow if I did not get back on the medication (at least that is what the doctor made me believe!!). But I was not comfortable taking the meds. In 2006, again I felt God telling me to just trust Him. I finally told God that I would trust HIM, no matter what the doctors said. And of course, the doctor tried scaring me into staying on the meds, but I told him I was going to trust in God who was greater than any medication and showed him the book I found that helped lupus patients through diet. God was so gracious to me and showed me through researching about lupus how diet, exercise and rest can play a role in maintaining lupus flare-ups. It was so scary for me to step out in faith and stop taking meds again, but I was more scared of the long term effects the meds would have on my body. The scripture that ministered to me in 2006 came from Isaiah 43: 1-3a, when Isaiah told the Israelites that God was their only Savior (see below)…it reminded me that I belonged to the Lord and He would be with me through all I would experience, He is my only Savior…

1 But now, this is what the LORD says—
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.

3 For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

So far, I have had no meds for the lupus since Jan 2007 and still counting!!! (And when the pain comes sometime, and fear begins to creep into my heart, I say…Devil, you are a liar and the father of lies…this is what God promised me through HIS Word!!)

I hope this helps and I gave you what you were looking for…I pray that your lesson will make an enormous impact with the girls on Sunday and change their walk with the Lord forever…thank you for being faithful to the call of God on your life to make a difference in the lives of these young girls…Blessings to you. You know that I love you, Val.

This was emailed to me but wanted to share it here with you!

Valarie said...

Again, some of comments were emailed to me but I wanted to share them. I know that since they were such a blessing to me they would be to you as well. The author is irrelevant!

My parents did not want me to become a teacher. They especially didn't want me to teach special ed. because it's VERY demanding, the kids are really tough and the pay isn't so great!

I taught school for 4 years in a popular high school where inner city kids were bused. I had the kids who had been crack babies or born into very low income families who didn't know how to read or write themselves, much less have the ability to teach a child to read. The kids were from really hard situations and had tough lives. Their lack of respect and attempts to intimidate me almost made me believe that my parents may have been right! I got out of teaching in such a rough environment because I began to have headaches due to the stress. I started to think that my education had been a waste.

Then my life changed. 8 years after my first teaching job I had a baby. She was born with some sensitivities to sound, smells and was overwhelmed in some environments. She was born with pneumonia and had to be on lots of medicine from the very beginning. All of those issues have now caused her to have difficulties learning.

God has clearly demonstrated that He knew exactly what I would face in the life of my child. He knew that the training that I have would definitely help my own child as she began to grow. He knew that those difficult situations with the hard kids would help me to handle hard times of my own. But NONE of us realized just how important that training would become until 12 years later!!

My parents have said over and over again, "What if you had listened to us and not God!? What would we have done? At least you know where to begin to help her!! Had you not been trained you would not know where to begin."

They are right. Had I not listened to the call that God placed in my spirit I am sure that I would be more confused about my situation than I am now! It's not easy, but God has confirmed again and again that He knew THEN what we would need and He continues to provide.

Hope that helps girl! Press on with those kids!!

Valarie said...

Val, I don’t know how to do a comment on line so I will send it to you! I’m a recovering control freak so change does not come easy to someone like me but nevertheless God has seen fit to bring lots of it into our lives. We could write a novel on all the unexpected surprises God has brought to us. They began with me begin uprooted from my home when I married Al and moving to the tundra J of St. Louis to attend seminary. I was sure I would die from loneliness and humidity exposure but God brought amazing friendships into our lives and provided financially in ways that were unheard of. I actually cried when we moved away. Our next big change would have to be the unexpected arrival of our first child MacKenzie. At 14 weeks early we were not expecting her nor were we ready for her but she came anyway and turned out “organized, secure, planned out” world upside. Life has been a rollercoaster every since with our second child being born premature and Al getting and losing employment so many times we can’t even count anymore. When he doesn’t have work now we barely give it a second thought anymore because we know God has a plan and we just assume he wanted him to spend a little extra time with us at home! Through it all God has stretched us beyond where we thought we could handle it and shown us again and again that he is exactly who is He says he is and will do exactly what He says He will do. To quote an old hymn, “Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take him at his word, just to rest upon his promise, just to say that he is Lord.”

I love your blog, keep it up!

Valarie said...

Wow, one thing I think about when I hear the word change is the realization years ago when I realized I would not be traveling and singing full time when that is all I had worked toward for the longest time. I completely know that God used me during that specific time but it sure made me feel like I had wasted a lot of time and energy pushing something that was so temporary. I went through a time of mourning while I pouted about it. Sometimes we tend to feel cheated or misguided when some part of our life that requires so much of us only lasts for a very short time, but actually it is right where God wanted me “for such a time as this”. God was working in my heart to go where He calls me and I realized that it was only practice for my faith walk for my future. I just couldn’t imagine God pulling me into a different direction when I loved what I was doing. It was later that many different opportunities came into my life when I allowed God to be Lord of my life in every area. I wouldn’t trade my experiences and lessons for anything nor would I trade being in God’s will.

I don’t know if this helps out or not, but there you have it. J …hope it makes since.

Valarie said...

Can I give a big ole' shout out to all of you who commented!! WOOHOOOO!!!

THANKS so much. Your insight and wisdom is amazing and the Lord will be honored thru each of your words/lives!
Thanks again.
Love to all of you!