Sunday, November 15, 2015


“I’m very flexible; I just don’t like change,” my father in law says frequently through smiling eyes. 

David Bowie sang about it in 1971 with “Changes”:

“Lookout you rock n rollers,
Pretty soon you’re gonna get a little older.
Time may change me, but I can’t trace time.”

Embracing change is a tall task for many of us. 

The artistry of God paints October blue skies arching over a world both abounding in autumn beauty and moving headlong into winter. Shadows lengthen. The sun moves into the southern sky. Harvest festivals morph into winter landscapes. Signs of change are all around.

Seasons of life move through predictable patterns as well, try as we may to hold them at bay.

Living in the shadow of loss is a change that comes to us all.

For some, the sadness over what is overshadows the gratitude of what was

Reclaiming gratitude offers a solace all its own, one worth cultivating if we are out of practice. 

How to build in time for gratitude, some ask, when their days are frantic and fleeting? 

Busyness can keep us in turbulence tricking us into being victims in an out-of-control life, while others long for something to keep them busy and engaged with life.
 It may depend as much as one’s attitude as one’s season of life.

 I remember the obviously pregnant young woman who shopped in our store late one November afternoon.
Betty greeted her warmly, "I know we're not supposed to do this, but -- when?"

"Tomorrow!" The cute mom-to-be in the purple sweater practically exhaled the word.

Her Christmas shopping days were over. She had finished her list. Now the hard work begins. Her anxiety was palpable.

When young moms ask, “Will my life ever get back to normal?" I answer encouragingly, "Yes. But normal is different now."

Nothing stays the same. 

Life is dynamic, always changing. We learn to adapt, if we are wise, rather than to cling to what was.
Sometimes we think we are overloaded and stressed during a season of life, only to discover later that we had not yet begun to know overload. That stress, however, was all we could handle at the time.

Then we learn that we can do hard things. 

We grow the way most living things do: by stretching. We must stretch for each season of life brings its own challenges. How do we prepare for them?

1. Seek wise counsel. Read. This includes learning from those who have gone before. We need not reinvent the wheel. Yet some part of us still utters that toddler’s cry, “I can do it all by myself.”

2. Pray. This reminds me of the instruction on every shampoo bottle I have held since the ‘60s: shampoo, lather, rinse, repeat. One would think that we'd get it by now. 

The call to prayer is always present. You might think that we'd get it by now, too. Yet, rather than as a first line of defense and a forward strike against a threat, prayer often becomes our last resort.

So in any season of life when we think we cannot tackle another challenge, we need to know we are capable of greater things. We just cannot do it all alone. And we never have to. The promise of God's word is that God will never leave us nor forsake us. 

Each of us faces certain change in an uncertain future but we do not do it alone.

Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Hebrews 13:5-6
For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." So we may boldly say: "The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?