Whenever my late husband Ted left on a ministry trip out of town or out of the country, those were his parting words. He claimed that each time he returned, if at night, he’d have to put on all the lights so he wouldn’t stumble over my latest urge to change-around the furniture.
They say that opposites attract. My husband was a “Just leave it where it is!” person. I’m a changer at heart. I love change—any kind of change. I always did.
“That chair might look better over there.” or “Why not put the table by the window?” Or “Let’s try the sofa against the other wall.” “Let’s drive a different route home.” “Wait till you taste this new recipe.” Anything for something different. I thrive on it.
My family knows my idiosyncrasy well. They got together and presented me with a surprise gift when I moved into my current house—a box of dozens of plastic cylinders of various sizes that have one shiny, slippery side and one sort of spongy side. They are meant to put under the legs of furniture so you can shove it around on the carpeting with hardly a push no matter how heavy the pieces may be. I am delighted! I’ve tried about every arrangement of furniture imaginable…oh, not quite. “Let’s try the recliner over there….”
I guess God knew what He was doing when He added the love of change to my DNA. I’ve traveled and lived and ministered in many places in the world; I’ve had to constantly adapt to new cultures and situations and people. Mt flexibility was an asset. Late in life I made the most major faith change imaginable by becoming Catholic and compounding the changes in every aspect of my life and my relationships—and the lives of others, too. That change, however, was not for variety but for fullness and stability and my integrity.
Whether we like change or not, all of us will encounter changes throughout our lives. Changes are inevitable, continuous, and lifelong—whether physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, geographical, or circumstantial. There is nothing as certain as change. It often hits us like a ton of bricks when we least expect it.
As much as I like material change-arounds, something within me is apprehensive of life’s intangible changes because of their very uncertainty. The future is a vast unknown that seems to hold nothing but “what ifs.” In the last chapter of the book of Proverbs, the ultra-capable, super-faith woman who is described there is said to “smile at the future.” Help me, Lord; I’d like to do that. It requires Saint Faustina’s solid affirmation and continual aspiration, “Jesus, I trust in You!”
Changes are part of God’s maturing process to shape us into greater conformity to Jesus Christ. We miss blessings if we resist changes. We gain and progress when we accept them as new challenges. At the same time, we need to remain anchored in the Unchanging One, our Lord, who is “the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
Why am I surprised to know that I grow through the unpredictable? Although I struggle through the disenchantments of change, they bring me to new reality and joy. It seems that through changes God deliberately sloughs off the old and familiar and underneath the crust I discover the fresh and new that has been waiting for me. In the shattering of a dream, I awaken to new visions.
Well then, I’m wrong to resist change since it is my friend. It is God’s instrument to teach me to bend with the wind and lean in another direction that He has planned for me. The wind will always blow, the storms will be inescapable. They will beat upon my life as in the parable that Jesus told about the two houses built on different foundations. Settled in Him, we will not be shaken or moved—we are built upon The Rock, not sand. Our infrastructure, our eternal spirit, is reinforced by the indwelling Holy Spirit to withstand life’s shifting earthquake changes.
The changes of life are opportunities for me to bloom transplanted. Lord, help me welcome change as a clean slate, a fresh breath, a cool breeze, an untried path, and a stimulus to renewal!