Monday, April 2, 2012

Opening Our Hearts to Change

By Carla Adair Hendricks *

Springtime is here! Azaleas and daffodils are blooming, splashing watercolors across our flower beds. The sun is spreading rays of golden warmth. And Easter is on its way. A time of renewal. A time of reflection.

A time of new beginnings.

So for the month of April here in A Pastor's Wife's Garden , we'll share about new beginnings. So join us here every Monday this month. What better place to be during the first days of spring, but in A Garden?

The words "new beginnings" bring beautiful thoughts to mind. Thoughts of second chances. Thoughts of being born-again through a relationship with Christ. Thoughts of new ideas, new projects, new purpose in life.

It also reminds me of change. With every new beginning, we must undergo and adapt to change. And if you're like me -- and most other women on the planet -- change can bring a sense of uncertainty and even dread. Change can knock the security right from under you.

Over the years I've learned much about change. Here's a few:

Change Is Inevitable:

From the moment a newborn inhales her very first breath, she's slapped with the reality of change. No longer will she enjoy the constant warmth and comfort of her mama's womb. She will experience hunger and cold and discomfort. Her life has undergone great, life-altering change.

And ours has too.

We have aged, we have moved around the country (or world), we've married, we've had children (through birth and adoption) -- and oh my, we've entered full-time ministry with our husbands.

The only way to halt this roller-coaster of change is to stop living. On this side of heaven, change will follow us for the rest of our lives.

Change is Difficult:

Let me just be real for a minute. I don't like change.

I like consistency. I like routine. I like security.

Change pretty much rocks my world. I would much rather do without it. And yet, one thing that's been consistent in my life has been -- well, change.

One of the most challenging changes of my life has been relocating -- back-to-back relocations. And just recently, the Lord showed me I'm still reeling from the last one. When my husband, four kiddos and I packed up to relocate to Northern Virginia to plant a multi-ethnic church much like our Tennessee church, Strong Tower Bible Church , I was sad, but excited and expectant. I knew the relo' drill. I knew it would take a while to make good friends. I knew it would take months for our house to feel like home.

But exactly twelve months later, we relocated again to Arkansas. I found myself reeling from the blow of those two consecutive moves. I was a mess, weepy, ready to jump ship.

Almost two years later, I'm no longer a mess, no longer weepy, and no longer ready to jump ship. But I'm still grieving. Grieving relationships from three different cities. Grieving all I'd ever known. Grieving my favorite grocery store chains, for goodness' sake! (Oh Publix and Wegman's, Mama still loves ya!)

Yet God is still good. He is still trustworthy. He still loves me to pieces.

And Hallelujah, Hebrews 13:8 reassures me that He never changes:
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." 
Change is Necessary:

If we could interview a newborn baby, she would probably express distress over the dramatic change of birth. She might even choose to stay in her mother's womb if humanly possible. But having lived on the other side of the womb, we big girls would cheer her on, encourage her to go for it, to enter this crazy world with all its nuances and risks.

Why? Because we know the syrupy sweetness of a strawberry. We've experienced the cushiony coolness of beach sand under our feet. And we've felt the cozy comfort of a loved one's embrace.

And we know she'll never experience the joys of this life if she never takes the leap (or push) into the real world. And as difficult as change can be, it's always worth it in the end, because we're better for it. We're more like our Savior at the end of the road of change.

And yet, I'm praising God that He never changes. When my world swirls around me, and I can barely grab a railing to balance myself, I need to know that Jesus remains constant, consistent, unmovable.

And He'll be the same in your life -- no matter how much, how often, or how drastically your seasons of life might change.

* To read more about Carla or check out her personal blog, visit The Master's Gardeners and Deep Waters.

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