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Posts Tagged ‘change’

babies_in_rowI believe that each person is born unique. – As a mother of two daughters, from the womb I knew that my girls were going to be different. My eldest craved veggies and let me sleep most nights; my younger one craved spicy food and chose 1:00am as the best time to jump rope with the umbilical cord. This personality difference followed them out of the womb and into their toddler years. My oldest loved to do flashcards – excited every time she got one right. My younger would try and eat the flashcards as she spied out the room for the next thing to climb on. (The scariest of which was when I found her hanging from the ceiling on the rail for the garage door.)

Today their both teenagers and though my youngest is no longer hanging from the ceiling and my oldest isn’t satisfied sitting in front of a pile of flashcards all day, the core of who they are is still very apparent. Things have matured, boundaries have been created, they’ve had to choose which character traits to soften and which to enhance. And yet still at the end of the day my youngest dreams of the next adventure she’ll get to go on and my oldest loves a great, thought provoking lesson. Created wonderfully unique.

Just like each one of us have opportunities to grow, mature, and learn, Paul is showing the Galatians that though he is still the same person, everything has changed.

Galatians 1.11-24

I love how this passaged is preceded with the statement, “If I were still trying to please man I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Paul had spent years with the passion and zeal he had had from the womb directed at all the wrong things. He had been focused on man’s gospel – on the Jewish law and traditions to save him. He was trying to follow each and every rule given (pleasing man), and demanding that everyone else do the same. Being so caught up in doing what was ‘right’ Paul was blinded by the fact that he was so very ‘wrong’.

I can imagine Paul as a youth. Questioning everything. Demanding the truth. Chastising anyone who thought differently than he did. Passionate, convicted, strong, focused. He had the determination, tenacity, and laser focus to not only get an A in the class, he would get 100%. It was that God-given passion that was exactly what was needed in order for Paul to be able to stand up against 2000 years of tradition. That very passion that could look the Pharisees in the eyes to say, “You are killing these people, and I’m not going to stand by and watch it happen!” The same passion that once set out to kill the church was now it’s strongest advocate.

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So if Paul didn’t change what did? His perspective.

I love the image of scales falling from Paul’s eyes when Ananias prayed for him. (Acts 9.9-19) It’s such a beautiful metaphor. Paul’s whole life was changed because his eyes were opened to the truth; a truth that gave him a 180° shift in his perspective. He was now able to channel all that passion and energy into bringing freedom to the very people he had once sought to enslave.

Looking back on my life, the things I’ve learned, the experiences that have changed and shaped me, I can see how each season of my life has shaped and changed the way I see things. My perspective at 35 is so very different than it was at 15 and will hopefully be very different than when I’m 55. This realization makes me ask myself several questions…

What are those things that I’m holding onto so tightly that in 20 years I’ll wish I’d released them? How does my perspective need to change in order to show me my blind spots? What parts of me am I fighting that God has actually created in me to be unique?

girl-with-arms-open-wide-to-the-skyTake some time this week to sit with your Creator and ask Him to show you how you were created unique. Looking back on your life, look at the patterns you may have had. Are you adventurous, studious, quiet, outspoken, artsy, nerdy, friendly… – Embrace who you are. Look at the beauty inside of you; acknowledge the fingerprints of your Daddy God that run through your DNA. Ask Him to show you areas in which you need a perspective change. What are areas in your life you need to release the very thing you’ve been enslaved to?

Rest in Him arms. Rest in His peace. Breathe in deep the air of His live-giving Spirit of freedom and grace. Let it flow over you as He whispers, “I love you my dear precious one.”

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“The forge is used by the smith to heat a piece of metal to a temperature where it becomes easier to shape, or to the point where work hardening no longer occurs.

The metal (known as the “workpiece”) is transported to and from the forge using tongs, which are also used to hold the workpiece on the smithy’s anvil while the smith works it with a hammer. Finally the workpiece is transported to the slack tub, which rapidly cools the workpiece in a large body of water. The slack tub also provides water to control the fire in the forge.” Wikipedia

An analogy I heard this past Sunday has given me a new perspective on the struggles in my heart, mind, and life. As a blacksmith forges metal, so God is forging us. With each blow of the hammer, we are being shaped into something strong and beautiful. In order for the metal to be pliable and not break, it must first be placed in the fire. (That’s my summary, here’s a link to the full sermon by Trevor Estes.)

As I listened to Trevor say, “With each blow of the hammer…” The memory of me emotionally beating my head up against the wall again and again wondering, why I was revisiting the old pain, distracted me from the rest of the sentence. At the same moment a freedom overflowed my heart and my perspective was changed.

I used to think life was a line with a beginning and an end, a neatly packaged start and finish, or a ladder that I was continually trying to climb in order to attain, and be, who I was created to be. Not any more… I’m thinking life’s more like a slinky: ever twisting, bounding, circling, back over the same things again and again as we are shaped and molded. “Like a blacksmith forges metal so our lives are continually being shaped. “

To embrace the discomfort and the struggle in life like an athlete embraces the pain to push toward the goal; to realize that the feeling of hitting my head against the wall again and again over the same issue isn’t because I haven’t learned anything, or that there’s a deficit in me; to acknowledge that life is about cycles, transitions, ever changing; to rest in the seasons: This is a freedom that I’m beginning to embrace.

It’s a freedom that rests in trusting the blacksmith. Feeling his strong hand encircling my life, knowing that there’s more to the story than I can see, breathing in the life-giving breath of each blow from the hammer, every moment in the fire, and every cool moment in the water.

Being reminded that this too is temporary, this too will soon be gone, my heart can rest in his sweet whisper, ‘My love, trust in me.’

 

Contentment comes with each new wind

My heart it overflows

The tears pour down as flesh resists

The heat, and hammer’s blows

 

Trust reveled as seasons change

My spirit lays at rest

There’s strength inside for now it knows

The hope of love’s conquest

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Seasons of Change

Poets for generations have written about this incessant mystery, this unwavering friend.

Tennyson pened the obvious when he wrote, “Then came a change, as all things human change…” in Enoch Arden.

Shakespeare’s the Seven Ages of Man, depicting a melancholy rendition of life speaks of it, “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players, They have their exits and entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts,…”

I could sit here and write for pages the quotes of greats from yesterday and today that have intimately wrestled with the seasons we all find ourselves in, that I now find myself in.

Every fall I wait in anticipation for the constant that tells me our lives are getting back to the usual routine. It generally happens on a Wednesday evening in mid-September. After school we scarf down a quickly prepared dinner (or drive-thru), then off to the Vineyard. The girl’s excited to start youth group and I…, well this year my routine has changed…

At the beginning of the summer I would have told you my constant would be there. You can count on me, I won’t say no. I even had one little girl ask me with a crooked toothed smile that lit up my heart, “Are you going to be in AWANA again this year.” My answer immediately, “Of course I am, I love AWANA, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

As we pulled up this evening, watching the kiddos getting out of their cars, each dressed in their appropriate attire: blue vests for the cubbies, red vests for the Sparkies and green polos for the T&Ters, my heart broke. The reality of my decision began to sink in. I couldn’t bring myself to go to the side of the building where they were meeting. I had let something keep me from being there this year. Change…

My role in AWANA was the bible lesson teacher, technically called, T&T Director. Each week I’d get 40 minutes with the T&Ters (3rd-6th grade). 20 minutes I’d get to watch them: some would sing songs, raising their arms in worship, some would sit and giggle at the cute boy who walked in the room, then others would dance like no one but their Daddy God was watching. (I could have spent all night soaking this in.) We’d pray, then I’d share. For 20 minutes I’d get to talk to them about how much God loves them, how precious they are, and the unconditional presence of grace, love, and acceptance they have simply because God made them.

There is little in life that has filled me up more than a little girl giving me a hug after she shared that she wasn’t loved at home. Knowing that I was given the honor of loving her without condition; showing her that she was made priceless, no matter what the world said. There were so many times that I would leave that classroom overwhelmed by the presence of God’s sweet, intimate love for his children… for me.

Yet here I sit knowing my season of change has come. Realizing that the tearful email I sent declining my role as teacher, could not be taken back. Accepting the fact that someone else was in that very room, sharing with those precious, innocent hearts breaks mine in two…

And I sit on the other side of the building, knowing my season of change has come, that the tears that fall in mourning the passing of one season, fertilizes the soil of the one to come.

So I wait, embracing the tears, imploring the change…

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