Change is hard.
Experiencing the seasons of life can be a difficult thing.
As I sit and write, my mind is reflecting on all of the different seasons that we have experienced since arriving on Finnish soil in December 2010. Some easy, some hard, but all full of change in some way or another. But, the season that is most prevalent in my mind is the one that we are currently experiencing. In September, our eldest daughter chose to step out on her own in order to follow a path that God laid in front of her, one that diverts her from Finland back to familiar ground in the USA. This month, we helped make that choice a reality. As a parent, I knew that this season was coming, and I know that it is necessary. But, no one prepared me for it. The change not only affects her, it affects us! The hard parts? The house feels different now. There’s an empty room to assimilate. Random, operatic outbursts that signify excitement, or a simple release of energy, now fill another home. The sounds of teenage-twenty-something interaction between two sisters is now limited to Skype and phone calls. A decision has been made, and the stress of an unknown future has been set aside, at least for a time. Some parts of it are good, while others are sorely missed. To add to the emotional calisthenics, Mark’s youngest sister passed away from cancer while we were out of country, so was alone, both without family and the ability to have closure through attending her funeral. A difficult month? You’d better believe it.
Life isn’t always fun, and change can be hard. But, there are two things that I have found to be true.
“…the peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7, MKJV), and “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13, MKJV)
Oh, I freely admit that I haven’t had pure peace over the last week or so. And, I sort of forgot for a time that I really can do all things through Christ. But this morning, God reminded me that His peace is ever-present, and I really am stronger than I think I am!
Every season brings change. The question is, do we have truly have the peace of God in the midst of it all? Irregardless of circumstance, God’s peace can surround and protect us. It will pervade every situation as long as we submit it to Him. Jesus longs to be our Peace — the peace that passes understanding. But, do we let Him? Or, do we choose to let our minds become immersed in our situation, setting aside the One who can enable us to experience, endure, and overcome it? Yes, I said ‘choose,’ because allowing Him to cover us with His peace is a choice.
I could choose to immerse myself in the thought that my eldest daughter is living across an ocean. Or, I could rejoice in the fact that smart people have invented phone applications and computer programs that allow me to text, chat, telephone, or see her via video whenever I want to! No, this season of life isn’t convenient. But, it’s certainly not the same for us as with past missionaries, who had to rely on ‘snail mail’ for communication. Or, for those ‘way back when,’ before international mail services were possible, when missionaries left their loved ones and were possibly never heard from again.
You and I must remember, “…the peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep [our] hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7, MKJV), and “[We] can do all things through Christ who strengthens [us].” (Philippians 4:13, MKJV)
If His peace continues to elude you, ask yourself “why.” What has to change in order for you to obtain His peace? A habit? A relationship? Salvation according to scripture? Whatever it may be, He is willing to help you. You’ve simply got to be courageous enough to ask, and then be willing to hear the answer.
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6, KJV)