Change: it’s a part of life. We can know this, say this, but when the ole’ saying “the rubber meets the road” occurs, we can come to a screeching halt. In these current days, this pandemic has brought about more change than we could have ever known was coming, while currently impacting us in ways only time will tell. As these times have left many of us pondering the whats, hows, and whens, one thing we can all attest to is that we have experienced great change.
This past January as we were transitioning from the old year to the new, I asked the Lord, what do you have for me this year? Is there a word or something to focus on? A theme, if you will? As I listened, I heard these things, “Ask Jesus, prioritize, slow down.” I knew these words were hitting on a place of rest deep down in my soul that I was so desiring. But yet there was that word that I would have to come face-to-face with, it would stare me in the eyes…change!
As I listened, I heard these things “Ask Jesus, prioritize, slow down.”
Then, the merry-go-round of berating thoughts started. What do I ask Jesus about? Everything? Is that literal or are there obvious things I should ask about? I mean, I know what God’s word says but how do I walk this out? Ok, get the asking going and trust Jesus to answer and direct. Prioritize based on what He asks me to do. Ok, seems straight forward, but then what if I have to square up with another word I don’t like to say, “No.”
Then, the merry-go-round of berating thoughts started.
This would mean saying “no” to people and confronting people-pleasing: saying no to events, going places, gatherings, in other words addressing my fear of missing out, also referred to as FOMO! Or how about saying “no” to myself when there’s something I want to say that shouldn’t be said, also known as exchanging my pride for humility. What about saying “no” to things that look like something good but I need to say “no” so I can say “yes” to something better? All this to say, at the beginning of the year, I couldn’t seem to get off the merry-go-round and actually walk out the change that asking Jesus, prioritizing, and slowing down was inviting me into.
All this to say, at the beginning of the year, I just couldn’t seem to get off the merry-go-round and actually walk out the change that asking Jesus, prioritizing, and slowing down was inviting me into.
Then, in the midst of something as horrible and evil as this pandemic, my merry-go-round stopped. Jesus was doing what He does–taking ashes for beauty, taking what was meant for harm and using it for our good, quieting the storm. When isolation and social distancing went into effect, we all began saying “no” and slowing down in one way or another. As my own world of being a wife, mom, and missionary was affected by this pandemic, I began to see God was answering my prayers. Ministry started to look different so my husband was home all day with the kids and unusual opportunities to connect with the Lord opened up.
Then, in the midst of something as horrible and evil as this pandemic, my merry-go-round stopped.
One afternoon while our kids were napping, my husband encouraged me to have a prayer time while he watched our boys. I found myself in the back field of our YWAM base walking and praying. Before I knew it, it was as if nature around me became this symphony of events pulling me in close to the heart of our Creator, God. Suddenly, I could hear the Lord speaking to me about the flowers and tying in life principles with them, and then about relationship principles as I watched squirrels relate to one another in a tree.
I laid down, in the grass and looked up at the sky, taking note of how quiet things were around me. As I laid in the quiet, in the stillness, I heard something I have never been still enough to hear. I could hear the bugs moving about in the grass where I lay. I couldn’t see them, but I could hear them all around me, moving. Then, I heard the Lord speak so clearly to my heart about stillness.
As I laid in the quiet, in the stillness, I heard something I have never been still enough to hear.
He began to talk with me about how He is like the bugs in the grass. Ok, pause. Bear with me if you’re thinking, Ok, this Mom has been isolated too long. She’s talking about listening to bugs? Hang with me, don’t miss this! God said that it’s in the stillness that we can truly hear how loud He really is. He is all around us speaking and we can hear Him, even if we cannot see Him. The “noise” of this world can drown out His voice and make us think that He’s not around or maybe even silent, but that’s not true. He is still speaking, He is still working, and He is still sitting on the throne in heaven.
God said that it’s in the stillness that we can truly hear how loud He really is.
Just like that, the words He spoke in January came alive in my heart and I knew that my soul was finding rest. There is much to learn from change, after all God’s word says this: “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV). To be ever increasing in glory is changing into what we were created to be, yes changing! We do not HAVE to fear the uncertain. Instead seek Him, listen to Him, quiet the noise and trust Him!
-Heather, Current Missionary