Posted by: rhenderson8110 | December 23, 2013

Graciously Accepting Change

I just got back from a church convention where I was asked to speak on the topic of accepting change and challenge in life and I was asked to share my notes in an article here. So, here we go! As I thought on the topic of accepting great change I was immediately taken back to that day in Cincinnati that changed my life forever. There I was 4 ½ hours away from home and everything I knew and I got the call relaying that my 43 year old father had been diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. There is so much to say about that next 2 years before he did pass away but I thought I’d share just 2 major concepts that have meant so much to me and helped me to accept great change in my life at least somewhat gracefully.
Sometimes the hardest part of accepting change in our lives is letting go of our own expectations. We create this image in our mind of what our life or our marriage or our family should look like and when something interrupts that we tend to panic. A topic that I believe gels really well with relation to graciously accepting change is one that we as wives should be intimately familiar with-submission. Are we truly submitted to God? What does that even look like?
My dad used to say, “We must believe that God is both willing and able to bring about the perfect outcome in our lives.” Do you really believe that? I think if we really believed He was both willing and able to bring about the perfect outcome we would feel a great peace in the midst of change. Our God is willing- He wants what is the absolute best for us! And He is most certainly able to perform absolutely anything that we could ever need in our lives. And yet there were times I remember praying and pleading with God and saying, ‘Take anyone but him! Anyone else God and I can make it through- just not him.’ Have you ever found yourself there- bargaining with God? ‘ Father, I can handle anything else, just not that!’ And so I’m asking you today- what is that one change that could happen in your life that you would pray that prayer for? What could change that would create great tension in your relationship with God? What would you plead with God to not take from your life? I’d like you to take a second and write that down. What if you lost your husband? Your home? What if you had a miscarriage? What if you got sick?
At some point, and this is what I want you to take home with you- we have to figure out what is most dear to us and be able to say to God, ‘I’m with You no matter what.’ Now I look back and can see that that is why, for me, it had to be him. God didn’t remove that trial from my life because there was so much to learn there. What a wealth of opportunity lay in that great change for me. And while it is still hard and a little blurry- I can sort through the rubble and begin to see why God allowed that loss to occur in my life. But to be able to get there, to see through that pain and confusion we have got to believe. We have to be completely, utterly, unabashedly, submitted to Him. We have to believe that He is working everything out exactly as it should be. To conclude this point I’d like to turn to Psalm 139 together. When I feel overwhelmed or like nothing is playing out like it should be I turn here. Let’s start in verse 1:

O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.

and look there beginning in verse 5

You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
 If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.

So you see, no matter where you find yourself… no matter what changes come He is right there with you. Our lives rarely look as we thought they would- we often find ourselves in what seems like the depths of hell or the uttermost parts of the sea- but what comfort we can take knowing that even there His hand is leading us! There is nowhere you can go and be unable to find Him beside you.

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The second point I wanted to share with you is the profound importance of seeking God in the dark places or in those moments of change. “It is when everything that you need is taken away that you realize God is everything you need.” (Source: Matthew Jacoby, Sons of Korah) The 2 years of sickness I experienced with my dad were the most physically draining and spiritually filling of my life. I’ve heard it said that prosperity drives us away from God while desperation drives us to our knees. This was so true for me. I was so desperate that I prayed and cried and sang to God. All the time- in the shower, in bed, in my car, when I was walking to class, as I sipped coffee… and I began to relate to God in a way I never knew was possible. I began to know Him and He knew me- from the inside out.
When you are going through difficult change in your life I would encourage you to befriend the Psalms. Start with the 1st one and join David as he cries our to his Father in heaven. When you have a minute read Psalm 69. David wrote this Psalm as he was crying out to God when he was alone in the desert, as he was hiding from men constantly trying to take life. He was supposed to be King and yet there he was alone, hungry, confused and apparently forsaken. But I’ve heard it said that that was the making of that man. That can be true of us as well if we allow it to. These moments or weeks or years of change can make us more Christ-like and beautiful to Him than we ever could have been without them. It is in the darkness that we can most easily see the Light. Don’t miss that. I think amidst the scramble and struggle to claw our way out of uncomfortable situations that often we do miss that. So in those moments, take a deep breath and let the panic wash through you. It is in those moments of change and growth and stretching that we can convene most intimately with Him. And here’s the bottom line for us as Christians- It has to be about more than seeking relief. It has to be about seeking God. Even in the dark places. Especially in the dark places. In fact, let’s turn to Job 42:5. It’s only there at the end of the book of Job – after he has lost his family, his home, his cattle, his wealth, his health, his legacy…. It was in that moment that he said in verse 5 “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You.” This was so true for me- prior to going through that loss I believed in God but it was only after seeking God in desperation day after day after day that I began to truly know Him. The immensity of that blessing makes my eyes fill up with tears. So in conclusion, let’s use those times of change in our lives as powerful opportunities to more clearly see and know our God.

Here is the video of the Sons of Korah performing Psalm 139- one of my absolute favorites!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wy_JURkoS_Q

Also, BUY THIS BOOK! This helped me formulate my thoughts for this seminar and it is one of my absolute favorite books ever! It was written by Matthew Jacoby, lead artist of Sons of Korah. http://www.amazon.com/Deeper-Places-Experiencing-God-Psalms/dp/0801015200/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1387810366&sr=8-1&keywords=deeper+places

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Responses

  1. A wonderfully stirring message you gave at WFW! I was one proud husband sitting in that crowd! Great content and delivery sweetie 🙂

  2. Very Inspiring and Helpful, Rachel!

  3. Thanks Alex & Mrs. Sylvester! Glad you enjoyed 🙂


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