Yes. Change. As we come to the close of 2014 this seems like a fitting topic for what may be the last John4four blog post of the year. I apologize for not keeping up with my goal of writing once a week. Things, well, changed. I went back to work full-time in September while juggling a tough Fall semester of school, but more than that, it felt like the topics that kept coming up were more private things I had to walk through with God rather than write them all out here. All of those things brought me to this day, this topic of CHANGE. I’ve changed since I started writing this blog. I go back and read the first post and think, “Wow, Sonia, EDIT! There’s just too many words.” As I write this blog it is 11:14pm on December 20th here in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, where my dad is from. I am here with him to support him and his family in the difficult task of saying goodbye to my Abuela Julia. She passed away this past Sunday. I’ve seen family members that I haven’t seen in 30 years. This trip has been quite the teacher in the topic of change. I read this in the devotional Streams in the Desert today: “God seeks ‘eagle people,’ for no one ever comes into the full realization of the best things of God in his spiritual life without learning how to walk alone with Him….May we allow God to isolate us…God knows how to change our circumstances in order to isolate us.” I am experiencing this in real-time during this trip. I don’t speak Spanish well at all, something that has challenged me for years, so it is hard for me to communicate with the people around me which is isolating. I am not totally isolated in that respect though. One of my cousins understands English very well so she speaks in Spanish, and I respond in English, and we understand each other pretty well like that. But there have been many social gatherings where there’s much chatter going on that I simply am not a part of, and I’m left to my thoughts sometimes. Then there’s the most obvious aspect of isolation, being away from my husband, Mario, my close friends and family. I’ve come to realize on this trip how much I’ve relied on him and others for my comfort. That’s totally normal, but taken to the extreme, it can be a crutch. It can keep me dependent on others more than my Savior. I see that more clearly now than ever as I’ve had limited contact with anyone other than Mario- cell reception for me is spotty at best here. There’s also a big church event tomorrow that I’m missing which has made me homesick and lonely in many ways, but this, I know, is a good thing. God moves us where we need to be, exactly when we need to be there, so here I am and there you are 🙂 So, we have to change. We must change. Things have to change, but there’s more to change than just change. I am a recovering “change-aholic” which, I feel, is the wrong kind of change, the one where you just change things to get out of something, to feel better, to manipulate something, to run from something…whatever the reason, it was never done in God’s timing or in His will. It was always done to escape reality. Not anymore.
God woke me up.
Recently I made a hasty decision and realized almost immediately, I had said yes to something way too quickly. I knew I was in trouble. All I wanted to do was to jump ship right then and there – to run, to get myself out of that situation as quickly as possible, but everything in my spirit and wise people around me were saying, “Wait on the LORD.” Amidst days that took their toll and more uncomfortable moments than I care to write about, I endured. Each day, sometimes faith-filled days, sometimes fretting every second kind of days, I endured. The Overseer of my soul saw to it that I was not crushed, and He saw to it that I was changed. And then deliverance came. Just when I thought I couldn’t go one more step, He opened a marvelous door and this time I waited for Him to reveal it and open it. I didn’t take matters in my hands. I didn’t run from my current situation to jump into another one. He led me. I followed Him. Believe me when I say, it was weird. It felt totally contrary to anything I’ve ever done…so I know it wasn’t me, my strength or my will which gave me a new confidence and a new kind of stability that only God could bring. Those circumstances = useful for change. Today’s circumstances = useful for change. But why change? That’s the real question. Why? The answers to the WHY could fill a thousand and one blog posts but here it is, found in the only book that matters: Romans 8:29 29 For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. There’s the answer: to be changed to be more like Jesus. That’s the glorious purpose of His allowing the seasons of solitude, storms and overwhelming odds. May we be a people who yield to the mighty Hand of the Potter as He shapes us into that which we were intended to be…wholly His. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. May this new year be one of glorious, “mountain-moving” change in your life and mine! In His Grip, Sonia