Change…For Better or Worse

I am no stranger to change, and I bet you are not either.  Most of us either look at change with excitement or with fear, depending on what the change is.  I think that is completely normal.  Big changes may bring both feelings at the same time.  I’ve seen a lot of changes in my life, specifically in the last twenty years.  I have learned one thing over this time!  Our God has this!  He is bigger than all of it, and He will carry us through it, if that is what is needed.  I know that sounds trite, so let me explain how I have seen this in my life.

My current situation is living in Poland for a month.  My husband and I packed up our lives in 4 suitcases, 4 carry-on’s and brought our family of four to Poland to live for a month.  He is working and we are living/schooling in a country where we do not speak the language in a flat that is less than 1/3 of the size of our home in Cincinnati.  Now, when we had this opportunity arise I was so excited.  Our curriculum this year for history/geography is about Europe, so I thought “what better place to learn about Europe than Europe!”  I won’t lie to you, there were also thoughts of fear, like terrorism abroad (something I never worried about when we left the country 15 years ago, or even two years ago for that matter), the fact that we don’t speak Polish (and it is a difficult language), and my biggest fear “how will my kids get along in such a small space?”, but we can’t live our lives crippled by fear.  2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  A sound mind!  I love that!  Who doesn’t struggle a little with an unsound mind in the midst of change!  This is a fun change though, right?  So how does that look in the trenches?

Sixteen years ago, God allowed me to glimpse into the trenches.  I was two months away from graduating college, newly engaged…the world was my oyster, right?  Wrong, I was given the opportunity to hear the words “you have cancer.”  These are the words no one wants to hear, ever!  This is where God stepped in and I truly experienced the “peace that surpasses all understanding”.  If you have ever been in the trenches, and you know Jesus, then you know what I am talking about.  It’s not a peace that says everything will be fine, and you will be happy and healthy again.  It is a peace that God Himself is right there with you, and no matter what happens that will not change.  Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.  Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  This was so huge to me, because I was 1200 miles away from ALL of my family when I got the news that it was likely cancer.  Thank God, when you know Jesus, that family is so extended.  I had college friends, adopted grandparents, and a large Christian school praying on my behalf.

Change can make or break us though.  Let me take you back just 8 years to our family’s move to Ohio.  Even knowing what I knew from my cancer story, and already seeing how God worked that for good and changed my entire life path, I chose to live in the fear category.  Our first year in Cincinnati was hard!  In one year I had a car accident, a second cancer scare, marriage problems, a suicide in our immediate family, and my two-year-old son and I were robbed at gunpoint.  My attitude at that point was just basically bitterness.  I didn’t want to leave my family in Pennsylvania and move to Ohio and everyone knew it.  I mean, I wasn’t even close to the Big Apple anymore, what would I do for fun?  For an entire year I fought the Lord.  Upon accepting His will for my life, I can see the hand of God in all of this, ALL of it!  My marriage is stronger than it ever was, I am 16 years cancer free, and my husband and I have grown immensely in the Lord. God has uniquely placed us in all of these situations to be able to use this for Him in the ministries He has us in.

It is not that God will give us what we want in life, or things will work out the way we want, but that He can use whatever comes into our lives for good, if we allow Him.  We don’t need to live in fear of change, because He knows the future, and He is always with us.  It’s like having a lamp and a tour guide navigating us through the darkness.  So let’s “be still and know that He is God!” Psalms 46:10.

~Jenessa

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