I was 15 years old.
Convinced my life was over, the thought of leaving my hometown was more than I could bear. Can anything good come from moving to South Carolina? I wondered.
In 2009 I threw mental rocks when my husband accepted a new ministry position that required us to leave our home church. The church where both daughters had been baptized, learned memory verses, and went on mission trips. The church where we had learned to give by faith, serve with passion, and lead with love. The church where we loved the pastor and worshiped with most of our friends. Although I knew the Lord had opened the door, it was still a hard adjustment.
In the past few years, our family has experienced several significant transitions. Our daughters went off to college, we’ve welcomed two new sons-in-law into our family, and both couples have moved far away. (For some reason my girls think they should live where their husbands are.) We’re learning how to keep in touch through email, text messages, and Face Time.
Some days I mourn change.
Unlike friends who thrive on variety and spontaneity, I like predictable routine. I want to know what to expect every day, from the cereal in my breakfast bowl to the people sitting around my dinner table. I automatically assume change is bad.
I forget that the Lord orders our days according to his good pleasure for our good. He brings us to new places and seasons to grow our faith, strengthen our witness, and utilize our spiritual gifts.
“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jer. 29:11).
Our move to South Carolina in 1979 didn’t ruin my life, it redeemed it. A new friend from school invited me to church. I sat under the sound of the Gospel for two years. The summer before college, I surrendered my life to Christ.
Changing churches in 2009 when my husband finished his ministry degree meant I had to stop teaching my beloved Sunday school class. I was so sad, but as we settled into our new church family, the Lord opened new opportunities for ministry. I began to speak and write more, started a blog, and received a book contract.
The latest changes in our family have parted us physically but joined us spiritually and emotionally. We talk often, pray for each other, and communicate in deeper ways than when we lived together. I love having handsome, fun, smart sons-in-law. I love watching both couples begin families of their own. Best of all, I love my little granddaughter Lauren more than I ever imagined possible.
The longer I live, the more I realize the only thing constant is change. But because the Lord is the sentinel who guards the gate of my life, I don’t have to fear. I can rest in the confidence that his plans for me are good, his hand is at work on my behalf, and he will walk with me through every change in my life.
“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you” (Isa. 46:4).
What about you? Do you welcome change or fear it? What is one change you’ve experienced that you thought might be bad, but turned out to be good? I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment below and join the conversation.
If you're in the Columbia, SC area and would like to learn more about prayer, I'd love for you to join me for a 5-week Bible study based on my workshop, Praying with Power.
We'll meet at New Testament Baptist Church, 300 S. Sims Ave. on Monday nights beginning June 15 from 7-8:30 pm. The cost is $10 and includes a workbook and a personalized prayer journal.
Email me at LoriAHatcher (at) gmail.com to register.
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