Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Just When I Get Comfortable, My Life Changes

What a precious photo of our little Tyler just minutes after he was born. He was having his first herbal bath with mommy! He is so precious and sweet and LOVED, but his entrance into this world brought about a gigantic CHANGE in my life!
About four months ago, Mrs. Jenkins asked me to speak on the topic of this blog at our church's ladies' conference in a split session. I have now given this talk twice--once at the meeting and again last week at the college to a group of freshman s just beginning life. I want to share my thoughts on this blog to help someone else and as a keepsake for my children in years to come.
Change, according to Webster's 1828 dictionary, is "any variation in form, state, quality or essence; a passing from one sate or form to another, as a change of countenance, a change of habits or principles." Change is a constant in our lives. From the moment we are born, even before we are born, we are constantly changing. Indeed, our entire world is constantly changing. Change is everywhere you look in nature. The seasons change. The moon goes through cycles of change. As women, our bodies are on a monthly cycle of change—indeed each day in the life of a woman is comprised of a slightly different set of hormones. Caterpillars change into butterflies and moths. Seeds change into plants and trees. Babies change into children. Children change into teenagers. Teenagers change into young s. I could go on and on.

God has set up our world as a world of change. It is as though He does not want us to get too comfortable in this world which is not our home. He is using our circumstances of change to mold us and make us into what He created us to be.

When I think of change, I think of the life of Sarah in the Bible. Sarah went through numerous changes in her life. Sarah, I am sure, did not always respond to change in the exact way she was supposed to, but I do believe that the majority of the time Sarah did the right thing. Let’s look at a quick overview of the life of Sarah. She…
  • Left Ur of the Chaldees to go to Canaan when Abraham [God] told her to go
  • Stopped in Haran to wait for Terah to die when Abraham [God] told her to
  • Left Haran to go to Canaan when Abraham [God] led her
  • Made a pit stop in Egypt due to the famine where Abraham [God] took her
  • Lied and said that she was Abraham’s sister because Abraham told her to
  • Lived in Pharoah’s house where she caused plagues to come upon him as a result of doing what Abraham told her to
  • Left Egypt because Abraham told her to
  • Her husband risked his life to save Lot from Chedarlaomer
  • When she had not borne her husband any children, she gave him her handmaid to wife—because she did not trust God
  • When Hagar got pregnant, Sarai despised her and sent her away to die—a result of the decision she made on her own, without her husband [God]
  • God sent Hagar back and promised her a great nation from her son – A decision that I am sure grieved Sarah in her soul.
  • 13 years later God reminds Abraham of his promise to multiply his seed and give him a son through Sarah, his wife, at which time he was also circumcised
  • Her nephew Lot and his family were not living for God and were almost killed at Sodom and Gomorrah
  • Abraham sojourned again in Gerar and again made Sarah lie about being his sister
  • When Abraham was 100 years old (Sarah was 90), Sarah bore him a son
  • Again Sarah sends Hagar and Ishmael away
  • Again God spares Hagar
  • God told Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice
  • Sarah died at 172 years of age

Sarah went through many things i.e. changes in her life. Through most of these events and changes, Sarah simply trusted God. At least, it would seem that she trusted God. Anytime Sarah tried to take matters into her own hands, though, she got into trouble.

I notice two things about the life of Sarah:

1. Sarah was obedient to Abraham. I cannot give you a simple chapter and verse for this, but over and over again we see Sarah simply doing what Abraham told her to do.

  • When Abraham left Ur, Sarah went with him.
  • When Abraham left Haran, Sarah went with him.
  • When Abraham sojourned in Egypt, Sarah went with him.
  • When Abraham told Sarah to lie in Egypt, she did it.
  • When Abraham went to Canaan, Sarah went with him.
  • You get the idea. Sarah obeyed Abraham, even to the point of calling him Lord. Some of us, when our husbands say we are moving to a different city, state, or even country, say, “Okay, I hope you have a great life. I’m staying here!” I have actually known women who have done this! Amazing.

    2. Sarah was faithful to God!!! Sarah’s faithfulness, though, was never revealed until her world started changing. Her response to change was being challenged – again and again. When I look at the life of Sarah and see the many changes that she went through, I realize that my life is really not much different as far as change goes. Let me share a brief testimony about my changes:

  • After college, taught Jr. High for 1 year
  • Married my sweetheart
  • Conceived on my honeymoon
  • Gave birth 9 months later
  • Two weeks later a friend, Steve Staton, died of cancer at age 25
  • 4 months later my husband’s grandpa died
  • 3 days later my mother-in-law died
  • Two months later I became pregnant again
  • 8 months later we moved to a different state
  • I gave birth one month later and nearly died
  • 8 months later my husband nearly died. He was life-flighted to Ann Arbor after the doctor in Midland looked across the bed from me and, while crying, said, “We don’t know what to do for him.” BTW, they nearly killed him while he was there. When I got to the hospital in Ann Arbor, the nurse would not allow me to see him because they were prepping him for a heart transplant should his heart completely fail.
  • Our church fell apart after my husband’s illness
  • Five months later I was pregnant again
  • Gave birth to an 8 pound 10 oz. boy
  • 9 months later pregnant again
  • Gave birth April 19 to a little
  • Two days later our best family in the church left without saying a word to us
  • Two months later we moved to Gaylord where my husband started painting again
  • A couple of years later he started working full-time at the college plus painting on the side
  • Oh, I had another baby :)
  • I got pregnant again, was sick for 11 weeks and then miscarried
  • My husband flushed the baby down the toilet (Don't be too hard on him, he asked permission first, and I granted it not knowing how difficult it would later be to think of my precious little one being "in the sewer." (In a later post, I'll explain how I got through those dark days.)
  • Two years after that, he moved from the college to be the administrator at the Christian school
  • Oh, I forgot, I’ve had two more babies! :) :)

The day I was asked to speak about “Just When I Get Comfortable, My Life Changes,” I sat down and wrote out all of my major changes and figured out that since I have been married, my life has drastically changed every 7 and ½ months. I’m not sure how comfortable you can get in 7½ months, but I do tend to get pretty comfortable during the “down” times.

I wish that I could come up with some cute little plan for dealing with change. The truth is, I tried. I tried for two months to come up with a neat little outline about change. I even searched in my husband’s sermon folder. I came up empty. As far as I can see, there is really only one proper response to change: Acceptance.

Acceptance = To take or receive what is offered, with a consenting mind; to receive with approbation or favor.

Changes are going to happen in our lives. Many, many, many changes. What we do with that change or how we respond (answer) to that change will determine how God is able to use us. As Christians, we are the Bride of Christ. We women who are married know a little bit about being a bride. As wives, our husbands want to see us respond to them in a positive way – all the time – even if we “have a headache.” Of course, in every area, our husbands want us to respond to them properly. They desire a proper response from us because they are made in the image of God.

A year or so ago, I had a nice roast in the crockpot on Sunday morning. I had it all planned out. I was going to make a beautiful Sunday dinner, complete with mashed potatoes, carrots, gravy, salad, bread. It was going to be great! It happened to be the beginning of summer. When we came out of church that morning, the weather was beautiful, and my hubby decided that he wanted to find a little lake somewhere and take the children swimming. My mind, or rather my flesh, was telling me that the logical thing to do would be to stay home and eat the meal that I had so lovingly planned and prepared. I wanted to say, "We can't go to the lake until we have eating this nice meal that I have made." Instead, I said, "Okay, great. Let me just stop at the store real quick." I gathered some french bread, veggies and dip, chips, and juice and made roast beef sandwiches for a picnic. We had a fantastic time and everyone still remembers it fondly.

Likewise, when God allows changes to come into our lives, He is looking and longing for us to respond properly to those changes. The proper response is to accept the change and cling to the One who never changes. Malachi 3:6 says, “For I am the LORD, I change not.”

We ladies tend to overcomplicate matters. We think that if life is simple then something must be wrong. The truth is that clinging to the One who never changes is quite simple. Think back to when you were dating your husband (if you’re married). What did you do?

  • You thought about him (all the time)
  • You talked to him (as much as he would let you!)
  • You let him talk to you (for as long as he wanted)
  • You spent as much time with him as you could.

You were clinging to that someone special. We need to cling to our God in much the same way:

  1. We need to think about Him – Meditate on what He has done for us, Who He is, etc.
  2. We need to talk to Him – better known as prayer! Have a prayer list and update your list frequently.
  3. We need to allow Him to talk to us – read the Bible! Every day!
    *Keep a journal of the things He is teaching you each day.
    *Print out the verses He uses to speak to you and post them around your house to remind you of what He said.
  4. Spend as much time with Him as you can.
    Go to church faithfully
    Go soul winning
    Serve with Him in a ministry

Changes come into our lives so that God can change us into the ladies that He wants and needs for us to be. He does not send change to hurt us; He sends change to help us. God wants us to have a better Judgment Day when we get to Heaven. He knows that our flesh is weak and that by ourselves we cannot change into who he wants us to be.

Some of us might view change as trouble. Indeed, some of my changes in life were trouble: when my husband was nearly dying in the hospital, for example. In fact, about two weeks prior to my husband's illness, he preached a message in church entitled, "When Trouble Comes." While he was in an induced coma for 36 hours, his words were the ones that I clung to. My Heavenly Father had used my husband to prepare me for the huge change (known to me as trouble) that was about to enter my life. (Isn't God so good?) There are three things that trouble i.e. change does for us:

  1. Trouble energizes us. *Let your trouble stir you up to do something for God.
  2. Trouble clarifies.
    It teaches you to live one day at a time and focus on what’s really important.
    i. Teaches
    ii. Tenderizes
    iii. Toughens
    Troubles will only give you a clearer vision if you had already established a routine of obedience to God.
  3. Trouble magnifies our weakness and God’s power.
    II Corinthians 12:7-10 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

How are you, dear lady, responding to the change that God is allowing into your life? Are you accepting it? Or, are you allowing Satan to get a foothold in your life by rejecting it?


  1. Amanda,

    This is a wonderful well presented lesson. The videos were great! Can't wait to see the pics of Chad's BD party.

    DAD Vest

  2. Amanda,
    I just read your words on Change.
    I have had many changes in my life
    over the past 30 years also. I am now thankful for all those changes.
    I heard many fine ladies speak at a conference last week but your "written message" was the best I have ever heard. thank you for sharing.

  3. Tracy sent me an email after her visit with you, saying, "She has a lot of wisdom for such a little thing." Obviously, the words of an older sister, but I must agree with her. As I was reading your post, I had to go back to check and make sure that it was written by you. You seem too young to have gone through that many changes in your life. Thank you for sharing the lessons you've learned. It is a blessing that you have yielded yourself enough for God to use all these things for good in your life.

  4. God will bless you greatly for such a teachable spirit and a real transparency in an effort to help others. You are a beautiful person, and I'm so glad God brought you into our family. You are the perfect wife to my baby brother!

  5. Oops, Silly me! I was telling the kids tonight that you have been making our bread and it hit me that I had you mixed up with Lisa. Doesn't change what I meant, though. I still appreciate the wisdom you shared here. :)

  6. Amy,
    Thank you for the kind words. I had wondered if maybe you had me mixed up with Lisa. :) Well, Tracy really is like a big sister to me! We made your fried dough tonight, and the kids loved them!


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