How do you handle “The Reality of Change?”

March 11, 2011 at 3:50 pm 1 comment

It isn’t often in our lives that we have the opportunity to hear someone speak about an event that happened to us, yet told from the speaker’s perspective and personal experience with the same event.  It’s as if we’ve been holding a coin for years, always looking at the same side of the coin, and only suddenly realizing that there is an entirely different side of the coin.  Both sides make up the same coin, yet look different in many ways.

Last night I had the great fortune to listen to my mom present at her women’s church group.  The topic was “The Reality of Change.”  The question was this: how do you handle – or not handle – it when change is suddenly foisted upon you?

Mom could have chosen from any number of topics.  Like most families mine has ridden the waves of change up and down many times throughout the years.  Mom chose to focus on one specific period of time in her life that took her down through the valley and out the other side: the summer and fall of 1991.

It was a hard year for all of us.  It started when our home was destroyed in the Andover tornado.  We lost our home, a car, and most of our belongings in that storm.  A second hail storm two weeks later totaled the other car.  My brother tangled with a downed chainlink fence (a result of the tornado) and had to have his leg stitched up.  We were caught in a lightning storm on vacation in Tennessee later that summer.  And towards the end of the summer, Mom was diagnosed with diabetes.

My memories of that summer are both clear and fuzzy, all at the same time.  I was 15, and like most teenagers I experienced the roller coaster events with the tunnel-visioned self-centeredness that is common to that age group.  While I knew it was a stressful period for my parents, I was too wrapped up on my own thoughts and emotions to fully consider the things my parents were experiencing.  I never considered that my rock-solid Christian mother was going through doubts about her faith.

All I knew – and still know now – is how much my parents did to protect us.  They made sure we were clothed, and fed, and sheltered.  They provided us with assurance that we were safe.  Outwardly, their faith never wavered.  And because they were solid and calm and steadfast, we were able to have one more summer as kids, without the weight of worry on our shoulders.

To some extent, my parents still do this, even though it’s been 20 years since that summer.  It’s been a stressful few years in their lives, yet my parents still try to shelter us from the brunt of their worries and concerns.  I suppose you always want to protect your children from hurt, no matter how old they are.  I imagine I will be the same way when my children are grown.

What she kept coming back to that summer, my mom shared, was Psalm 121.  In part, it reads:

1  I lift up my eyes to the mountains-
where does my help come from?
2  My help comes from the LORD,
the maker of heaven and earth.

7  The LORD will keep you from all harm-
he will watch over your life.
8  the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

The verse doesn’t mean God will keep bad things from happening to us.  I believe God sometimes lets us go through the fire so that our faith can be refined.  However, if we let him, he will hold us up as walk through our trials, no matter how big or how small.  Like parents do for their children, he will carry our burdens so that we can go about our lives without the weight of worry on our shoulders.

God will shelter us and provide calm even in the midst of a tornado in our lives.  That’s a good thing to remember as we head into spring, when schedules get crazy and the weather gets weird.  All we have to do is hunker down, hold on, and remain assured that he is in control.  We may not know why things are happening the way we are, but some day we will get to see the other side of the coin.

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Entry filed under: Life in general.

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