Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV)
Last year at this time I wrote that, from a personal perspective, I was calling 2012 ‘The Year of Change’. As I stood at the threshold of the new year I was aware of a number of circumstances necessitating the dreaded change – my mother’s move to Tennessee, my son’s graduation from High School and enrollment in college, my daughter’s move to High School, my son’s move to Middle School, and the precarious financial footing of the church which could require a reduction in hours. I would not have anticipated the death of Jeanine’s father in those early days of the new year, but we were called to face that major adjustment just 7 weeks into 2012. Everything anticipated occurred, sometimes with celebration and sometimes with tears, and we have weathered some storms – figuratively and literally – over the past twelve months.
I came to realize, not for the first time but in a fresh new way, that God is faithful. He miraculously provided the sufficient blessings to the church such that ministry was sustained and increased. He came alongside us with comfort in our sadness and with joys in our gladness. Holidays, while different, were special and vacations (which were blessings) were memorable. God allowed the various changes in my family’s dynamic and God supplied the resources – emotionally and financially – to sustain us through every high and every low. To Him be all the glory.
I wish I could say that all the change in completed and all the turmoil is through, but that would be wrong. While I cannot anticipate the changes that will beset and bless our lives, I do know that they will come. Ironically, change is a constant. I do, however, know that God will remain faithful, He will remain righteous, He will remain a refuge and a shield about us. So this year, as we did last year, we will forget the good and the bad of the past – it doesn’t define us – and strain toward what is ahead – it does define us. The changes we’ve faced and the changes we are about to face are preparing us for what we are craning our necks to see: the sure and certain hope of reunion with the lover of our souls in glory.
Join me as we press on toward the goal. Join me as we endure hardship and experience joys in our pursuit of the prize. Join me as we face change together so that we can be molded and shaped into the people of God. Perhaps 2013 will be another ‘Year of Change’; Lord, help us to be ready.
All that being said, I think I’ll write my appointments in pencil this year…and have a giant eraser handy (just in case).