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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Bring On the Change!

As I mentioned in a previous post, we are facing change on every front. Our life is looking completely different than it did just six months ago. This is the beauty of it. God takes what once what so lovely to us, burns it, refines it and makes true beauty from the ashes of our life.

When God is the One bringing on the change, it is good. "Therefore...the old has gone, the new has come." (2 Corinthians 5:17b) Bring on the new!

Well, I say, "Bring on the new," but what I mean is I'm trying not to fight the new kicking and screaming. My tendency has always been to hold off change, to find a way that works and to, well, work it. So, hopefully, this time will go smoother.

Back in November when we decided that I was the best candidate to help Andrew, I felt a deep peace about it.

"Now the Lord God said, It is not good (sufficient, satisfactory) that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper meet (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him." (Genesis 2:18)

I felt deep peace, yet, I cried. I cried for a whole week before I could even talk about it to anyone. I did not want to be misunderstood by anyone so I cried privately. I cried because change is hard. I cried because I didn't know what this change would look like. I cried because I liked my life. I liked the people and the activities that filled it. I knew that in order to spend time in real estate, I would have to cease spending time in other places. This made me grieve.

In all my humanness, I tried to figure out, on my own, what this would look like. My mind worked overtime to make a plan. I made a list of all the activities I could sacrifice. I told God the things I couldn't live without. This was an open invitation to God, which He thankfully accepted, to reveal, uncover and weed sin out of my heart.

So, this journey has been hard and painful but equally fun and vastly rewarding already.

The most amazing thing about this "work" is that it is so much fun it shouldn't even be called work. I get to look at tons of houses with lots of new and many old friends. This is just like shopping with somebody else's money! I get to rearrange peoples' homes for a cleaner, fresher, more polished and seller-friendly look. I get to spend tons more time with my husband. I love this! I also get to spend more time with my mother-in-law. Our previously good relationship is now great. My children are making wonderful memories with their grandparents. How rewarding it is to see these relationships growing.
In order for this family unit to function, each member is having to take on new and added responsibilities to carry and to share. I like seeing Team Smith growing this way. Teamwork is being redefined in our home. It truly takes us all working together to get from place to place prepared to carry out our tasks. I like seeing progress like this. I like how the things that were once hard are made easy with practice. This means we're maturing.

My biggest challenge in all this has been going from mommy to real estate agent in a millisecond. Sometimes I really feel like Clark Kent running into a phone booth to turn circles and reemerge as Superman. Most of the time I feel like I got tangled up in my cape! Like yesterday when I realized that I had been watching two clocks that hadn't been set forward yet. I went to get gas and discovered I didn't know the pin to Andrew's debit card. I left to meet my client with hope and a prayer that my award-winning personality and attention to customer service would more than make up for my tangled cape and twisted tights! I want to juggle these roles gracefully.

In Sally Clarkson's book, "The Mission of Motherhood," she talks about the cup we are given to drink. She says that when Jesus was about to hang on the cross, His prayer to God was that He would walk into the role of Savior with grace. In Luke 22:42 Jesus prayed, "Saying, Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but [always] Yours be done." She explains that Jesus spent His last hours on earth serving those He loved and shepherded. She says as mothers and as wives we should care for our family in this way, drinking from the cup God has given us with grace.

May I drink from my cup with the same grace that Jesus did.

"Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God's unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it]." (Hebrews 4:16)

During these times of need, my quiet time hasn't been all that quiet. It is a good thing God told me to call this a time of devotion. He showed me a few years ago that this time spent in His word was a time of devotion, a time I pour out love to the Lord spending time in His Word each day out of love and devotion to Him.

I am so thankful my God is one who is closer than a best friend. I am so grateful that when we are fighting pinkeye, stomach viruses, the flu and the coughing, sneezing, sore throat, nasty crud and can't get our eyes open in the morning, literally, He is still there. When the only time we have to talk to Him is during afternoon carpool when all the kids are tied to a car seat and the little ones are sleeping (finally), He's still there. When the only time I have to read in His Word is when I am forced to sit, He's still there. When the only time I can actually hear to listen, I'm actually laying in bed dreaming, He's still there.

"Be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not,[I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!] (Hebrews 13:5)

Interesting this verse is about worry...when I'm busy I tend to worry. This on-the-go lifestyle is definitely not one I want to adopt for long. For me to remain focused on God, to not worry and to serve loved ones well I need time with the Lord. I need slow, quiet, set aside, quality time. Time for reading, listening, praying, meditating, pondering and processing.

Have you ever set aside time, maybe with your husband, children or an old friend, to be quality time? Have you ever been disappointed that it wasn't? After searching for a sitter all day you were too tired of talking to converse or after arriving at the ice cream store your child throws a fit because there is no blue ice cream that day or after planning for months to have lunch with a good friend the baby gets an earache and we're exhausted. We've all found ourselves here

Why? Quality time can't be scheduled or contrived. We spend large quantities of time with those we love and quality time just happens sometimes.

I realize this theory is so true in my spiritual life. In general, I need mass quantities of time with the Lord for there to be any quality at all to it, quality results especially. In order to achieve quantity time that converts to quality time we are to continually give thanks, pray and rejoice. This means we have to dwell with the Lord always, be focused on Him always, live in His presence always.

"Be happy [in your faith] and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually (always); Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly]; Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
I want my lifestyle to be one dwelt in His presence. I want my lifestyle to minister peace in a chaotic world and love to hurting people. Without quality time with Jesus I am powerless to do this.

God just recently showed me the great thing about walking in newness; it doesn't always remain new. "And we...are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." (2 Corinthians 3:18)

While I'm super busy this month with many new tasks that take hours to complete, I'm learning. In the next few months, I'll be completing these same tasks more quickly.

So, while I am saying, "Bring on the new," I am also waiting patiently for the day I find a way to work it. A day when it's not quite so new anymore.

"Every valley and ravine shall be filled up, and every mountain and hill shall be leveled; and the crooked places shall be made straight, and the rough roads shall be made smooth." (Luke 3:5)

A day when it has all been made beautiful. There will be a time. For now, we appreciate the beauty of what is happening. Rejoicing that He has brought new things.

"He has made everything beautiful in its time." (Ecclesiastes 3:11)


Renee Heaton said...

I am going through "the change" too! And thank goodness the Lord is working with me through it. This change is happening all around me, spiritually, physically, mentally...sometimes it can be overwhelming. This is when I remember that the Lord orders my steps and he is in control!

leese said...

Lisa, I know that the Lord will give you the strength to accomplish everything He has put before you. Remember to cherish Him first,above all things, and continue to meditate on the parts of His Word that are written on your heart. I will continue to pray for God to give you the grace to fulfill all these roles that are before you. You are so dear to me. I love you.

Kathryn Berilla said...

I love when we are listening to His voice and we are able to be molded by Him.
He is growing your whole family through this change.
I am not one for change as you know, but whenever He does it, it is always soooooo good.