Twice today I heard the same words: “I do not like change. I cannot do that.” Both women would point to the loss of a loved one that caused them to be unable to make a simple change. I shook my head in disbelief and then prayed for them. I was asking for little. This simple change would save them money, provide them with a gift, and change nothing else. A bill they must pay each month would be reduced with no risk, a written guarantee of savings provided, yet they were afraid of change. I could only shake my head … and remember when I would have responded in the same way. It is interesting how loss can change you.
Ten years ago, I learned how life can change in a moment. Sometimes we see it coming; other times it comes from left field. My husband’s illness crept upon us slowly, but eventually the occupational therapist in me could see what we were facing. How had I not seen this earlier? On the day of his diagnosis, everything changed. I wanted to think things could remain the same, but I knew in my heart nothing would ever be the same. People gossiped, judged and withdrew. I was very much alone; we were very much alone. Yet today, ten years later, I am glad nothing is the same. This has been a journey I would not have chosen, but I would not change or trade.
I marvel when I say those words, for I truly mean them. Yet, when I think that Jesus chose to leave His throne in heaven, to put on skin, come to earth, be born as a baby and then to die a horrific death on a cross for me, I am in awe. He chose that path. He knew the process, the pain and the suffering, but His eyes were set firmly upon the outcome — an outcome that bought my salvation. He chose change.
My husband was a pastor when he was diagnosed with a serious mental illness. A year into that diagnosis, with medication challenges controlling us, he signed himself into a hospital in order to get his meds right. This journey would take several more years. Each day, each week, each month and each year were filled with changes. Did I like it at the time? No. But now, looking back, I am glad that I was stretched, challenged and changed by those circumstances.
I am now awesome on the zero-turn mower. I am not afraid of the Massey Ferguson tractor. I do not cower before the wood splitter. I have changed out light switches and outlets with my trusty cordless drill. I love having these skills. Each one was born from change mingled with need and loss, then topped with a slight hint of desperation and determination. Each one is precious to me.
But greater still, than those practical skills, are the changes that have been wrought in my heart, soul and mind. I now see challenge as opportunity, loss as potential blessing and change as a new creation in the making. Today, I am confident in my career as a pediatric therapist. I love the business I do in my spare time because it allows me to stretch myself on a daily basis and help others. I absolutely love my new ministry, which is using gifts I did not know God had bestowed upon me. I would not possess these things had life not changed and had I not chosen to embrace and learn from those changes.
Change can be a wonderful thing. Choosing to place our will into the hands of our loving Father makes the wonderful changes possible.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).
Cindy Anderson is a pediatric occupational therapist who teaches and writes curriculum for the children’s ministry at Brockport Free Methodist Church in New York.
- In what times in your life have you been afraid of change?
- Have you seen evidence of God working through those changes for your benefit?