We hold the ability to make personal changes, right? All of us also know what it feels like to change our minds–we women especially. If it were up to me, I don’t think I would have modified anything as I a child, a teen, or as a woman. Reason being, it’s all made me who I am today and I’ve even grown to feel grateful for the low spots.With God’s help, we all have the opportunity to experience transformation that has the potential to remain a lifetime.
A personal transformation within me really picked up it’s pace when I was nineteen–in an engagement, marriage, and a eventually new apartment thousands of miles from home. As I stood in my new Florida kitchen, reality set in quick. I had to learn to love–ok like cooking. For this new wife who didn’t even know how to make mashed potatoes–yes it became a very long road of learning for me.
Over the span of twenty four years, I did master the art of packing and unpacking our personal moving trucks at least twelve times–and that’s not an exaggeration. With every move but one, I cared for our children both in and outside of the womb. After so many transitions and picking up a skill or two in the moving process, I matured a bit more. Starting over again and again in a new place or state, I can guarantee–there was no way I could remain the same nineteen-year-old I once was.
Life isn’t a carbon copy for us all though, is it? Some people I’ve come to care about have grown through living and working in the same area most of their lives. Their relationships, homes, and vocations reflect the familiarity they’ve enjoyed for many years. While some may turn their nose up at a life like theirs, or mine, I can’t help but now relish the peace of calling our small town home. I am not the same, life’s pace has grown slower for me over the last four and a half years, and it’s still changing me. Even though I know I have a long way to go, I appreciate the option of getting something done in country time when I choose to get around to it. It’s now quite a contrast to how I’ve lived my life before. Picture with me a freight train rushing towards its destination and coming to a crawl in a matter of minutes–that freight train once was me…
I called the suburbs of Chicagoland home for most of my life. The fast pace, the traffic, honking horns, the diesel wafting through the air, blackened snow in winter, the hazy air in the summer, professional baseball on TV, football games in the city, the barrage of billboards, endless shopping, dangerous neighborhoods, and crowds–all trained me to keep myself moving. It seemed like I got used to rushing, which explains why I became easily frustrated by the restraining stop lights and the highway crawling with bumper to bumper traffic at rush hour. Our music was fast, food was fast, our hearts beat fast–the adrenaline kept us going until the icy subzero temperatures forced us to slow and take our time. That was me almost five years ago. Honestly, even though there were challenges, it still put an ache in my heart to say goodbye to the roots and friends I never thought I’d leave.
The leap of faith with my family, initially lead us to live in an RV where life was more than slow. That changed me. For months, I began to breathe, appreciate less, toss the to do list, and learn how to cook with a propane stove. I learned how to remove ticks, drive across three states at a time with my kids alone, and face my fear of tornadoes by driving through the craziest Oklahoma weather in a fifteen-passenger van. Those were crazy times, peaceful times, and confining times. During that season, I learned more about myself than I had planned and it wasn’t always pretty.
It wasn’t pretty but it was necessary–God wanted to work on me in many ways.
Today, by God’s grace, I’m glad that I’m not the same girl who planned to go to art school and live in Chicago. I’m glad I’m not the same teen who’d take the train alone downtown and meet up with a friend or take a bus there for weekend classes. Even though I miss sharing memories with those I love back in my hometown area, I remain grateful for all the good changes. This metamorphosis within my heart, mind, and soul wouldn’t have happened if I had remained the same. So, I’m praying for all of us about that today. I pray we will reopen ourselves up to the changes ahead and to what God already has planned for us. I also pray He will pour out his wisdom upon us in every decision so we may become faithful witnesses of His glory.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”