Sunday, December 29, 2013

For in Acceptance Lieth Peace

"For in acceptance lieth peace." -Amy Charmichael

"...It is our response to our circumstances rather than the degree of difficulty that determines whether or not we are discontent." -Jerry Bridges ( from Respectable Sins)

I have a hard time accepting change. Especially when it is a change in my plans. It unsettles me, it threatens to ruin a perfectly good day. I often become irritated, worried, unkind, angry, and I find someone to blame for messing them up. I don't want unpredictable schedules and last minute plans. I like to to know in advance, to be able to make plans more than 2 weeks out, and to control my schedule.

My life hasn't gone the way I had planned when I was in college. We didn't feel that calling to missions in Africa when I thought we would, instead we've settled down and made roots in the US. Our jobs have changed multiple times in the past 3 years, have had less than predictable hours, and some have felt less than fulfilling. We've lost loved ones, had friends move away, experienced job loss, and our vehicles have broken down at some of the most difficult times.

God created me with a love for planning, but He also asks that I trust Him when those plans change and to serve Him faithfully wherever I am, in whatever I'm doing. Proverbs 19:21 says, "Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails". God has used these changes in my plans to show me that I need him, and that He wants me to depend on him for everything. I am comforted by 1 Peter 5:7 that says, "Cast all your anxieties on him because he cares for you". God is sovereign over all things and I certainly can't change what's happened or control what will happen. It is only by His grace and power that I can respond differently and that He has given me a husband who is much more flexible.

Even amid the difficulties we've faced this year and changes in plan, I have never felt more blessed. While there are some things I will never understand the reason for, I have begun to see that His plans are far better than I could have imagined them to be. My rebellious heart still wants to believe that my plans are ultimately best, but it's comforting to know that God's plans will prevail and that they are full of amazing promise and hope. He is making us more like Himself and while He may bring trials there will also be so much joy.

This past year we have known this joy. The joy of extra time to spend with friends and family a normal 8-5 job wouldn't allow. The joy of discovering we'll be aunt and uncle again. The joy of God's provision through His people in ways we've needed most so we'd have no cause for anxiety. The joy of new friendships, of closer relationships with a spouse, with friends and with our Heavenly Father. The joy of receiving and sharing the answer to a prayer we've long been waiting for. God, teach me to continue to see that joy you have given me in the midst of the brokenness.

Psalm 73:25,26,28 
"Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works."

"The good that God works for in our lives is conformity to the likeness of His Son. It is not necessarily comfort or happiness but conformity to Christ in ever-increasing measure in this life and in its fullness in eternity." -J. Bridges (Trusting God)

Adam and I before The Ugly Christmas Sweater Run this December

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