Last Thursday, I had one of those moments when my mind seemed to leave my body and I just thought, “Where in the world am I?” I was volunteering with the local Red Cross unit, sitting with some sweet people that had Alzheimer’s, and telling them about my life in Texas. It was such a special time of sharing, a wonderful workout for my French, and it felt surreal. I have learned that that is often how we feel when we let God take the reigns of our life and follow wherever he leads. I never imagined that I would be involved in such a special moment so far away from my home, but God does “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20).
Where I was sitting last Thursday afternoon was completely different from the classroom I had been sitting in at this same time just one year ago, and it reminded me of a song that was sort of a theme for me over the summer as we made the move over here. “Life Changes” is a secular song by Thomas Rhett that contains these lyrics:
Ain’t it funny how life changes
You wake up ain’t nothing the same and life changes
You can’t stop it just hop on the train and
You never know what’s gonna happen
You make your plans and you hear God laughing
Life changes, and I wouldn’t change it for the world…
As I look back on 14, 15, or 16 year old me, I laugh too. I had and still have so many plans that I think need to happen, but praise the Lord that he has something different in mind. He knows what is best for me, and I wouldn’t change his plans for the world. I have no idea what I am doing, but he knows exactly what he is doing.
Recently, I have been learning that change that comes from God is a wonderful thing. It pushes us into a deeper reliance on him. However, that does not mean that change is easy. Sometimes, I feel sad when I look up and realize how radically my life has changed. Sometimes, I FaceTime my sweet friends still in high school and long for the days of pep rallies, football games, and band competitions. But then I realize, this is where God has me. When so many things change around us, he stays the same. Forever and ever.
Over the summer, I began to memorize Psalm 46 because I love verse 10.
He says “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the Earth.”
However, I had never taken time to read the whole Psalm or to reflect on what that verse truly meant. The first two verses say:
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the Earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
This has been a wonderful passage to cling to during a time of such change. I know that moving across the world is not the same thing as the Earth giving way or the mountains falling into the heart of the sea, but I certainly had times when it felt like that to me. These verses reminded me that God is always my refuge, he is always my strength, and he is always my ever-present help. Verse 10 also began to make more sense to me. I learned that instead of meaning quiet reflection, it has more of a meaning of “Stop fighting, and acknowledge who God is.” So when God brings the change, I won’t fight it. I will know that his way is the best way, and I will simply be in awe of how awesome he is.
Yesterday at church, our pastor shared some other verses that bring great peace in times of change. Romans 8:38-39 says:
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
He reminded us that no change or hard time we ever go through will keep us from the love of God, and that is so very important to remember. He loves me in Texas, he loves me in France, and he loves me wherever else he may send me!
When we follow the will of God, he tends to take us some pretty amazing places. Although, where we are is not the amazing part. What we are doing is what is truly important. To serve God and to simply love everyone he puts in front of you with his love, that is his plan for us. I want to encourage you to shine the light of Jesus in every aspect of your life, whether you are going to school, work, or the grocery store. He is using you in mighty ways, in bigger ways than you could ever ask or imagine, and that certainly feels pretty surreal. That might bring about some crazy change. But remember: He is your refuge. He is your strength. He always loves you. Stop fighting and hop on the train of his amazing plan for your life!