Sixteen years ago, I was a ..

backward baseball cap donning
legs unshaven
never gonna let a man tell me what to do
not sure if I wanted kids to slow down my ministry calling
I’m going to be a missionary forever
kind of girl.

Then I met Steve and was smitten.
He was tall, handsome, clean-cut, settled … and more traditional than I.
Even though we were in our late 20s, we were young and in love.

Our first year of marriage was challenging at best.
We fought constantly as we tried to figure out …
who was going to do the cooking and cleaning
who was going to balance the check book
who was going to make the final decision if it came down to that.

God began a painful work in my heart as marriage forced me to learn about submission.
As far as I was concerned, it was a 4-letter word.
But over the years, God has changed me from deep within Himself.
He rooted out my old ways of thinking.
He gave me a desire to be a Mom.
He gave me a Biblical view of marriage and parenting.
Today, I am nothing like that girl I was 16 years ago.

Change is not easy and is often extremely painful.
But although the process sucks, the outcome is worth the pain of getting there.
My constant prayer is that God would make me into the person that HE wants me to be.
More often than I want, He puts circumstances or people in my life to bring about change.


Although I can open myself to the Holy Spirit bringing about change in my life,
try as I may to open others to the same process, I often learn the hard way
that change is not something I can impose on another.
I cannot change my husband or my kids … or anyone else for that matter.
I can ask them to change.
I can beg and plead.
I can scream and yell.
But change has to come from the power of the Holy Spirit and a willingness in the heart of each individual.
Change never comes from my frustration.
In fact, my frustration often brings about an opposition to change.

There are certainly days that I try to be the Holy Spirit.
I try to lovingly push them along toward change.
Unfortunately, that often ends in — disappointment!

It’s not easy to live with people who sin against me and hurt me.
It’s not easy to accept the reality that it’s not up to me to change them.
It’s not easy to be patient with them while they refuse to change.

It’s easy to take up an offense and be angry by the way they treat me (or don’t treat me).
Some days, the only constant is the lack of change in those who are closest to me and end up hurting me the most.

I’ve also found that change in me does not necessarily bring about change in them…
despite the fact that at times I hope that my willingness to embrace change is setting an example for others to follow.

But as God is long-suffering with me, I am to be the same with them.
Wow.  That’s so incredibly hard to do!
I have to embrace the fact that they may or may not change.
And then I have to ask myself.
How do I accept that and live with it?
Daily, I have to invite the Spirit to help me.
Help me endure.
and love.
and extend grace.
and forgive.
and forgive.
and forgive.

One day, God will make all things new.
Most days, I need to simply fix my eyes on Jesus, and be filled with joy and peace as I patiently await, in hopeful expectation, for the day that He wipes away all my tears and comes to take me home!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.  Romans 15:13