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November 17, 2016

Ages, Stages and Changes

Be willing to be uncomfortable. Be comfortable being uncomfortable. It may get tough, but it's a small price to pay for living a dream. 
–Peter McWilliams 


The Bible clearly teaches that we all will journey through various seasons in life. Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:

There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven:

A time to be born and a time to die,

A time to plant and a time to uproot,

A time to kill and a time to heal,

A time to tear down and a time to build,

A time to weep and a time to laugh,

A time to mourn and a time to dance,

A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

A time to embrace and a time to refrain,

A time to search and a time to give up,

A time to keep and a time to throw away,

A time to tear and a time to mend,

A time to be silent and a time to speak,

A time to love and a time to hate,

A time for war and a time for peace.

Maybe you’re reading this and thinking, God may have had a dream for me, but I missed it. Or I’m too far along in life for God to be able to use me. Or God might want to use me, but my life is a mess right now!

Regardless of what your circumstances are, what your background is, how much money you have, or what your skills are, God is looking for is a willing heart. And that’s something you can develop—even if you’re not quite ready to commit at this point. God is ready whenever you are.

Extraordinary women know that God can use them at all the ages and stages and in all the changes of life.

I consider my mother an extraordinary woman. I know that I’m biased, but I’ve seen how her willing heart has enabled God to use her for something she never imagined after an unexpected stage of life was thrust upon her, forcing unwanted change.

My father was 59 years young when he was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer. My mother was just 58. They had been married for 40 years when his diagnosis changed their discussions from talk of retirement and moving closer to their grandchildren to discussions about doctor appointments and treatment options.

As a family, we prayed fervently for healing. My mom became my dad’s nurse, and though her heart was breaking, she remained strong for him. She kept track of his medicines and served as his caregiver through his bone marrow transplant. She helped him handle his business affairs and took over the family finances. She coordinated his schedule—and when keeping it became too difficult, she insisted he lighten his load. Finally, when we realized my father would not be healed in this life, my mom gave my dad the precious gift of discussing what would happen to her after his death and letting him help her make plans. He even made sure my mom had a house built near us so that we would be close to her after his passing.

Though dealing with her own sadness, my mom has done a remarkable job of responding to the unexpected change of becoming a widow much earlier than she ever dreamed. More importantly, she realizes she’s in a new stage. And that’s where her willing heart comes in.

Rather than allowing herself to be defined by a single word—“widow”—my mom realizes that she can help others because of this new stage she’s in. She not only continues to be a great support to my sister and me and our families but also ministers to others who have lost spouses. Though my mom is not a widow by choice, she allows God to use her to help others through the grieving process. Watching God use her has been enlightening to me, and I often wonder how and where He’ll use me as I also travel through the ages, stages, and changes that are ahead for me—ones that only He knows about.

Even though I don’t understand why God didn’t heal my father, I know that God loves me and I choose to continue to believe in Him and His promises. God is good in all ages, stages, and changes. I may never fully understand why things happen the way they do, but I continue to put my trust in God. Doing so is the first step to having a willing heart. And having a willing heart is the secret to living God’s dream for you.

Taken from Extraordinary Women: Secrets to Discovering the Dream God Created for You by Julie Clinton.

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