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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

God is the Same!


I just came inside from planting a clematis and setting up a trellis for it, after walking by a little rose garden with 8 or 9 bushes leafing out in celebration of spring.  All of those plants once belonged to my father, who passed away a few years ago.  

Many of you are aware that my wife and I are in the process of a very long, drawn out move from one town to another.  Those of you who know me, already know that I am a sap.  

Movies, songs, mementoes and photographs are just a few of the things that transport me in time, and bring back treasured memories.  And I have learned that those treasure memories that helped shape who I am, travel with me wherever I go and whatever I experience as life changes and moves.  

Those leafing plants are part of the connections for me during this time of transition as I move forward into this next chapter God has for my life.  Every shift that takes place in life, always brings something new that creates new memories, friendships and treasures that are added to what God has already gifted to me, creating and enriching new things in my life. 

Transitions are always like that.  They are often not easy.  It is not an easy thing to pick up roots and move from one location, leaving behind church, friends, family and familiar sights to start afresh in another.  But in the moves I have made over the years, I have learned that even though there are things left behind, there are new friends, new churches, new favorite restaurants, new sights, a plethora of experiences to come that cannot be experienced without stepping away from what was.  So while a time of transition (whether a forced transition or one made by choice) can be challenging, it is also a time of promise.

You may be in life transition yourself.  Divorce is certainly one of those experiences, often a very difficult transition, but so is moving, job change, empty nest, and lots of other life experiences.  Each time, one goes through the process of figuring out what to let go of, and what can and should be brought along.  Perhaps the most important things to take with you are the things that cannot be taken away:  your character, your faith, the lessons you have learned, the memories you cherish, the friendships you have developed.

I first learned this lesson from an elderly woman who resided in a nursing home for whom I was the assigned deacon to take communion to her month by month.  She had only recently moved to the facility, and it was apparently not her choice to have done so.  She struggled with being in the new location, she missed her house, and longed for something familiar in her life.  One day when I met with her, she pointed to a simple chest of drawers and explained that her children had brought it from her house for her, and how pleased she was that they had. She then said something I have never forgotten:  “You know, they can take away my things, but they can’t take my memories, and I have some wonderful memories.”  

God is the same, wherever you reside.  

Your memories remain your memories in any location.  

Your character, your essence, the core of who you are is not dependent on where you live, but on choices you make and experiences you have had, and especially on how you allow God to use those things to shape you into his image.  

In transition?  

That is how life is for all of us.  A friend of mine used to say that the only thing that never changes is that everything is always changing!  I encourage you to make your transitions with faith, hope and expectancy, embracing the positive things ahead with all the things you have become through the things that have brought you to this point already.  God awaits us whenever we venture into those new chapters of life.

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