Ever since my wife and I made the decision this past June to move our family to northern Indiana, I’ve been anticipating the autumn season. After spending the last six years in either Florida or Texas, it has been one of the things I have missed the most about home. Yes, living at the beach and in the Rio Grande Valley has their perks. However, If you have never been able to experience fall in the midwest or northeast, my words aren’t going to deliver the feelings this time of year creates.
One of my favorite parts of the day has quickly become the walk my wife and I take our daughter on every evening as our day is coming to an end. While the air is definitely getting cooler by the week, the trees are yet to turn the shades of red, yellow and orange I have missed since leaving this part of the country.
Being back in Indiana and experiencing autumn has given me an extra reason to thank God every day. During the breaks in our conversation, while we walk, I can’t help but reflect on the changes I’ve experienced in my relationship with Jesus since 2011. Taking the time to notice the changes in our neighborhood that are happening on a daily basis take my mind somewhere else as I see what is different since the afternoon before.
One of the biggest changes in my life has been the lack of time I am able to spend writing since the move. Between work, doing some remodeling to our new home and writing for a few websites I am committed to, there hasn’t been much time for writing the way I prefer. Over the last few years, my time with a paper and pen has become one of the most important parts of my prayer life, applying Scripture to my life, and growing more intimate with God. By simply looking at the date of my previous article on my blog, it’s easy to see I’ve had to learn how to experience God in other ways.
Another significant change I am going through is my decision to finally join the Catholic Church. This is something I have put off since moving to Florida in 2011. The further along I get into my theological studies and the closer I grow to Jesus, the more the Holy Spirit has shown me this is a change I needed to make. I will never become one of the Catholics who tells you the Church is the only way to Jesus, simply because I know for a fact that isn’t true. That being said, this was the path I am being led down and a decision that is a significant part of the person I believe Jesus wants me to become.
While not everyone has recently made a move across the country or joined a new part of the Body of Christ, each of us has our own significant changes we are going through. Some of us have recently started a new job. Parents are learning how to live with children away at college. There are even those of us who are new to a personal relationship with Jesus and making Scripture a part of our daily lives.
Finding comfort in change
I’ve made decisions that have taught me to learn a lot about change over the previous five or six years. Like the ones I am experiencing now, there have been a few that have produced both joy and peace in my life. There have also been more than I can count that have brought forth pain and frustration. One of the most important things I have learned about change is the need for trust in God. While He isn’t responsible for the many bad decisions I have made leading to hardships, trusting in Jesus and His word is the only way I have been able to make it through the hard times,
Not even three years into my marriage, my wife and I have been on the brink of divorce twice as a result of my selfish actions. With a daughter who will be turning two in a week, there have been too many nights I have gone without telling her goodnight in person as a result of selfish lifestyles. Regardless of the change I have been forced to encounter, Jesus has always been right there, when I am willing to trust Him.
What change has taught me
I have learned when I am going through any kind of a significant change, I need to be spending more time than usual with my nose in a Bible. When change is a part of my life, I also need to increase the amount of time I am spending daily listening for His still, small voice. If I am willing to experience God moving in and through my life in new ways, it has been easier to feel closer to Him during my biggest times of need. The things the enemy has wanted to use against me have often been what has brought me the closest to God, but only when I am willing to cooperate with Him.
My willingness to accept change as it comes has also led to the most noticeable changes in my personal growth. It wasn’t that long ago when I was known as the person even the smallest change could send over the edge. As a recovering alcoholic, I can’t even count the times when something unfamiliar was used as a reason to pick up a drink. I allowed this not only to create roadblocks in my writing career, it has also created more distance than I could ever measure when it comes to my relationship with God.
Once I learned to search for the changes I needed to make inside of me in order to become a better fit with new surroundings, I was finally able to use change to grow closer to God. Only by allowing God to mold me into someone new with each negative change I have encountered have I learned how to conduct myself in a manner pleasing to Him with the changes bringing positivity into my life.