When I was about nine years old, my family left the east coast for the Wild West. It was such an unknown for us, as my mom’s family, my dad’s family – all we knew and were familiar with – lived in the East and had their roots there. It was a place of foundation for us, the place my parents grew up and we had been born. But change happens. And for us, this change included a move to Nevada, a change in schools and environments, and a change in church family. My dad, a Presbyterian pastor, was called to a new church.
When it was time to move, we climbed onto an airplane – must have been my first plane ride – and I remember gazing out the window as we approached the Western deserts with my little brother. He said, “Nevada looks like dirt.” And he was right. Everything was brown, parched, unfamiliar.
After that change, I became a little bit more adaptable. I had to learn to be. I changed schools a couple more times, and we settled into a new house or two. I made new friends. I had to catch up at school, as it was the end of my third grade year, which meant I had to learn how to do math their way and even learn a whole new vocabulary. There were many changes in the academics. The weather was different too, which meant there were new changes in how I spent my free time. Everything – just everything – seemed different.
This last few months has been a new season of change for my family, yet as the mom I have tried to absorb most of that anxiety for our children, as we sought God’s direction for our family. And while some things remain the same, we found God had led us to seek a change in schools for them. Because I attended so many elementary schools, it didn’t seem to be truly that big a change, but you know what? Change is really difficult. It’s become more difficult for me as I’ve grown older.
After more than a few months of research and meetings and visits and prayer, we finally landed on what we felt God was directing us to do. God answered those prayers, but we had to wade through many steps to determine his direction for our children and for us. And I have been reminded – as God has called me out of my nice, little comfort zone many times in the last several months – that God does not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice.
The Apostle Paul writes to his beloved Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:6-7:
For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.
That sure seems it needs an exclamation point on the end of it instead of a period! If we are able to rekindle – or fan into flame – the gift of God which is already in us by God’s Holy Spirit, is it possible we are also able to quench the work of the Spirit within us? Hmmm. Well, look at this. In the Apostle Paul’s earliest letter, he tells us not to “quench the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19). After all, God has gifted us by His Spirit and then gives us the power and self-discipline to exercise our faith in love, with His help!
I am not only intrigued by this but also excited by Paul’s words, because I am reminded of how much God has in store for me and for my children, if only I am willing to be used by Him. My fear of change – my cowardice – gets in the way. But just as Paul reminds Timothy that he is God’s instrument, so he reminds us. May we be open to the changes He has in store for us, to His glory.