Asking Your Input: What Changes You?

Young Lady WritingChange is fascinating. There’s a whole scientific literature on change: psychologists love that kind of stuff. And don’t we all want to change in some way?

Call it transformation if you want, but the basic message of the gospel is one of change. God promised to change out our stony heart for one of flesh: the original heart transplant! (See Eze 36:26). We are told His Holy Spirit is changing us into the likeness of Christ. (See 2 Cor 3:18). Is that happening for you?

I know I’m not the same person I was some fifteen or twenty years ago. I grew up a very troubled young woman in a very troubled family. I spent quite a few years as a “basket case.” Today I’m incredibly happy, married, and professionally and personally successful. I’m sure no one who knows me now would call me troubled or a basket case!

Something changed. I changed. My core DNA is different. What goes on in my mind when I see someone, or when I face a problem, is different. And that’s a good thing.

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5 Things I Know For Sure

Confident WomanSome days are definitely better than others. Some days it seems everything goes wrong: perhaps the washing machine doesn’t work, a forgotten item shows up on your bank statement, and your spouse is sick.  A person’s emotions can get more than a little upset!

I don’t believe God intends for every one of our days to be easy. We would have no incentive to grow and mature if that were the case. He uses the difficult times to work transformation in us that nothing else can accomplish. He’s much more interested in our character than our comfort! He hurts when we hurt, but His purpose is much bigger than what we often see.

When things are frustrating, painful, difficult, or confusing, it helps to have some things settled – some things you know for sure. It gives you a place to go back to if you feel you’re getting lost. And that’s especially valuable on bad days – or weeks, or longer.

Here are a few things I have settled for good, things I know for sure:

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Valentine’s Day for Men and Women

Woman Holding RosesMany retailers were happy yesterday, especially those selling cards, flowers, candy, or romantic dinners. And a few women were happy – those with romantically inclined men in their lives. Valentine’s Day can be fun.

But the majority of both men and women were probably NOT happy yesterday. Many men were frustrated, or irritated with the pressure of romantic expectations “on schedule.” Many women were unhappy, disappointed at being alone, or at the lack of romance their man provided.

I remember the many years I spent Valentine’s Day alone. For a while it was depressing! But it was one of those things that pushed me to learn how to let God meet my needs for intimacy, love, and care.

Just a few weeks before my husband Al and I came to know each other I was speaking at a women’s conference about this very thing. One woman there talked about how she would run from one relationship with a man to another, even though most of those relationships were clearly destructive.

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3 Things that are NOT Small Stuff

Funeral FlowersRule Number 1: Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Rule Number 2: It’s ALL small stuff!

There are very few things in life worthy of being excluded from the “small stuff.”

We were reminded of this today when we heard from a friend of ours that his father had passed away this morning. For Peter, his life on this earth is over. For Steve, the long waits at the hospital, the fighting to arrange insurance coverage, the conversations with doctors, the late-night trips to the ER, the frustrations with family members over details – all that is over too. And suddenly all those pesky problems certainly feel like comparatively “small stuff!”

Steve had a chance to tell his father Goodbye. He knows his father was right with God, and he has a strong faith himself. None of that lessens the pain, but it does limit the regrets. And for the rest of us, seeing someone come to the end of life here does help put everything else in perspective.

In the grand scheme of things, what’s NOT small stuff? A few suggestions:

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3 Benefits of Being Single

Single Person with CokeNo little girl grows up dreaming of going to bed every night alone, living by herself in an apartment. No little boy grows up dreaming of always washing his own clothes and cooking his own food. Regardless of whatever else we dream about, most of our childhood dreams include getting married and building a family.

Sooner or later that dream is often somewhat spoiled, broken, or misdirected. Parental divorce, domestic violence, addiction, or our own experiences of broken love may cloud the rosy dream of marital bliss. But for most of us even if that dream is buried, it’s still alive.

Then when marriage doesn’t happen it’s easy to become discouraged. Or perhaps marriage ended and you’re single again. You question, is there something wrong with ME? Where have all the good girls (or guys) gone? Am I doomed to be alone forever? Why doesn’t God answer my prayer for a mate?

I was single for 48 years. Then God brought a wonderful man into my life, and we are very happily married. But I know what it’s like to live year after year alone, wondering why it never happened for me. And I know what it’s like to finally completely give up on ever getting married.

Living alone for all those years, I did learn some very important things about the single life.

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