Friday, May 13, 2011

Looking at Change Through the Right Lenses

Does it ever seem to you that right when you have life figured out, things change on you? After spending one year in America, last year I moved back to a new house and a new ministry in the Middle East. Talk about change!

Last week I turned 47. For me this birthday is a natural turning point to reflect on my calling, recent changes, and the future.

My calling and passion:

I discovered my calling the year I met an Iranian girl named Fariba. I was a student at the University of Texas. She introduced me to about 20 Iranian friends. I shared my faith with them, had an English conversation club for women, and lived through the horror of accidently serving pork lasagna to Fariba’s M mother! That year God gave me a passion to share His love with M women.  

Fifteen years later my husband and I brought our family to the Middle East. We grew into a mentoring/discipleship ministry in a local church. God gave me many opportunities to use my gifts to encourage women.  It was a fruitful time, and I settled into feeling secure. I felt like I was in my element.


Last year God called me to leave that security to step out of the boat with my husband and start a new church plant. He gave us new ministry partners. Although we’ve been working seven months sharing the good news with M friends, we don’t see many results yet. Others who have planted fellowships in this country tell me I’d better dig in my heels and keep my eyes on Jesus for the long haul.

Walking by faith:

I know God is calling us, but things don’t feel so safe or predictable right now.  This is a new level of walking by faith.  We’re on the road to discovering how God can use our gifts in evangelism and church planting.  I have questions: What if we fail?  How can I use my gifts to reach M women? This is an in between time when I need to keep taking steps towards our new vision.

Three years ago God gave me a new life verse, and it gives me a great lens through which to look at life in the midst of change.

But I am like an olive tree
Flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God’s unfailing love forever and ever.
I will praise you forever for what you have done;
In your name I will hope, for your name is good.
Psalm 52:8,9a

These verses show me several things to hold onto right now:
  • Hope for the Future
The image of the olive tree flourishing in God’s house gives me hope that I’ll stay fresh, green, and fruitful, even as I get older.  I want to continue bearing fruit for His Kingdom.
  • Trust in God’s goodness and love
Though I can’t see the end of the road, I can trust that God will be good to me, that He loves me and has plans to bless me and give me a future and a hope.
  • Praise for what God has done
I can look back and thank God for what He has already done in my life. I am grateful for a faithful husband I can laugh with, great kids I enjoy, and supportive friends. I can look to the future knowing that the same God who blessed me in the past will be with me in the future.

Have you gone through any changes lately?  How are you coping?


Linda said...

You and your words are so inspirational--but more than that, you are role modeling for us what it is to live a life of faith, faith on the cutting edge! God bless you!

You are so correct--in looking back at how faithful God has been in the past, we are strengthened in our faith and willing to step out, trusting Him for the unknown in the next big thing.

God will never fail you, He is your constant companion, He is worthy of trust. I am enjoying getting acquainted with you and your ministry.

Be of good cheer!


OliveTree said...

Thank you, Linda, for your encouraging words. I've enjoyed your blog as well!