Keep Calm

We have all seen the poster “Keep Calm and Carry On.” We probably muttered the motto a time or two during a season of change or transition. Well, if you are anything like me, a creature of habit and comfort, you certainly are familiar with this word: “encouragement.”

What is it about change that freaks us out? A new job, career change, new school, off to college, marriage, new baby, new neighborhood, new town, sending our precious children to a new teacher, and so many other changes that we experience throughout life. Do you feel emotions of anxiety, sadness, fear of the unknown, no control, and worry? Or do you immediately feel excited with anticipation for the new opportunities that will come with the change? That’s right! New opportunities!

Let me challenge you as God has challenged me time and time again. Yes, change still gets me amped up, but in a different way. Before I let fear, worry, and anxiety creep in, I begin to pray and thank God for the upcoming opportunities. Change brings in new opportunities for God to stretch me out of my comfort zone, refine me, challenge me, and use me for His kingdom. That is encouraging and exciting news!

This year I am experiencing a career change after 16 years, sending my precious oldest child off to Kindergarten (yes, I will be at the Boo Hoo Breakfast on the first day of school), and we are expecting a third bundle of joy to arrive around Thanksgiving. Changes? Um, yes! Do moments of anxiety from the unknown creep in from timeTrust On to time? Yes! But, I am keeping calm and trusting God as He leads me during this new season full of new opportunities.

I am praying for the opportunity to start my own business and operate in a way that is honoring and praiseworthy to God. I am praying for all the new families and friends that we will meet at our son’s school. I pray that we get to witness to and be the hands and feet of Christ to them. I am praying for the new friendships that will challenge my family and sharpen us. I pray for all the ways my son will grow and be challenged in his faith. I pray for the precious child that we anxiously wait to meet and love on. I pray for all the peace, patience, and joy that come with parenthood and adjusting to a family of five.

Pray OnLet’s be encouraged and challenged to keep calm, pray, trust God, and carry on His will for our lives.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

About the Writer:
Rhonda is wife to a wonderful teammate who loves the Lord. She is mother to two precious boys and to another blessing on the way. She is thankful for God’s abundant grace, passionate about encouraging others (especially in their walk with the Lord), and enjoys family time and fun with godly girlfriends.

 

 

Every Good and Perfect Gift

In the words of the ancient Greek philosopher, Heraclitus of Ephesus, “All is flux, nothing is stationary.” That the world around us is constantly changing is a natural law that one can bank on. Isn’t it a relief that God’s character does not follow His creation’s nature of change (James 1:17)?

Transition and changes in life are typically mingled with emotions. Also, some changes come unexpectedly and without our consent. In one particularly radical period of transition in my life, I remember it seemed there wasn’t a plan or hope left standing. Relationships, previous goals, career aspirations, independence, health, finances, possessions, ministry — everything seemed to be destroyed from the inside out. It was at that point I encountered a test: today would I obey God and trust Him? Would I try yet again at my own way or avoid what I knew He had prepared for me? Would I obey God when I didn’t understand and didn’t like His direction?

This past month the First Dallas Women’s Ministry highlighted a Bible Study by Pricilla Shirer on the life of Jonah. After studying Jonah, one might easily come to the conclusion that he is not the poster child of a joyful servant. In the same way, I may not meet every change of direction with the grace of a skilled dancer — I may stumble my way through the awkward confusion of leading versus following. Either way, God is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He wants my heart to trust His unchanging character as I choose to follow Him through life’s ups and downs, twists and turns.

In the words of the Apostle Paul to the church in Ephesus, I believe we find courage and hope to meet Heraclitus’s observation. God loves us. He has a full, abundant life waiting for us, and He is able to accomplish more than we can comprehend. Hidden inside His calling to meet the unexpected with trust and obedience, is a gift beyond our limited understanding. More of Him.

Every Good and Perfect Gift

 “May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.”

Ephesians 3:19-21

About the Writer:

Lyndsay has been many things in her past, but no career, experience, or calling define her more than the desire to follow Christ. At present, she teaches movement classes and works as a wellness consultant in addition to raising her daughter to know and love the Lord. 
Lyndsay has a blog dedicated to sharing and celebrating the work of Christ through her experiences as a missionary, world traveler, knowledge seeker, and recipient of God’s lavish grace.

He’s Got This

We all go through transitions in life. Whether it’s a change in jobs, transition from single life to married life, a couple to a family, the loss of a parent, or just a change of seasons in our everyday life; transition isn’t always comfortable.

Transition is a word we as a family have become all too familiar with over the past two years. When you have little ones with autism, transition is painful. You do your best to give plenty of warning regarding said transition and pray for the best possible outcome, all the while expecting the worst.

I can prepare myTransition children days or weeks in advance for a transition and still they go kicking and screaming. They are comfortable doing what they know, set into routine, and no matter how great the next activity is going to be, there is always some resistance to transition.

I find that God prepares me much in the same way: preparing my heart, leading me to scriptures, and sending key people into my life to help with the transition. Some of those seasons bring about exciting new things and the transition is easier. Other seasons are scary, and I go kicking and screaming much like my toddler.

So if the Lord prepares us, why are we so fearful? We are comfortable where He has placed us. We like where we are and what He has given us. Why don’t we trust Him more, knowing He only desires what is best for our lives according to His perfect will? Every time I’m faced with a transition a key verse comes to mind.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

These words are very clear – He’s got this.

Even now as I sit here, I know the Lord is preparing me for my next transition. I do not need to be afraid. He’s laid the perfect plan out that will bring Him glory. I need to trust in Him rather than go kicking and screaming.

About the Writer:
Tamie is a stay at home wife and mommy of three kids with autism. She is a member of First Baptist Dallas and enjoys spending time hanging out at home with her family. Tamie has a servant’s heart and is passionate about encouraging other woman in their daily walk with the Lord.

Tamie’s personal blog is about her journey rearing three kids with autism and the lessons the Lord is teaching her along the way.

Transitioning from a Period (.) to an Ellipsis (…)

Oh, transition… This is a phase of life I know so well right now. Past transitions always happened fast for me. I visited one collage and knew immediately that was where the Lord wanted me. I visited Washington State for one week to help launch a new church, came home and told my parents I would be moving there in the coming fall. The decision to leave Washington happened in a matter of hours; I left in a matter of weeks and had a job lined up even before I made it back to Texas.

Transitions in my life have always come with a strong period (.) to close that chapter of my life. The Lord would graciously grant me much clarity in decision making allowing change to happen at a rather quick rate.

All of this has changed for me as I currently sit and wait for the Lord to reveal this next phase.

I am at a point where I could do anything, go anywhere; and I have asked the Lord to take me on a journey. Yet all I get is a “stay right there” and a “be patient.”

What in the past would have been a strong period is now an ellipsis.

My personal definition of ellipsis:
A moment of transition that comes when I must trust in the Lord’s plan and not my own.

As I find myself in this ellipsis, where God is asking me to trust him, I realize that I have two options: to press into Him or run from Him.

A younger version of me would have run and fled (pulled a Jonah some might say). However, I am finding peace in community that allows me to process honestly and in a creator God who longs to know me deeply and intimately.
Summer Camp
This summer (as a counselor at youth camp) I was reminded of the passage in Mark chapter one where Jesus introduces Himself to the world. What an entrances He made! Mark 1:14-15 says that Christ was proclaiming the gospel, telling people to repent and believe. He spoke with such authority and power.

If you keep reading into Mark chapter two, you see story upon story of Jesus healing, calling, and answering. This is who Christ is all the time. We must cling to this during our transition, even if the transition is an ellipsis calling us to wait.

Transitions call us to change; they call us to more than before. Mark reminds us of the power and authority Christ brought with Him. This reminder is one that beacons the question, “Why not press into Him?” Christ is more than we some times give Him credit for.

So, here is what I have learned; we are being called to transition in a posture that reflects all Christ is capable of doing in and through us.

About the Writer:
Liz, just a girl who spends her days with fifth graders challenging the normal way of teaching, spends her afternoons with her friends laughing and challenging the definition of community to be something much deeper, and spends her evenings with dancing with the stars and Pinterest, challenging the worldly norm of a 27 year old.
 

In Transition

Transitions. I’ve never been good with them. Right now, I seem to be at stasis while my world changes at lightning speed. A new family member. Friends getting married and having babies. Aging grandparents.

And I can’t keep up. This time not too long ago, I was getting up every morning for band camp and coming home every afternoon in a panic to finish my summer reading before the first day of school. Then I was preparing for college, walking the deserted campus to make sure I could find the right building on my first day. Then looking for my first job and wishing I were still learning how to drive.Hebrews13:8

The only thing consistent about life is that it constantly changes. For a girl that craves stability or warms up to change slowly, that’s a tough pill to swallow.

But that’s the problem, right? My stability coming from people and my environment. Those things change, too. But what I am constantly reminded of is that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He doesn’t change like shifting shadows (James 1:17). I can take him at his word. His love never waivers and his presence never falters. His voice always whispers, but I fail to hear it when I get caught up in the whirlwind.

So that’s what I’m learning in a season of transition. That I can find satisfaction that my Father is constant. He knows my heart intimately. And even when I wonder and wander, he continues to reach out for my hand with a gentle whisper, “Trust me with tomorrow.”

This month, we are talking about transitions – in life, in seasons, in people, places, and things. As you prepare kids for school, summer comes to a close, and we get ready for fall, don’t forget the one constant in the crazy. And in the midst of it all, don’t see the moment and change as ultimate. He is.

 

Kariss Lynch writes contemporary fiction about characters with big dreams, hearts for adventure, and enduring hope. Shaken, her first book in the Heart of a Warrior series, released in February 2014. Her second novel, Shadowed, releases March 3, 2015. A former freelance writer, she now works as the writer for the communications ministry at a church in Dallas.