(Republished with permission from Press Service International, for Christian Today Australia )

Photo by Matthew Barra on

“The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.”
(Proverbs chapter 16, verse 9)

Parenthood has dealt its fair share of change, much of which we did not anticipate. We have stepped into new experiences with trepidation, swum through changing currents of trial and error, and emerged from many a journey with renewed vision, conviction and strength.

I remember the day I realised my well-thought out plans would have to change. With young growing children, it seems some changes are forced upon us before we feel quite ready for them. In the same way, change is inevitable for us as we grow in our walks with God, and we must learn to travel through the different terrain.

. . .

Don’t look back

I recently read the story of how Lot and his family escaped from Sodom. God was gracious to him in his reluctance to leave and the angels basically dragged him out, then even gave permission for him to flee to a nearby town instead of the mountains. Lot’s wife, however, looked back from where they had come, despite being warned not to do this, and she was turned into a pillar of salt.

How often do we look back at places of destruction in our lives? There is benefit in remembering and giving thanks for the times and testimonies of God’s grace in our lives, but there is a looking back that restricts and harms us. This occurs when we look back longing to return to a place maligned with the purposes God has for us, a place that is destructive, and a place that holds no eternal value.

Such places could be unhealthy relationships, addictions, temptations, grudges and hurts. Lot and his family found it difficult to leave Sodom despite knowing it was destined for destruction. In the same way, it can be hard to turn our backs on these places in our lives despite the pain and hurt they cause, but with God all things are possible. So let us continually choose to look towards the good things He has in store for us.

. . .

People to walk with

When I first became a parent I felt a little overwhelmed by the sudden flood of new people I was meeting. I’ve always been keen to keep in touch with whoever I meet, but this influx of continuous new people showed me that it is truly impossible to journey closely with everybody. We’ve had seasons with families enjoying various baby and pre-school activities together. Then, people would move on, new faces would appear and, as our own children grew and we moved to other activities, familiar faces would pop up again.

Fellowship, with its support and accountability, plays an important role in helping us to step forward into spiritual maturity. There are those who we can learn from, those who can walk through similar seasons with us, and those we can teach and encourage. I am so thankful to God that He has always provided people to come alongside us in the changing seasons of life.

. . .

The prize ahead

We are not meant to stay stagnant or in the same place. Hebrews chapter 5-6 speaks about spiritual maturity, moving from “milk” to “solid food” in practicing how to distinguish good and bad. Philippians chapter 3 also speaks about moving forward and pressing on towards our goal in Christ.

“…But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians chapter 3, verses 13-14)

If we are to move into spiritual maturity, we must learn to embrace change and challenge. This will mean stepping out of our comfort zone and trusting God. When I have made mistakes or am feeling a little discouraged, I remember that there is a race and there is a prize worthy of giving it my all. This reminder of eternity with Christ helps me to take that next step, and then another. It helps me to lay off my past and focus on building tomorrow in the purposes God has for me.

. . .

Hope in change

The Bible is filled with constant reminders that change is coming. There are changes in our stages of life, our families, our geopolitical landscape, our natural world and our spiritual walk with God. Some changes are welcomed, and others are grudgingly accepted, but no change is a surprise to God who knows all things.

As I think about how we can embrace various aspects of change in our lives, I am reminded of how Jesus told his disciples to “watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation” (Matthew chapter 26, verse 41). So may we journey through each day prayerfully, keeping our eyes on Christ and on His hope-filled peace.

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