From contributing columnist Lena Jenkins, posted with permission from www.ngumc.org
When I was in my early teens, I read the award-winning novel, The Good Earth, by Pearl Buck. The author was the daughter of missionaries to China. She lived in China from the time of her birth in 1892 until the 1934 uprising. Her novel, about a poor Chinese family's struggle to survive, opened up a world of Asian culture that was completely foreign to this South Alabama native.
After reading the book, I was convinced God was calling me to be a missionary to China. I realize now this was not God calling, but me wanting to experience something new and different. I really did want to serve God in some way, but being a missionary to China was more about me having an adventure than doing the will of God.
I now find it amusing to think I wanted to go to China as a missionary over fifty years ago. During my 43 years of marriage to an itinerant United Methodist Minister, I have had a difficult time making a move across the state of Georgia or the city of Atlanta. Looking back, I wonder how I would have survived a move across the world to China.
The young girl who wanted to leave Mobile for change and adventure grew into an adult woman who loves to travel to foreign places ... but who desires the stability of living in the same home and community.
Change is agonizing for me. Being forced out of my comfort zone by moving to a new church and into a new community has always proved to make me anxious and incredibly sad. Leaving people who have become family is like being pulled from the ground with your roots exposed to the harsh elements.
This is where the goodness and grace of God comes in. I leave one place feeling like my roots are raw and bleeding. In the midst of a difficult transition, God helps me put those roots in the new soil, and with time and healing, find a new place to learn and grow. Every move that was so traumatic ended up being a blessing. God has been faithful.
This is the time of year clergy and churches begin thinking about appointment changes. Some clergy and their spouses are hoping for a new appointment and are taking the necessary steps to let their district superintendents know of their desire. Others will be saddened to hear a move is in their future.
Whether you are moving on up-moving on out-or just moving-I hope you will move with the knowledge that God is with you. God does care when you are scared, sad, or angry over the changes that are so much a part of our life and our world.
When change comes into my life, as it does in every life, it helps to be reminded that the God we love and serve never changes.
"O God who changes not abide with me."
P.S. Special thanks to Lena Jenkins, our guest columnist, for this week's Monday Morning in North Georgia. Ash Wednesday is just a couple of days away. The Lenten season would be a good time to "give up" anxiety and worry. --Jamie
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