What’s Next?

Dear Girlfriends: Last Monday, after I returned from Speak Up, I wrote a Facebook post. Later, I realized I probably should have written it as a blog post, and then, a few friends mentioned the same thing to me. So…here it is! 

You know how much I love my ‘outside office’. I’m out here this morning for a few hours until the heat and humidity drive me inside. After my trip to the Speak Up Conference, there is much to process and begin applying to life and ministry. I am wondering what’s next.

For many of us, the word change is scary. We get upset when God begins to rearrange things. I know the feeling well.

I used to be terrified of any changes that felt out of my control, until I learned to line my thinking up, (as Elisabeth Elliott says), with the straight edge of God’s Word. For me, it’s been a two-steps-forward, one-step- backward kind of thing.

I don’t get it right all the time, but I’m better – and I plan to keep getting better until my last breath. All through Scripture we learn of God’s people who continue to learn and grow even through their later years.

I may still get rattled, but I get rattled less. I may have anxiety, but I am able to talk myself off the ledge quicker! Usually, it involves the listening ear of an honest, but grace-filled sister.

Then, eventually, through prayer, silence and listening to God via His word, I can rethink my thinking and get my head where it needs to be. It’s all very imperfect, but progress always is.

I have found this to be such a blessing – it helps me get off of me and on to where God is leading me next. It calms my anxious heart and ever overthinking brain!

There have been many changes that I haven’t expected or wished for over the past few years: the loss of three parents, the loss of two old and dear friends, Pat’s lay-off, two sons moving far from home, nine months of painful symptoms from Lyme disease – I could go on.

All of these events rearranged my life and changed it for now, and in some cases forever.

But God is amazing – and while He does take way, He also gives! He has given us a new daughter-in-law (who we adore!), a speaking ministry that has stayed afloat and even thrived during hard times, healing for Lyme disease, a perfect new position for Pat (yay, Lockheed Martin!), and a wonderful, upcoming trip to California & Chicago, to visit my far-away sons.

There really are too many blessings to list – but as we know, some of those blessings come from our most painful experiences.

What I have learned about God through this time of loss and many hard seasons that have come before, is more precious to me than anything else He has done in my life. I trust Him with the plans He has for me and my family. I know, without a doubt, He alone knows what is best for all of us.

My trust muscle has been given a workout, but it is stronger than ever. Oh Lord, may it continue to grow in strength as my life unfolds!

Life with Him is an ever-changing and winding adventure. Some of it is exhilarating and fun. Some seasons are long, hard and painful.

In her keynote message at Speak Up last weekend, my new friend, Jennifer Hand, challenged us to put our ‘yes’ on the table. This morning, during my time with God in my outside office, I accepted her challenge, and laid my ‘yes’ right here on my outside desk (aka –  my patio table 😎). Immediately, this verse came to mind:

“This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who He is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with Him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with Him!” Romans 8:15-17 (MSG)

So… what if, when unexpected and unwanted things happen, we learn to be rattled less, look toward our Father and ask, “What’s next Papa?”

Some of us will ask that question with painful tears running down our faces and some through tears of joy, but even so, are we willing to ask?

This morning, wherever you are, can you accept Jenn’s challenge and leave your yes on the table?

Change is inevitable, but our yes, is a choice.

Love to all,

Book Laura

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