Hawkeye Seventh-day Adventist® Church

The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? Ps 27:1

Unexpected Changes


While I was a reluctant participant in learning to use technology for many years, I was finally convinced to have a phone of my own several years ago. And my phone opened up things to me that I didn't know that I wanted to have and to use. Facebook was one of those features I didn't think I wanted. Back then, I was sure it was a huge time waster. I did not like to have others only looking at their phones when in a group. But eventually I was convinced that I was getting left out of knowing things and not being able to keep up with activities. I joined! And now I do enjoy seeing things that others choose to share about their family activities. I enjoy being able to travel to places around the world and in our own country that I will never be able to travel to. I like that I can save and collect a whole lot of pictures from my favorite states that others share! I love seeing pictures from other nature lovers of birds and animals. And I like to collect pictures from far away family. And a special feature is that it stores my things away for me! And I love that Facebook remembers my memories for me and tells me about them.


I have memories that come to mind at times when I least expect them. This week I was reminded that it was just a year ago that our life changed when my husband lost his bus driving job due to health issues. That changed our lives greatly and was very unexpected. When I look back to the days of long ago, we remember the births of our children. The first birth was the most memorable. I remember finishing college and then following a different path in life than the one I prepared for. Then later how once again, following an even more different life path than what I expected. Death of a family member also changes how you do and experience and look at things. Life for each one of us is often unexpected.


Thanks to Facebook memories this week, I have been reminded that 7 years ago I was home recovering from cancer surgery. A picture of a beautiful bouquet of rainbow-colored flowers that had been given to me popped up in my memories for that day. How wonderful that I have people in my life that love and care about me. But now I have the word cancer attached to me for the rest of my life. It will always be there in my mind.

Then I was reminded that one year ago we enjoyed a special time seeing the Sandhill cranes in migration near Grand Island in Nebraska. A bucket list item fulfilled! This year I cannot walk without great pain and anticipate more surgery. We finally understand why Garry lost his bus driving job. We didn’t understand how God was at work planning ahead for us. I would need help when I couldn’t walk, and Garry had to become my legs. God knew my needs way before I did! And I am so thankful for His planning ahead for us! How my life has changed. I like seeing things that I have posted in the past about our kitties. One picture that is repeated often is one of our special Rowdy kitty sitting on the seat of a tractor. We didn't expect that soon after that picture, we would no longer have him as part of our family. That picture reminds me each time that he is only a special memory now. And now we have two other special kitties. Life changes whether we want it to or not.


The lesson to learn is—value each day. Know that you can't see what the future holds. Know that the unexpected will happen, and you don't have much choice but to accept and let God guide you each day and pray you will accept each change with courage and grace. I don't like the changes. But change is also what we eagerly look forward to when Jesus comes again. I want the changes He has promised He is preparing for me!


Psalm 90:12 reminds me, “Teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom” (NKJV). Or as the Living Bible puts it, “Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should.” Ephesians 5:15 says, “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise” (NLT).


Life is filled with opportunities, but the big question is what we do with them. Do we let them slip by, saying, “Maybe next time. There is always another day”? Or, do we seize them? We may not have as much time as we think. We have opportunities to spend time with family, time to enjoy health, time to spend doing favorite things and hobbies, time to work on a career, time to raise children to become responsible adults. Eighteen years of childhood goes by so rapidly. But we forget that someday those special moments will be gone. We can't get them back.  I read something about a man that was thinking about how fast time goes by unnoticed. He calculated the average length of a life using the hours of one day to illustrate the importance of recognizing the value of time. He concluded that if your age is 15, the time is 10:25 a.m. If your age is 20, the time is 11:34. If your age is 25, the time is 12:42 p.m. If you’re 30, the time is 1:51. If you’re 35, the time is 3:00. If you’re 40 the time is 4:08. At age 45, the time is 5:15. If you’re 50, the time is 6:25. By age 55, the time is 7:24. If you’re 60, the time is 8:42. If you’re 65, the time is 9:51. And if you’re 70 the time is 11 p.m.  If I follow his illustration, I am now headed to the midnight of my life. That is hard to think about!!!! I don't want my life to be done until I can get a few more of my bucket list items accomplished. And then I remember that some of them are now impossible for me! I should have been doing sooner instead of doing someday. I didn’t value the time I had and let it flee away.


Sometimes we let life guide us, and other times we take life by the horns. But one thing is for sure: no matter how organized I am, or want to be or how well I plan, I can or should always expect the unexpected. But life inevitably throws curve balls, unexpected circumstances that remind us to expect the unexpected. I've come to understand these curveballs are the beautiful unfolding of both consequences of our actions and of current events.

Always expect the unexpected. Take time to see the value of what is happening in the current moment.

Accepting Change with Courage And Dignity And grace--Accepting a change of seasons is one thing, accepting personal change is quite another for me. Being one to want to fight about some changes, I also can see how others handle themselves with courage and dignity and grace. It’s humbling to see them so accepting of change while I am protesting the changes that come to me. The topic that seems the most pressing is health and aging. There are many friends dealing with very difficult issues like debilitating illness, hip replacements, carpal tunnel surgery and chronic fatigue. Their quality of life is definitely affected, yet their attitudes show courage and dignity. 


YES, I'M GETTING OLDER! –It's hard to wrap my head around this truth and move on since I am irked as I watch others doing things that I wish I was doing or going places I no longer can go. I have lots of work to do on my attitude. Dealing with health issues and aging is not for the weak. It takes courage to address the ordeals of health care and uncertain outcomes. I will try to find it when I need it. It seems to me that maturity and acceptance of change requires learning to cope with what’s unwanted and the hard feelings that go with it. That’s where courage and dignity and grace come in


I must remember to Actively Seek Him--to look for God in every situation daily. Whether it is big or small, I need to remember to look for Him. Remember that if I'm just walking or driving down the street, look for the beautiful things He has made. When with friends or family, remember to thank Him for putting those people in my life. Remember to notice Him in the small moments of life when I would not usually think much of it. Try to notice more of His presence and what He has done for me and take time to value what I have right now, not mourn what has passed that has flown away. 


“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:17

Pray in Good and Bad Times— When life is good and things are going well, when you ace that test or land that job, rejoice in the Lord and thank him for the blessings in your life, whether they are big or small. When the opposite happens and times are tough, pray to him and ask him for help and for healing. Lean on him to help you get through it and he will guide your path.


This prayer has appeared in many versions. God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, Courage to change the things which should be changed, and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other. Another version put it another way--Living one day at a time, Enjoying one moment at a time, Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, Taking, as He did, This sinful world as it is, Not as I would have it, Trusting that He will make all things right, If I surrender to His will, That I may be reasonably happy in this life, And supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen. 


Expect the expected! If you are trusting God, you can expect the right thing to happen.                          

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