By Jacqi Ballough
During my childhood, Dad left for work and came home at approximately the same time everyday while Mom completed all the tasks of home-making. My sister and I would be off to school and then complete homework after an afternoon snack and TV show. Dinner was at 6 pm. Church was on Sunday’s, and dance practice, or biking around the neighborhood with my girlfriend, was the norm. We never moved, and my parents were dedicated to their marriage.
For the holidays, mom always cooked a turkey, stuffing balls, and casseroles, not to mention at least two pies. Dad built a fire in the fireplace and played Rummy with my sister and I while we watched Christmas movies or listened to Johnny Mathis’ Christmas collection. Every year after the Christmas Eve candlelight service, family friends came to our Christmas party and would stay until almost midnight when Dad would read The Night Before Christmas.
Then, I grew up, fell in love, and happily accepted marriage. It took a while to undergo the shock that this new life was not as consistent as my childhood experience, especially when marriage to my visionary man resulted in raising a child who is a visionary as well.
Don’t get me wrong. I love marriage, and I love being a mom. These are two of the Lord’s greatest blessings. I love the ideas my men come up with, but unlike me, they love change, bouncing around from one thing to the next. Me: not so much. I am slow, steady, and happy with planning and order. I like knowing what comes next and staying in my box, so when plans change, I am like a deer in headlights.
Change is God’s refining fire in my life.
I will never forget the day I was in bitter tears crying out, “Change again! Why can’t everything just be consistent!” Then came God’s voice, “I AM.”
“I AM. I am consistent. Trust me.” .
He was right. I had lost trust in Him and was seeking “family plans” as my source of peace and consistency when His love and truth was all the consistency I needed.
I think of Jesus’s mother, Mary, and her plans to wed Joseph and settle down into being the dedicated wife of a Jewish carpenter. Then here comes an angel announcing she will be impregnated with God’s son. That’s a change she probably didn’t plan, not to mention birthing Him in a stable, and then fleeing the country to save the life of her child for a few years. Her response to it all is so gentle and obedient. The Proverbs 31 woman exudes from her character. Her consistency relied wholly on God, not the circumstance. She trusted change.
Lord, help me respond in faith like Mary. Thank you for being constant. Thank you for the gift of change. Place my feet where you want them to go.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.