That’s the name coined by my sister-in-law Steph for days when you experience a new set of circumstances for the 1st time. You know- the days when the routine you’ve always had, or people you’ve always known, are gone and you have to adjust? I’ve had a lot of those in the past few years.
The 1st BIG day of New in recent memory was the day I changed churches after attending the same one for over 15 years. I accidentally drove to the old church- instead of the new- because I had practically lived there for those years of my life. That new day was the 1st of many incredible days spent with this new family of believers. I can see now what I couldn’t see then- that God had a plan in this change.
There were First days of New when our lab closed and all my dear friends and coworkers went in different directions.
There was the day I first woke up to the silence of the Navajo Nation and wondered how I’d gotten there from where I thought I was headed.
There was the day I woke up after mom’s surgery last fall and listened for her in the kitchen making coffee, and then remembered.
The day we went (in January) for our traditional family Christmas celebration at Schuler’s without mom.
The day I started a job with Josiah Venture and met all the dear people I would be working with.
The day I woke up in dad’s house in Florida and thought, “This is new. This is where my family lives now. Not 282 Keathley Drive. My family lives on a cul-de-sac in Florida.”
So- last Sunday was another First Day of New. I wanted to see Steph, and I got up early and went to Battle Creek Friends. I went to the first service and to dad’s (not dad’s now) Sunday school class. I’ve attended this church since I was 2 years old and as I walked out of Sunday School into the crisp fall afternoon I automatically thought- what a perfect day to go back to mom and dad’s to nap in front of the football game! But, for the 1st time – ever- my parents do not live in Michigan!
Steph and I went to lunch, wandered around Target, took a long walk and talked about a million little things. We stopped and sat in silence on a bridge overlooking a pond. It was where I stopped with mom 2 years ago and got this picture of her.
It was a perfect afternoon and a good reminder to me that all of life is filled with seasons. Seasons of rest, seasons of work, seasons of plenty, seasons of need, seasons of joy, seasons of sorrow…
Just yesterday I took Casper to the vet for his checkup and shots. He wasn’t too happy about the shots, but I paid the bill and was carrying his little wiggling self outside to the car and I noticed a woman doubled over crying. I put Casper in the car and went to ask her if I could help. She explained that she had to put her dog down and she couldn’t bear the thought of it. She gestured over toward a little grey pup sitting in the grass. I asked her if I could pray for her and both of us cried. As I drove home with my (fairly grouchy but healthy) pup I thought of how different her life would be that next day without her dog. It didn’t seem fair that I got to go home with a healthy pup and she had to put hers down.
There’s a family in my parent’s old neighborhood who have been friends of our family for a long time. Their son, LB, has a heart condition that is worsening and he was recently put on the heart donor list. We were praying God would provide. Shortly after he was put on this list, another friend of mine from high school requested prayers for one of her son’s friends who had been in a car accident and was in critical condition. I was praying for both situations, when we got news that the young man in the car accident had died. Within a short time, we got a praise: LB had a heart and would be going to surgery shortly.
I suspected the two were connected and that was later confirmed. LB is home now and doing GREAT. The other family is thankful that their son’s death had meaning- at least 5 people were saved because he donated his organs- but they are mourning the loss of him.
Two families, two totally different seasons. Yet one God sustains them in each.
As I’ve thought about the various people God has placed in my life- each in a season all their own- and of God’s faithful provision through all of my First days of New, I was reminded of a verse oft quoted by one of my favorite writers, Elizabeth Elliott.
“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. Deut 33:27″
I think I like her writing so much because she walked through such a wide variety of seasons in her life with such grace. I’m positive her strength came from her understanding that God was her refuge and that under it all- the joys and the hurts- were His everlasting arms. He is able to hold us up through all that life brings. Every season.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
In other news…
My apologies for not blogging more regularly. I can tell you one of the reasons: God is blessing Josiah Venture with a bumper crop of interns so far this fall! I am praying (along with so many others) that God will bring just the right young lives alongside our ministries in Eastern and Central Europe. I am so humbled by the young people I am meeting who are stepping out in great faith and signing up to serve next summer. God is answering our prayers!
Please continue to pray for this beautiful work of God to continue.
Right now, across the entire US, there are JV staff and missionaries visiting college groups, churches and universities, sharing about Josiah Venture and inviting young people to join us in 2016. My newsfeeds on Facebook and Instagram are full of fun pictures of God moving in young people’s hearts- stirring them to follow Him! My friend Mike shared this photo last night of a bonfire held for Wheaton and Moody Bible students interested in learning more about JV. It makes me smile.
Please pray for God to use these visits to make divine connections with just the right students!
On Thursday of this week, I will be leaving to visit my dear Navajo friends in Rough Rock! I am SO excited to see them and I can’t wait to see how God is moving among them and maturing the church there. Please pray for my time with them to be fruitful and honoring to God. I know many of you have read this little blog from the beginning and you have grown to love these dear people along with me– I will be sure to update you on how they all are doing in my next post! 🙂
Thank you for your prayers and support~ I am really excited to see God at work!!!
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance…