"Change is inevitable......growth is optional."
I heard that phrase 40 years ago and it has always stuck with me.
As I have gone through my life, I have found change to be a constant companion. Minute by minute, day to day, year by year, change has followed me.
Born into the military life, raised as an Air Force Brat, nothing ever stayed the same. Moving base to base, sometimes with little notice. In the 8th grade alone, I changed schools 3 times and lived in 3 different states. But I adapted. I transitioned from one place to another. I learned to transform myself.
As an adult, I became a military wife. My husband would leave for weeks and months at a time. I became the head of the household, only to surrender that role when he returned. Deployments, relocations, advancements, promotions, packing, unpacking were all routine. I had to adjust and learn from whatever situation presented itself. For me, there was no direction but forward!
Changes come from every direction, as we have all learned since 2020. But have I grown as a person through all those changes? That is the question that each of us must answer. When the steamroller that is Covid (or unemployment, or inflation, or divorce, or other challenge) comes at us, do we stiffen our backs, stand our ground, and get crushed? Or do we judge the speed, alter our path, and get out of the way?
First Lutheran Church has been dealing with a lot of changes in the past year. Not only modifying worship times and adapting new technologies to keep attenders safe from sickness, but also allowing Pastor Lloyd to retire and transitioning to the care of Pastor Ryan. Suspension of the Saturday evening services. Handling the turnover in the church office, Natalie stepped in and refined the duties of the Church Secretary. The Board of Directors converted to the position to an Office Manager. There have been some sudden and unexpected deaths within our church family. Things are different than they used to be. We have had to shift our thinking, modify traditions, and roll with the flow. Can we adapt as a church to the changing circumstances not only within our congregation but from outside as well?
I am reminded of Ecclesiastes 3, "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace."
You and I will change, the church will change, but the will of the Lord will be done. In verse 14, I am reminded, "whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it."
Let me grow from the changes around me.
- Leslee Wilkerson