Velvet Ashes is having a three-week series on Change, Re-entry, and Carrying on. Regardless of which over-arching category you are in, we can’t face it without the Triune God. We need him as we change. We need him as we re-enter. We need him as we carry on.
We need him. I wrote the following as the final post of our week on Change.
It’s the one thing that unites us.
People are fairly surprised when they hear that my first five years on the field I had a total of two teammates. One thousand eight hundred twenty five days and only two teammates, one for two years and one for three.
But then I moved into a much larger community and my life kicked it into hyper gear with never a year (sometimes even a semester) where there wasn’t someone coming or going. Leaving permanently. Here for a year. Off to language school. Called to a new assignment. Need to transition a child to college. Time for a furlough or home assignment. Check, check, screaming at the amount of change, check.
It’s the one thing that unites us.
Or is it?
Last week I was at a dinner event where the speaker asked each of us at our individual tables to share where we have experienced generosity in the last year. A teacher had a mentor teacher help her. The founder of Azmera shared how God had opened door after door for their retreats. One woman had a quiet member of her small group initiate a supper club and do all of the cooking. Another person shared how in the last 18 months she has lost both parents and her sister and she has decided to be generous with herself and the grieving process.
After we shared, the speaker said, “Where you have seen generosity, you have seen God in action.” She followed up with, “Often when I used to ask people where they had seen God at work, and especially with non-believers, they didn’t know how to answer it. But if I asked about an attribute of God, everyone had a story to share. And then I could point out how that was God at work.”
Change might be our one constant, that’s true.
But God is the One who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. When you are in seasons of great change, it helps to be tethered to The One Who Does Not Change. Tethered means you will still feel the pull and being jostled, and while you might feel adrift, that is not the big-picture reality.
Let’s picture ourselves around a dinner table. There is a crusty loaf of bread in the middle, ready for us to tear pieces off as we break bread together. There is a bowl with little pieces of paper and you draw one out and share how you have experienced that attribute in the last year. Because stories give birth to stories, if someone sharing on an attribute stirs something in you, go ahead and share.
We’re among friends. And sometimes you need to hear other’s stories to remind yourself that what unties us isn’t change.
Tell a story about someone being generous with you.
Tell a story of where you really felt alive this year.
Tell a story of when you experienced someone being aware of you and your needs.
Tell of how you have been provided for.
Tell of when you tasted mercy or joy or forgiveness.
Tell us about when you felt able this year.
Tear off another corner of bread and share. Because as you share, we see God at work. We taste his presence. We are sustained for the next leg of the journey.
And if you have another story to share, do. We can never have too many stories. We’ve got all evening. Come, share.
(I really want to hear, the story doesn’t need to be long. Please leave a comment.)