This week, we got some sad news in our house. Someone we thought was moving only four hours away from us in Pensacola is now going to be 30 hours away from us in San Diego! That’s a pretty big jump. All of the future visits over the next year had to be put on hold and new plans now have to be thought out to be able to visit. It was hard news to hear and even harder to process. One of the skills we’ve learned recently is to look at the word “temporary.”
Temporary is not permanent. It is only for a short period of time. While the situation we’re in might seem daunting and unmanageable, we can look at it as an obstacle that will not be in our way forever.
That’s a hard concept to put into play! When we’re struggling with a trial or we’ve just received some bad news, it can feel like it will never end. We can feel lost and afraid, lonely or scared, maybe even hopeless. When we’re in a period of waiting, it seems to go on forever.
However, when we shift our thought to the idea that there is an end to it, that it is momentary in the scope of our life, we can recognize the hope in the word temporary! I can think of three times in the Bible that were temporary situations that give us hope today.
Jesus died on the cross. That circumstance was temporary as He rose from the grave three days later. Jesus left this earth and ascended to heaven, but He will come again for us; this is only for a season. This world is not our home. It’s a temporary place until we see our Savior in heaven.
Praise God for temporary situations! We can look at temporary as a period of growth, maturing, and hopefulness of the future. We can look forward to what’s at the end and know that it will be beautiful!
I pray that if you are going through something right now, something that seems as if it will last forever, rest in the knowledge of the word “temporary.” While you don’t know how long temporary will be, Jesus is with you and on other side.
I was struck with the weirdest thought on Sunday. I was putting my freshly laundered sheets onto my bed when I suddenly thought to myself, ‘This is the last time I’ll be washing my sheets here in California, and it made me a little sad! This weekend, my belongings get packed up into a moving truck, and they’ll be bound for Alabama. I bought a house directly across the street from my best friend, and I’m set to begin a new adventure.
It seemed like such an odd thought to have. I have actually lived in California for four years. I’ve said for the last four years that California wasn’t a place I really wanted to live and I couldn’t wait to move! So to have a pang of sadness seemed like such an odd reaction.
The truth is, I AM a little sad. While I’m so excited to be closer to Emily and positively thrilled over the fact that we can work on other Iron Porch projects, God brought me to California for a reason. For almost a year, I couldn’t figure out why but the fact is that I’ve had tremendous growth in the Lord during this time. I’ve had to rely on what God’s vision was for me instead of my own. He allowed me to be a part of the most amazing community of women from different backgrounds that all came together to study and grow in God’s Word through Bible study. He taught me how to truly lead a group of women. He also gave me a valuable lesson in learning to not always lead them and to let them teach me. He taught me that it’s never my time, but His. God also taught me how to be courageous in my witness for Him.
I’ve prayed for four years that I would find a church that was strong in the Lord, fearless in their declaration of God’s glory, and bold in the Truth. I found Doxa Church right before I’m leaving! It’s almost comical that by the time I was led there, it’s time to go. But the eight short months I’ve been a part of that church, I’ve been fed the biggest, fattest spiritual steak you could ever imagine! Pastor Scott has lived out Hebrews 5:12-14 and given me some serious spiritual food to gnaw on! I now have an even bigger arsenal in my spiritual backpack with which to boldly proclaim the gospel.
While I’m sad to be leaving, I must lean into what the Word of God says in Isaiah 1:19. The prophet proclaimed, “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land;” I am willing. I strive to be obedient. And because I do, the Lord will allow me to know what the good things of the land were in California and what the good things are in Alabama.
I’ll miss you, California!
In 2019 I ended my last day of work at an amazing job on a Friday. On the following Saturday, I frantically packed up my life to escape the worst and scariest experience of my life; emotionally, verbally and leaning towards a physically abusive husband. With the help of my family coming to my rescue I moved all my belongings, myself, and my son 200 miles back to my hometown to stay with my parents until I could get us back on our own again. That Sunday was a blur, as was Monday, which was a holiday, and I began work on Tuesday. I never took the time to breathe. I never took time to just be still. I was afraid to be still. I was afraid I couldn’t make it through. I didn’t want to reflect or think. I wanted it all to disappear. So I kept very busy all the time from then on.
But keeping so busy caused me to be exhausted and to struggle with setting aside quiet time with God; something that used to be my lifeline. I never went a day without it before. But catastrophe hit and I didn’t want to be quiet. I still had my faith and I wasn’t angry at God, I just didn’t want my mind to think about what had happened, what I had escaped, what would have happened if I had stayed or why it ever happened in the first place. I had so many questions but I chose avoidance.
March of 2020 rolled around and another catastrophe hit which forced me to do nothing but slow down: the Covid-19 pandemic. I was out of work and quarantined at home for 6 weeks which provided plenty of time to think and be quiet. So I chose to take that time to rest, breathe, and get back into the groove of my daily quiet time with God. And although I am still struggling to get back into that groove like I used to be this pandemic has helped me realize how desperately I needed this time to just be quiet, to slow down, reflect, and to enjoy the quality and quantity of time.
God’s word tells us in Psalm 46:10 to be still; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says to rejoice ALWAYS, to pray without ceasing and to give thanks no matter what; 1 Peter 5:7 says to cast all our anxieties on Him BECAUSE He cares. His word also offers comfort in Psalm 34: 17-18 that He hears us and delivers us from our troubles and that He is near the brokenhearted; Deuteronomy 31:8 promises that God goes before us and will never leave or forsake us; Isaiah 41:10 says we should not fear because God is with us, He will strengthen and uphold us. Matthew 6:25-34 is certainly a wonderful set of verses to comfort us and remind us not to worry during this particular time in our world. Lastly, Hebrews 7:25 states to draw near as well as James 4:8 which adds the promise that He will draw near to us.
I wish I had taken more time to be still and get closer to God this last year because 1) God commands it and desires us to get close to Him and 2) I know it would have helped me heal in a healthier way than I was choosing. So, despite all the uncertainties of what is to come with Covid-19, I am thankful for the quarantined time I had because I was able to slow down and choose to be obedient and be still and quiet, to listen to God’s commands and to take comfort in His promises. I allowed one catastrophe to disrupt my quiet time but God used another kind of catastrophe to help me get that quiet time back.