I’ve lived in 13 different places, in 5 countries (Including England and Wales), had 9 jobs and 5 ministry roles (including 2 as a ministry wife) and I’m “only” in my 50s!
That is a fair bit of change, isn’t it? Life is full of changes – some welcome, some unexpected, some positive, some hard to live through.
The biggest change in my life came when aged 13, I trusted in Christ. Jesus took me, a sinner in need of salvation, and transformed me into a daughter of the King of Kings. What a blessed, lasting life change and so precious and welcome.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Cor. 5:17
Any other changes in life are now not undertaken by “me, myself, I” but with Christ as my master, guide, and friend. I am “in Christ” and therefore know complete security in Him, whatever changes come.
I like a new challenge but of course, there are times when I feel overwhelmed. I remember 2 months after moving to the US for my husband to study at seminary with our 2 preschool daughters feeling very alone and absolutely worn out. Similarly waiting to return from Tanzania, 34 weeks pregnant, boarding the plane with a toddler only to be told after a few hours of sitting on the tarmac that we needed to disembark and be put up in a hotel until another aircraft could be found – I was desperate to get “home” and didn’t want to wait patiently for a few more days!
The biggest ministry changes have been when we came back from the US to England and began to look for a church to minister in. The Lord led us step by step to Whitby Evangelical Church, North Yorkshire – I’d never been to Whitby before and we knew no one in Yorkshire. And then after 7 ½ years in Whitby, we moved from a close-knit community and church to Reading, a large, ethnically diverse town where we had lived before we went to the US. Carey Baptist where my husband is a co-pastor is a large church, maybe 4 times bigger than Whitby. Our girls were then 13 and 11, life was to be very different for them.
What have I learnt?
- God is to be trusted, He is my help!
- To take the long view – some days are easier, some are harder.
- I need to be willing to follow God’s leading and face change, knowing it leads to blessing and usefulness in His service.
- Change is emotional, good-byes are hard, it takes time to get to know people and feel settled. You leave a bit of you behind in the places you have lived and ministered.
- Change affects each in the family differently – our younger daughter felt we were shattering her dreams when we moved from Whitby; our oldest was more up for the change but the reality of entering secondary school in year 9 in Reading was tough.
- Change brings me and my husband closer as we seek the Lord together and know His will. This July we celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary and thank God for his faithfulness and kindness to us through “all the changing scenes of life, in trouble and in joy”.
- If I seem “fine” but inwardly am struggling; the Lord knows and he strengthens and provides. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrew 13:8
- We used to sing with our girls “It’s is an adventure, following Jesus, it’s an adventure living for him”. That’s so true, the spiritual lessons I have learnt through depending on the Lord are precious.
- I need to keep growing in my love for Christ and my love for others.
- I have grown through the opportunities of service that have been different in each location and each ministry role. I wouldn’t be able to do what I do now if the Lord hadn’t equipped me through previous experiences.
- I have been able to reach out to others who have moved a lot or come from overseas, I know how it feels!
- Who doesn’t change? What is constant? The Lord is unchanging, his love is steadfast and his purposes stand firm. What lovely encouragements! “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows”. James 1;17
- I can praise God each day for his goodness, kindness, and care, supremely shown in Christ.
- Through times of change and new circumstances and opportunities, I need to prioritise my own walk with the Lord, keep reading His word, keep praying, and seeking the Lord.
The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe. Proverbs 18:10
Elinor works for FIEC (Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches) as one of the Women’s Ministry Co-ordinators with a particular involvement with ministry wives. You can be in touch with her at email@example.com She would love to hear from you!