‘When change comes …’
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 Magowan June 2020
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 firstname.lastname@example.org She would love to hear from you!
‘Cast your cares’
I wonder how many of us are juggling even more balls or cares at the moment, more than we would normally try to juggle. It’s understandably exhausting. We’re not versed in trying to disciple others in lockdown. Doing church without meeting physically is not the norm for most of us. Having every family member back under our roof or being kept from seeing loved ones is not how we envisioned our family life to be. All these cares and the many others, big and small, that we carry around in our heads and on our ‘to do lists’ can be all-consuming and totally overwhelming. I find myself both exhausted and yet wired at the end of each day, in need of deep sleep but unable to switch off the worry about who I haven’t been in touch with that day.
One way I am wonderfully drawn back to the Lord is when I am preparing material for our children’s work. Thankfully the Lord uses the simplest Bible song, a memory verse, or even a craft activity to draw me back to His word. So it has been the case this week. As with many churches, we seek to give our children’s leaders a break over the summer, providing simpler material for the children in those weeks over August. This year we’re challenging our children and toddlers to learn memory verses and one, in particular, has stuck with me. ‘Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken’ Psalm 55 v22 (NIV). I know deep down that I don’t need to juggle all my cares, but do I actually, actively cast them onto the Lord? And yet, here His word tells me to do just that and He will sustain me. Casting our cares on the Lord is a physical, daily action and it’s not an easy one either. It requires us to hand over control of all those cares and surrender our attempts at being god. And yet, it is unbelievably liberating to take the heavy burden of cares off my exhausted shoulders and cast them onto my Heavenly Father, who can handle them in the palm of his hand. Even better, He will sustain us in this process of casting our cares and He will never let us be shaken or fall as we seek to give our cares to Him. Now, more than ever I want to be sustained by the Lord because I am definitely going to fall if I try to rely on my own for much longer.
Here is the verse to music by Seeds Family Worship Cast your cares.
Lucy Lyell (LMW Chair) June 2020
‘In the waiting’
I write this first LMW blog in the midst of the strangest of times, extraordinary summer weather, and yet unable to fully embrace it with friends and family. I’m conscious that this time of lockdown has probably left us all really at sea with the routines and responsibilities we are normally tasked with. Working from home, balancing the demands of children normally at school, cancelling plans that have been in the diary for months. Spending time just with our immediate families is both a breather from the busyness of ministry, but also unnaturally intense. I hope I am not alone in finding time on screen and everything being virtual utterly exhausting. Having said this, I would love to encourage you in this season of waiting, waiting for normality to resume, waiting for when we can meet again physically with our church families and others. This song Take Courage- Bethel Music is such an encouragement to trust in the current unknown and to know that God works in the waiting that we are being forced to do at the moment. Take courage dear sisters in Christ, our Heavenly Father is in this waiting. Do not forget His great faithfulness. He is not, never failing in this. I pray for all of us that we will find strength in His word this week & the joy to keep going in Him.
Lucy Lyell (LMW Chair) June 2020