Each of these words is a synonym for glorious.
Does change typically feel that way to you?
Of course... I know... There's always the excitement and anticipation and the wondering... and some people just thrive when life is full of THAT.
I don't so much... because sometimes? I just like my ruts!
Ya know what I'm sayin'?
It's a common proverb in some parts of Africa -
“When the music changes, so does the dance!”
So I whine within, "But I liked that dance and... I was just getting the hang of it!
Why change NOW?"
As I think back over the past year, I notice that we've weathered lots of change. Some of those changes we are still in that weathering process; we have no clue what might happen.
It was just shy of this time last year that our mission organization informed us they were closing their doors... permanently. We now have a new board - but that relationship is an evolving work in progress. And some of the fallout from all of the corresponding implications hasn't really even started.
Several of our children made massive educational changes - moving from the French system or home school into an English language international school. We've had to give up, at least to some extent, our plan -and maybe our dream- that our children would be truly bilingual.
We've said goodbye to many good friends for we don't know how long... and others we don't expect to see again, at least not in this world. And to some, we didn't know what to say because we don't know if we'll still be here when they come back and if we aren't... if we will be coming back. This community has changed and it feels drastically different. Not bad, mind you... but uncomfortably different.
The Harobanda church is also head to head with enormous change as our Nigerien church planting colleagues are planning to move on to begin a new church in a different neighborhood, Lord willing, over the next months... We're hoping to tag along with them.
The changes at Sahel Academy are overwhelming. We saw a huge staff turnover this year, with something like 20 new staff coming to minister at the school this August, many students leaving and new ones joining, as well as a significant change in some of the class structures.
My role in the Center for Academic Progress is changing. Even though I'm only part-time at the school, these past two years I've had a lot of freedom and leeway to really initiate the program, take it and run with it. God has been amazingly good in the young women He's sent my way as partners in this endeavor - it has been a delight and a privilege to work with Kat, Jess and Leandra! I'm missing those gals who have moved on.
Thankfully, this year, God has provided another full-time teacher for the Center. Her name is Becky. She has tons more experience and education than I... I can't wait to work with and learn from her! Over the course of this year, she'll be assuming the administrative role for the Center, the role that has been my responsibility up to this point. I'm excited about this... and dreading it, too. It is also hard to hand what has been "your baby" over to another, no matter how much confidence you have in the other person. Knowing they'll bring many changes with them feels like a not so gentle critique of what I've been able to do.
Even a little, seemingly inconsequential-in-the-big-scheme-of-things change can seem huge. A highlight of so many of the past hot seasons has been teaching Sahel's swimming and water polo phys ed component. This year, a Sahel alumni returned to coordinate and teach. I only helped when I was available and where I was asked to contribute. That was exciting and rewarding to watch - this young man really shone. And with some of the other changes to the class offerings, I don't even know if the school will still be able to offer a swimming option this coming year.
On top of all that, we've even changed houses, twice!
All of these changes have been uncomfortable... a few even downright hard. There have been moments, even seasons, of frustration and disappointment. And trust me, there's been lots of reluctant letting go, too.
As I think about change, though I've come to two conclusions:
- I'm so glad God doesn't change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever!
- While I may always hesitate to accept all of those changes going on around me, I'm ultimately so thankful that God is in the business of changing me and conforming me to the image of His Son. I want to gently accept the change He's working within me, so that He's not feeling He's beating His head against a brick wall, if you know what I mean .
I believe it was Ghandi who said, “We must become the change we want to see.” I think Ghandi was on to something.
God, in His mercy and grace, has chosen to change this world as He changes, from the inside out, those who commit to following Him! God may require external changes of us - and there's really nothing we can do about it. We have to agree and cooperate; however, He grants us a gracious freedom when it comes to those changes on the inside. We have to agree to let Him truly effect lasting change from the inside out, healing sin-scarred hearts and manifesting miracle upon miracle as He makes and molds each one willing into a masterpiece.
That sort of change?
How could I argue?
Why would I want to?
It is nothing short of glorious!
this week's gratitude list
(#s 2342 - 2377)
being able to teach others how to do things that I love
Saturday afternoon downpours
Kids drenched after running around in that downpour
Large tree branch falling - and just missing smallest child as they were out running around
looking back over the photos of fun times
unexpected late night Skype conversations...
...and then each time I thought about being tired the next day, I remembered why and had the opportunity to be thankful all over again!
birthday parties with new friends
a truly slower pace this past week that felt restful
finishing up my part of a large project and turning it over so the next person can do their part.
SAT questions of the day that challenge me to think... in a really fun way
my boy's friends yattering at me on facebook
sore throats that are now feeling better
taking a Sunday morning to sleep in - all of us
listening to our old neighbor boy - now become a young man - tell us all about his job as a preschool/kindergarten teacher in Tchintabarden
butterfly-shaped sugar cookies
picnics on a grassy slope
looking at the above picture and marveling at how these two have grown
finding Pringles in town last week! It has been a loooooonnnnnnnngggggggg time!
malaria prophylactics... and remembering to take them
friends willing to transport school books in their luggage
company coming for a week next week
making progress in the speech and language domain
figuring out schedules
Jonathan made his first homemade pizza crust!
photo editing software that lets me play and be creative
unintentionally hacking my hubby's fb page when he forgot to log off... OOPS!
closing tired eyes at last
new bedside rugs as well as a throw rug by the front door to catch all that sand the kids like to track in
husband hoisting antenna up into the tree so we'll be able to watch the Olympics... we hope!
progress in organizing our videos and dvds
looking forward to watching Sinbad (the 1958 version!)
fun comments left on my blog - and meeting new people through the comments section