If you’re like me, you don’t mind change one bit—as long as it’s your idea. The thing is that with military life, much of the change finding you is not your idea. And that change—the difficult kind you don’t want and didn’t ask for—makes your hands wring with worry or fear. The winds of transition blow just a little harder and meaner, and questions tumble and roll right over you: Will I make friends at our new assignment? Will my husband recover from this deployment? Will my kids adjust to their new school?
Will this next change be the change that does me in?
When I entertain questions like these, the enemy sees a keyhole-sized opening in the door of my heart and takes the opportunity to bust it down altogether. He wants to make a mess of my business, and instead of purposely fighting back, I unknowingly play along. I play along when change comes and I believe him when he says you’re hopeless, Kristen. You don’t have what it takes to survive this.
Before long I’m buying into what he says more than what God says.
Whether I crack under repeated pressure or crack because I’m in a mood and it doesn’t take much, my human weakness will leak through the fractures eventually. I will find my breaking point.
The point of our breaking points? They are the perfect place for Christ to come and be what we cannot. They are the perfect place for us to grab some spackle and fortify the doors of our hearts. And nothing fortifies our hearts like a steady diet of God’s Word. The problem is life gets busy and I get complacent. I am distracted because kids need tending, dinner needs making, blog posts need writing, and groceries need purchasing. All my responsibilities are written in capital letters, and constant distractions are eager posers of emergencies and never on vacation.
But here’s the thing: No matter how inconsistent our time in the Bible, getting into the Word will consistently over time provide a return.
I see this truth when I reflect on my sweet son James as a baby and toddler. Like many little ones, my boy liked to experience food rather than simply eat it. I would place him in his high chair, snap on the tray, and watch as his round arms and legs bounced up and down with anticipation and excitement.
Within minutes of setting his food in front of him, it looked like James’s goal was to smear it over every square inch of his tray and body. From time to time I saw him take a fistful of spaghetti or blueberries into his mouth, but more often I saw him take a fistful of food and smear it within all points of reach. By the time he was finished, I’d look over the food-painted scene and say, “Did you actually get any of this inside you?”
Well, obviously he did. As a baby and toddler, James didn’t hold the nickname “Hoss” for nothing. Lots of food may have missed his mouth, but plenty made it inside his plump little body too.
I think Scripture reading is much the same.
Distractions elbow their way in on my time, and some of my Bible readings trickle down the sides of my brain. But a lot of it sticks too, and I can’t deny the evidence of God’s truth working in my life. I still have miles of room left for growth and improvements, but the more intentionally I spend time in the word, the better I am at giving credit to God for the highs as well as credit for being able to handle the lows.
And when life smacks me with change again, I am less likely to wring my hands with worry.
As Pastor Bryan from my church states, “God doesn’t rebuke, He invites.” And He invites us to invest time in His Word because He knows it will over time contribute to our well-being.
Here’s another important reason to spend time with Jesus through God’s Word: Because Jesus genuinely loves spending time with you. He doesn’t suffer through your presence, He sincerely enjoys it. And within your time together, He wants to exchange your wringing hands with a more hopeful vision of your change.
Instead of wringing our hands, may we ring our hands around God’s Word. And in the process may we gather hope that our life change is not the end. God’s grace and goodness are.
As the wife of a career Air Force veteran, Kristen Strong speaks from the heart of a woman who has experienced change in many makes and models. Many of her life experiences, as well as stories of others and stories from Scripture, can be found in her just-released book Girl Meets Change: Truths to Carry You through Life’s Transitions, and you can read more about the book at www.girlmeetschange.com.
Kristen and her husband, David, have three delightful children and enjoy their home under the wide blue skies of Colorado.