Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast Episode 013 Change
Welcome to the Terri Hitt – Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast
Episode #013 – Change
Thank you for entrusting and investing your precious time with me to grow in Jesus together. I am blessed and thrilled to be back with you today to discuss more ways to live with eternal perspective.
As I prepare this podcast, what I consider the most beautiful time of year is unfolding outside. As spring draws near, I make time to look out the window in my master bathroom, in anticipation of seeing blooms bursting free from winter slumber on a nearby neighbor’s tree in their front yard. Always the first in my area to awaken, it gives me great joy when I view the tiny blooms release. I observe it daily just to see the progression of spring unfold in elapsed time. In contrast, my next-door neighbor has a tree that is last to arouse to new life and thus, their tree has the very last leaves to drop away in the fall. As you can see, I am an observer of seasons and I always have a deep and bittersweet sense of lost love every year when it’s time to say goodbye to spring and summer months.
Nothing God does is by chance. The seasons He created represent how our lives constantly change. All of creation was intelligently formed with wisdom only God possesses and is tied together in a subtle, perfect fashion, just as the changes I described and that we all experience are, although they don’t always feel good or positive in the moment.
God has blessed me with plenty of opportunities to rely on Him to get me through transitions in life. Let me list just the highlights, meaning this is not everything, of what God has enabled us to rely on Him for over during just the last fourteen years. I quit my job to stay home, we brought home our infant daughter from China, began an extremely difficult journey as my mother battled Alzheimer’s, our oldest daughter battled health issues and passed away unexpectedly, placed my mother in a nursing home for better care, visited my mother daily and managed her bills and care team instructions, helped my father navigate health care as he received news that he had terminal lung cancer, suffered through my husband’s job loss of almost two years, lost my father, lost my mother, adopted a nine year-old daughter with significant health and special needs from China, lost my father-in-law to cancer, helped my youngest through many surgeries and procedures as she adjusted to living with a family in a new country, helped our daughter through her second open-heart surgery, and became a strong advocate for her health care. These are just the highlights that chronicle the time span mentioned.
As excruciatingly hard as moments were, I never forgot that God is in control. It didn’t always make the struggles easier, but it shaped my faith deeper and wider. What does that mean? My faith was strong because I already had a relationship with Christ, however, the trials we endured thrust the roots of my relationship farther into deeper fertile ground and spread those roots across the soil of my life. It implanted my feet solidly on living with eternal perspective and spread around me to attempt to allow Him to shine. I am always aware of the fact that others are watching to see how Christ works in the life of a believer. I want them to experience the joy He brings and understand the difference He makes in the life of one trusting Him.
One lesson God has taught me is that no matter what I am living through, no matter how easy or difficult the situation or trial may be at the time, I am to look up to Him. Most definitely, it is a beautiful thing when friends and family are around to help and comfort us, but He has proven to me that I am not to rely on the strength of another human to do what He can. While He gives loved ones to us, we are not to find our identity or strength through them. They are a blessing in our life for other purposes.
One way in particular that God strengthened my endurance to look to Him was years ago when our oldest daughter showed the first sign of the seriousness of her health condition. It was New Year’s Eve, 2001. Just a few hours before 2002 rang in, I received a phone call. I had just stepped out of the shower. My husband was extremely sick with the flu and could not move anywhere but to the toilet. In fact, he was laying on the floor near it. When I got home from work, I expected to shower and watch a movie, then go to bed. When I heard the phone ringing as I stepped out of the bathtub, I wrapped a towel around myself and quickly ran to answer it. It was a police officer.
He told me our daughter had experienced a seizure. The only information she could give him was our phone number. She was 22 years old and living in an apartment about four blocks from our house. A friend was in town from Texas and they had been sitting in the apartment drawing while they figured out where to go for dinner when our daughter’s hand began to tremble, and her body reacted with a full-blown seizure. That is when her friend called 911.
I told the officer where to take her and after quickly getting dressed, I raced to tell my husband what had happened, then left for the hospital. I remember thinking how terrible it was that I had to go to the hospital alone. I desperately wanted my husband with me. I felt like it seemed that major events in my life happened when I had to handle things by myself. My thoughts started shooting to several memories as I grew upset. As soon as I thought the words and began the mental movie, I felt God’s firm assurance and reprimand that I had never been alone. I grew calmer as I prayed for Him to take care of Jaime and to guide the doctors.
A few years later when police officers came to our home to tell us that our daughter had passed away, my husband was at work. In a time I wanted him home with me, God was my refuge and strength. The way it should be. Because He planned for each of us before we were even formed in the womb, God knows exactly what each of us needs. He doesn’t waste anything that happens to us. Everything we endure or enjoy is a gift from our Heavenly Father. All is designed to reach us in ways nothing else would for specific purposes only He understands fully. My husband and I are very close, and God may know that it would be easy for me to rely on my husband, instead of Him. I trust that the way events occur and the timing with which they happen is as it should be. Thankfully, my Heavenly Father sees the whole picture, not the small snapshot I do.
Nothing stays constant in life. Life is fluid, always shifting, bringing highs and lows that I could not survive without God. Yet, while some who do not know Jesus might believe I am weak because of my reliance on Him, I know that I am strong, but in the right ways. In the best ways. On my own, I am a naturally strong person, but the strengths this world reveres is not the quality that gives fullness of life. Before I knew Christ as my Savior, I would describe my personality as stubborn, and prideful, yet with low confidence. After releasing myself to Jesus and submitting to Him, I have become persistent, yet not stubborn because I know I can do all things through Christ. I am becoming humbler daily as I look to Him and His examples, and my confidence has grown, not in self, but through Him and His mighty works through me. I don’t have to look to self for definition or endurance, strength, wisdom, or provisions. He is enough. God is my everything.
I remember feeling extremely concerned for my middle daughter when she was younger because she was living her formative childhood years under such pressured days. I wanted to raise her for God and deeply desired smooth, easy days to teach her about Him. God, in His infinite wisdom, knew what was in store for us. I trust that He holds all details in His hands and that what we walk through, as devastating as it feels during the moment, serves a great purpose, not just for us, or those around us, but for eternity. I prayed diligently every day for Him to use what we were enduring for good for His purposes. I pleaded with God not to let Satan get a foothold in her life because the days were so painful, and I could recognize attacks on our family.
What I’ve learned (and each of us must remember) is that changes that arrive at our doorstep invite us to lay a welcome mat for Jesus to enter our hearts, minds, and spirits to guide us and carry us in His capable arms, if we choose to let Him through each moment.
Remember, absolutely nothing in life is exempt from change. Often, instead of embracing that fact, we dread it. Routines are so important to human nature. We like the expected in daily life. We want our routines and schedules to flow exactly the way we desire.
Why do we live with a false sense of control? It makes us feel secure. False security feels better than facing the knowledge that nothing is permanent.
Why do we fear change? It is unpredictable. We cannot control it or anticipate it. Change can cause fear, resentment, anxiety, anger or bitterness.
God already knows every change we will ever encounter. In fact, He wants to work all things for good for all who love Him and are called according to His purpose. He is already steps ahead of us, paving the way if only we will allow Him to pick us up to carry us over the stumbling steps we experience when walking on our own.
Everything in life serv
es a purpose and has its time. As it is said in Ecclesiastes 3, “to everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” Although we have the head knowledge of these truths, we still sometimes find it hard to embrace Him when situations call for it.
Hebrews 13:8 offers the hope, assurance, and promise we need. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
When life swirls around us and we feel as though everything is different or frightening and that we are alone or without hope, why is it so difficult to remember the words from Joshua 1:9? Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage, do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Or this promise from Psalm 18:2-3, “I will love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in Whom I will trust, My Shield and the Horn of my Salvation, My Stronghold, I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised.”
It becomes difficult to remember and call upon the promises of God in troubled times because we are so prone to falling back to reliance on self.
As with everything else of great importance in deepening our dependence on, and our abidance in God, we remember hope if we shift our mindset and heart to view life as an evolving gift from Him that is intended to grow and deepen our walk.
Our life is not meant to be what we have made it in our fallen world. Our life was meant to be one of intimate and pure communion with God. It is still meant to be that way. We are not meant to abide in Him during troubled times. We were created for permanent residency in and with Him.
I enjoy imagining what God originally designed this world and our relationships to be. When we study Eve in the book of Genesis we can begin to understand the perfect love, grace, and provision God extended to her and Adam. They truly lived in God-created paradise without anxiety, bitterness, jealousy, strife, misunderstandings, guilt, hurt, or envy. None of the hurtful, hateful, harmful emotions, words, or actions so strong in our present world existed. Change was probably not a word in their vocabulary or thoughts. Life was perfect.
Stop for a moment and ponder the ways our world was so different from what we now experience. If none of us had ever lived under the crushing pain of betrayal, abuse, neglect, or any of the terrible truths of this current world, our hearts, minds, actions, and lives would not suffer from the horrendous effects of such abuse. No wonder change can be so terrifying.
We are undoubtedly prone to sin and failure when we shift our attention from God for even a moment. Our lives were meant for complete submission and reliance on Him. Not in an ugly, twisted enslaved way, but in a beautifully complete provisional and intimate exchange of love and reliance on Him because we recognize His authority and attention to us personally.
God planned and created each of us for a specific purpose. He deeply desires to provide for us and simply love us. Life is so complicated because of the prominent sin we invited into this world. It was never the way God intended for us to live. I know the separation we feel is so profoundly undesired by God, who created us for such deep intimacy with Him.
Thankfully, Lamentations 3:22-23 reminds us, “Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”
As I studied chapters in Luke this past week in preparation for Easter, I read a verse that touched me in a new way as I was also preparing this podcast. Although I have read the verse before, it never captured my attention the way that it did this time. As it is written in God’s Holy Bible in Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
The Bible holds such unique power through God’s word, truths, and will that enables us to be reached through different verses and stories at just the right time in our life for His good purposes.
Luke 22:32a states, “But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail.” These words were spoken by Jesus to Simon Peter as the Lord warned his disciple that Satan had requested to sift the follower as wheat. Instead of heeding Jesus’ warning, the always zealous and over-confident Peter ignored the meaning behind Jesus’ words. He told Jesus He was ready to go with the Lord to prison and to death. Jesus replied that Simon would deny Him three times that day.
What strikes me in this passage as so vitally important to remember is that we know Satan must request permission to tempt us. Job 1:12 shows us that God granted the devil certain access to Job. “And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.’”
We also know that God already knows everything that will happen in each of our lives. He knows who Satan will target and when that will happen. The verse from Luke 22 proves that we are prayed for before the events occur. The Lord Himself prays for and intercedes for us, strengthening us with His mighty power when we need it most. What could be more effective than a prayer spoken for us by Jesus?
This is our reminder that no change comes to us that God has not authorized. This gives me such hope and peace when things around me swirl with uncertainty. It fills me with mighty strength and trust in Him.
Change may bring uncertainty and make us uncomfortable, but we don’t have to stay in those feelings. Human emotions are beautiful and I’m so thankful God allows us to experience such complex thoughts and feelings. Yet, He never intended us to remain fixed in or paralyzed by emotions. His desire has always been for us to look and turn to Him for every need.
Jesus modeled ultimate obedience for us when He went to the cross. As He prayed in the garden before His arrest, He was aware of the biggest change in His life about to come. Jesus had such a love for us and for His Heavenly Father that He could not deny His purpose. As He knelt in prayer, he spoke these words from Luke 22:42, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not my will, but Yours, be done.”
Jesus knew what change was coming. He carried such severe emotional and physical stress that He actually produced sweat, and if that isn’t hard enough to imagine, the sweat looked like great drops of blood. Jesus knew what had to be done. He faced tremendous change with courage found through His relationship with His Heavenly Father. He did not rely on self, but was diligently prayerful and intensely focused above. Jesus knew He could not face the coming change alone. He looked to the Only One who could carry Him.
Jesus modeled perfect love and obedience for us. Fixing His trust and focus on God is the only way He would be able to do what was written for Him. Jesus left us with the perfect example of how to handle anything we ever endure.
Isaiah 26:3 is a reminder for all of us. “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
Change is a fact of life for all of us. Change will continue to happen. Sometimes it arrives as a joyful surprise, sometimes with tragedy, with hardship, or because of disobedience, or simply because we live in a broken world. No matter the cause, we know that it is no surprise to the Lord, who is already praying for us and ready to shoulder our burden.
Change means to “give up something in exchange for something else.” Jesus sacrificed His life for us to receive eternal life through Him.
Change means to “make or become different.” Through Jesus, we are a new creation.
Change means to “make or become a different substance entirely; transform.” When we accept Jesus as our Savior, the Holy Spirit resides in us to transform us to be more like Jesus moment by moment.
Change means “the act or instance of becoming different.”
Every time we experience something different in our life, we can let it be the catalyst that prompts us to embrace it as another opportunity to draw nearer to God and rely on Him to work new miracles in our life.
Thank you so much for listening to the Live With Eternal Perspective podcast. God has impressed so much on my heart to share. Living with an eternal perspective affects absolutely everything in my life. I am thrilled to delve into different areas with you. Since everything affects our eternity, we have a lot to discuss! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you found value in this podcast, please subscribe so you don’t miss an episode. I also encourage you to leave a review. In order for others to be able to find this podcast, I will need the support of listeners who will invest a few minutes in subscribing and reviewing to lift Live With Eternal Perspective higher on the charts so that the platform shows it to everyone. I would also appreciate it if you would share this podcast with a friend. Tag me if you share it on social media. I want everyone to hear the messages Jesus lays on my heart so they will find encouragement from Him and find new ways to Live With Eternal Perspective.