JOURNEY THROUGH CHANGES
By Carla McDougal
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the Truth.
––3 John 4
Adjustments. Transitions. Changes. For many, shifting from one season to another is difficult. The changeover comes in a variety of ways, such as marriage, a pregnancy, a new job, health issues, the death of a loved one, a divorce, or moving to a new town.
As for me, one of the most difficult changes was when…
the last of our four children left for college. Not only was Carly Jo the last to leave our home, she is also our only daughter. I dreaded the day when we would move her into her dorm at Texas A&M University. I tried to hide the inevitable and block it from my mind. However, God knew my heart.
One morning, while scanning the Internet, this image, Changes – Next Exit, popped up on my computer screen. Immediately, God stirred something deep within me. These thoughts lit up like a neon sign in my mind. Parenting is like taking a road trip. Travelers must be aware of the road conditions and the signs. Following the map is crucial to reaching the planned destination. I quickly opened up a blank word document and began writing…
JOURNEY THROUGH CHANGES
Overcome with emotion. Not prepared for the inevitable. Hasn’t this parenting trip just started? I’m not ready to journey through Changes! Beyond the exit I see a roadblock on the highway: Entering the Danger Zone. I have no choice but to exit NOW!
Thoughts rush in… But I’m not prepared to travel through Changes. I thought this road was miles ahead? At least it appeared that way.
Suddenly, I hear God’s familiar, gentle voice saying…
“My daughter, My child, Changes is your only choice. If you continue on this parenting road trip at the same speed, you’ll eventually crash into My roadblock. I put it there for a reason. I’ve allowed your children, actually My children, to ride with you on Life’s Highway for the first part of their lives. Now, each one drives with me––alone. I need you to exit. This journey through Changes will be difficult and full of twists and turns. Starting out, the scenery is barren. Yes, like a desert. Please trust me to lead you through this next phase of the parenting trip. I promise… an oasis awaits you. Follow Me closely. Thank you for guiding and directing your children to Me. Now, get ready for a new and fresh adventure.
By the way, this parenting trip is not for you to control, but Me. I’ve allowed you to be a big part of your children’s journey. But your role is changing. I still need you to be in your children’s lives, praying for them to love Me and praying for My purposes to be accomplished through them. Thank you for deciding to travel through Changes with Me. I am proud of you. Wait until you see what’s on the other side of this adventure.”
Without thinking, I exit the ramp to Changes. Leaving this part of the parenting trip leads to tears, heartache, and anguish. This road is all I’ve known. My heart’s cry is to follow God’s roadmap. I don’t want to divert from His way, but my emotions fly in all directions. With hands on the wheel and my heart lifted in praise, I cry out to God…
“I never expected this journey to Changes to be so difficult. Jesus, I need you more and more each day. Help me follow You with my everything. You are the author and finisher of our family. You love my children more than I do. I trust you completely. I know we’ve completed this part of the parenting trip, and You have a fresh adventure ahead. Help me not live in the past, but focus on Your road map of directions––Your Word. Thank you for allowing me to mother these four children and for the blessings of being their prayer warrior. Also, help me not miss the scenery on this journey to Changes. I praise You for the rest stops along the way called Grace and Mercy. Sweet sanctuaries to refuel and refresh. I choose to praise You through the journey to Changes.”
In a moment’s notice, my attitude shifts. A smile emerges. Excitement ignites. The Holy Spirit activates a yearning in my heart. Once again, this phrase resounds, “Life is not about me, but all about Him.” Humbleness envelops my soul. I remember 3 John 4… I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the Truth. I am ready, Lord. Ready to journey through Changes!
This blog post represented my life in the summer of 2012. God allowed this journey through Changes to be a sweet time of surrender and trust. I praise Him for all He taught me along the way. Entering the empty nest isn’t easy, but a necessary and exciting season. To all who have gone before me, “Thank you for the wisdom.” For all who follow me, “May you be encouraged to take advantage of every opportunity to teach your children about an intimate relationship with Jesus.” The journey through Changes is inevitable.
Is your life changing? Are you speeding down life’s highway without realizing the exit to Changes looms ahead? Are there stops you should have made along the way? Is anxiety building? Maybe you are tired, yet refreshed. Exhausted, yet relieved. Be encouraged and trust God’s road signs. The Changes exit causes you to slow down and reflect. Remember, God designed this roadmap for His glory. Enjoy the journey. With excitement, move forward focusing on God’s Word, prayer, and living out His Truths. Ask God to help you follow His roadmap for your life. And don’t miss the rest stops God provides along the way. Give it your all and live sold out for Jesus.
*Excerpt from Carla McDougal’s newest book project: SOLD OUT: Live for Jesus.
Award-winning author and speaker, Carla McDougal founded Reflective Life Ministries in 2008. Her true passion is her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It humbles her to realize His love, grace, and mercy go beyond her understanding. She truly believes laughter is medicine from the Lord that breaks down walls and removes the masks in our lives. As a result, God has taken her around the world to encourage others to live every day for Him. Her latest book, My Prayer Chair, won multiple awards in 2013 and is now available in Spanish. Carla and her husband, Fred, live in the Houston, TX area and have three sons, one daughter, and two daughters-in-“love.” She smiles to think of the experiences God has allowed in her life to teach and remind her “He is in control.” Connect with Carla Here… Facebook & Reflective Ministries