Turns out Sid was more concerned about changes in the seasons, decay and decomposition, solids to liquids, and other such topics. Whew!
We did something new this summer when my husband and I traveled to Africa for a short-term missions trip. Our time in Ehtiopia CHANGED us. As soon as baby #4 is born this fall, we will be filling out paperwork and starting the adoption process (we would have started yesterday, but the agency has a policy about being pregnant when starting the process). We are already in love with our brown-skinned kiddos even though we have NO idea who they are yet (we would love to bring TWO home). We have even encouraged our girls to pray for their brothers/sisters to be safe and strong and healthy until they get to join us here in our family.
Immediatlely upon our return from Africa, we loaded up our Yukon XL to the brim (literally) and hooked up our pop-up camper. We headed out for Myrtle Beach for a family vacation. Along the way, we camped out in some breathtakingly beautiful National Forests and Parks. The drive was LONG and the girls weren't all that excited about the HOURS in the car, but we made it. Once we arrived at the beach, the girls would have stayed there for days. Seriously, we didn't need to do anything else to entertain them or make this the vacation of their dreams. They were content splashing in the water, "surfing" the waves, and building sand castles on the beach. We spent the majority of our time right there, doing "nothing." That experience CHANGED us too. We realized how TIME together is the best thing of all and that we don't need fancy, expensive, luxurious things to make us happy. Our hearts were full listening to the ocean and watching our girls soak up the sun.
From the beach we headed to Ponca Bible Camp in the Ozarks of Arkansas. Our hearts have a special place for this amazing camp. I grew up going there (since 5th grade). Lawrence never experienced Ponca as a camper, but was invited to a young adult retreat and then started counseling the next summer. We met at Ponca in 2004. In 2007, he asked me to marry him on a hike we take during camp. We seriously considered having our wedding there, but decided to stay closer to home so people would actually come and enjoy the day with us (rather than making them drive 4-8 hours one way). Needless to say, Ponca is special. We spent 2 weeks there, pouring into kiddos ranging from 4th grade to 7th grade. We saw God work in MIGHTY ways. Our prayer had been for each boy and girl to truly understand who they are, who GOD created them to be - masterpieces He designed with a plan and purpose, powerful soldiers engaged in battle against a fierce enemy, overcomers who are ALREADY victorious and triumphant. Our goal was for them to leave camp at the end of the week with a personal CREED, or at least the starts of one in their hearts and minds. God blew us away, especially the first week as campers stood up on Friday night after chapel and shared their creeds with the entire camp. To hear these 6th and 7th graders have such confidence in who they are and how they are going to live out their days passionately and courageously for Jesus gave me goosebumps. I had chills up and down my back. Sharing the amazing truth of God's Word with these boys and girls, then seeing them take to heart what we were saying, CHANGED us. We went to teach and ended up learning more ourselves.
Now that we are back home (after being gone for 5 weeks), God continues to weave these concept of CHANGE into our lives. Our church is going through some changes. Houses are for sale in our neighborhood and others that were on the market when we left are already sold. We will have quite a few new neighbors in the coming months. Our oldest will be starting kindergarten this fall. Lawrence will be entering his TENTH year of teaching 3rd grade, and you would think it would be "old hat" for him as he prepares for another round of students to come through his classroom door in a few weeks. BUT, God is doing some CHANGES there too...
Yesterday, Lawrence came home from a school workshop super excited. Before sharing what he had learned at the in-service session, he warned me that I might be shocked at the words that were going to come out of his mouth. He even joked that I might ask if he was his husband :) He then proceeded to tell me how he was going to get rid of the desks in his classroom and focus on centers and interactive groups and independent work. This is coming from a man who has NEVER put his students' desks in pods, but ALWAYS lines them up in ROWS. He is about routine and organization and structure. It's what he knows. It's what is comfortable for him. BUT, as he sees how kids learn and grow and flourish and develop, he is understanding that he might need to adjust and CHANGE the way he does things. So he is ready to dive in, head first. After 9 years of teaching the same grade, you can get "bored." You get "stuck" doing the same lessons or same group activities or same projects. He doesn't want that to happen. This is the most excited I have seen him in a LONG time. And his enthusiasm sparks a fire inside of me.
As my husband is open to CHANGE, I too can dare to dream bigger and "think outside the box" and imagine new possibilities for our family. Going from desks in rows to bean bags and circle tables and gathering spots may not seem like that big of a deal, but I assure you it IS. And as I consider his WILLINGNESS to change, I realize how stuck so many of us get in our ways. We feel safe with normal. We like to stick with what we know. Yet, in so doing, how much are we missing out on? What if something GOOD - something BETTER - waits for us out in the UNknown?! What if we were to take that step and do something new and different? What if we learned and grew and experienced something WAY beyond our wildest dreams or imagination?! What if...
In closing, I encourage you to take a look at your own life.
Are there any areas where you might NEED to CHANGE?
Do you have any goals or dreams or hopes or desires that might require you to step out of your comfort zone? Are you going to play it safe (and miss out) or take that "risk" and encounter something beautiful, inspiring, life-CHANGING?
Just as I wrongly feared the changes the Sid DVD might be addressing, we all too often see or hear the word CHANGE and turn to run in the opposite direction. We don't even give it a chance.
Instead, let's take the time to listen, to hear, to watch, to understand.
Let's be open to what might be the BEST thing that ever happened to us.