Changing Paths: My Thanksgiving Story

The past six months have been another season of change for me. I started down a path about a year ago that took me to a place unexpected. I made a decision to make some changes, never dreaming where God would take me. And I have never been more content.

How did I get here you ask? It began with a cry in the night: “God I can’t keep living like this – you gotta fix this.” I admit, I didn’t really expect an answer. You see I was smack dab in the middle of my repeat issue – overspending to fill a gap in my life or spending to belong. I was back to counting pennies and wondering why I could not seem to live on my more than adequate retirement income.

I knew the answer but I didn’t want to hear it. What I heard ever so clearly was: “Get a job.” I love my retirement. I love the flexibility of my life. I love getting up when I want and doing nothing if I want. I love the ministries I am involved with and the relationships I have.

Unfortunately, all this freedom had led me to laziness, a weight gain, and spending out of boredom. All a formula for my downfall; one that often leads to depression and a feeling of hopelessness and a devaluation of self. I know all the symptoms and I knew I needed to get off the dark path I was heading. Something had to change and I needed to become willing to submit to that change. Willing to submit….willing..

Change takes a willingness to do what it takes. If we cry out to God and we receive an answer- maybe a vison or just a sense of what step we should take next- it is up to us to decide to take that next step. So I said “yes” to what I heard and oh my, how that one little word changed the direction I was heading.

First step was to dust off the resume and apply for some jobs. I can’t begin to tell you how amazing the next few days were for me. I found a job that would allow me to keep working with the ministries I love and make enough to pay down my bills and start putting some money aside for emergencies or maybe that big trip I dream about taking. However, that wasn’t enough of a change.

I had come to a new church where I was deeply touched by the teaching, the music, the prayers, the people, and the relationship with the local international community. I participated in their Alpha course to learn more about this Jesus I follow and to learn more about the church family. It was the start of a new walk for me. For the first time I can remember, I wanted to make a monthly financial commitment (a tithe) to support the life of this parish. And I knew that getting this job was only part of the solution that would allow me to be obedient to God about this. Something had to go and so I let go of my beloved hockey tickets and spending so much on being a part of that community. I needed to redirect my priorities and that meant stepping down from building our hockey blog and the hours and hours it was taking to create something that was really not beneficial to me or to serving others. I had to live with the car I have, even if it wasn’t the high-end car I was used to driving. I had to be comfortable with the minimalist life God had led me to live three years ago and be genuinely happy. And then I could give- really give.

So I took a leap of faith and jumped in. I accepted a job I was offered three days after my lamenting to God. I cancelled my season tickets. I told the team I was backing away from the hockey blog. I cancelled two vacations, even though it may have disappointed friends and family. I made some changes in budgeting, making “No” an acceptable answer. And I set up an automatic donation to the church and other organizations I felt led to support. It has not been easy and I had nearly daily discussions with God about what I didn’t like about this. I asked others to pray and one praying soul told me that she believed God wanted me to stay where I was, that something wonderful would come of it, and I would know when it was time to let go.

So I walked the path I was set upon and I prayed and I walked and I cried and I smiled as things became clearer and the burden lighter. I met some incredible people and learned about other cultures and religions that I never would have learned about had God not placed me there. I was able to share God’s love and to speak about praying to those who had never heard of or seen answered prayers. I let God use me and I didn’t even realize what was happening because as I was changed and reshaped, so were others.

And then this past week the something wonderful happened. I was invited to join the staff of my church. I had prayed long ago to work once again for a church and to use my gifts and the story of the ways God transformed my life. I didn’t realize that the job I had lamented to God about would be the job that prepared me for this new opportunity to more directly serve in his house. As I write this paragraph I am crying in the sheer joy and excitement of where this walking with God will take me.

My path is indeed lighter. God has guided me through prayer and a awareness that comes from the Holy Spirit and belief that my life is redeemable because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. I became willing to literally let go and let God and he is once again taking my mess and transforming my life.

And I am so very thankful. My prayer for you today is that you too call out to God and when you receive that sense of something that comes from the Holy Spirit speaking to you, that you will take that leap of faith and step onto a lighter path. If you don’t know how to do that- find a friend or a church that can help you. I invite you to join us at Truro Anglican Church in Fairfax, VA and maybe even take the Alpha course to find out more about how much God loves you and wants to walk with you.

Happy Thanksgiving friends.

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