Changed and Changing

I’m not the person I once was and not the person that I will one day be. And that’s very good news. 

Today, I have lived 59 years.That’s amazing to me and somewhat unbelievable. Wasn’t I in my twenties just moments ago? In truth I’ve been planting many seeds in my life in the past 30 years (and more). As I look back at the growth in my life in the past 30 years, what does the crop look like that I am harvesting now?

I’ve learned to love better, much better. I’m more patient in difficult circumstances and with difficult people. I’ve learned how to wait well, to wait on GOD as a loving Father and to be more compassionate with hurting people. I treat people more gently and with more kindness. 

I feel peaceful most of the time, no matter what manner of chaos is going on around me. I live with deep joy.

All of these things have grown in me, not because I am someone outstanding or amazing, but because over time I have learned to surrender to the prodding of the Holy Spirit in my life, day after day after day. I have come to understand the benefit of surrendering quickly and fully to the Holy Spirit, to not try to battle it out with the GOD of the universe. I have experienced His goodness and His grace, His great kindness and tender mercy.

I have responded to the hunger and thirst for the Word that the Holy Spirit has stirred in me, and it has continued to grow more deep and vast, and my view of Scripture has grown richer and more intense. It’s been opened up to me in a way that Wendy in her twenties only dreamed of. Consequently, I have grown consistent in seeking GOD through His Word and have gradually expanded my morning time with Him, wanting so much more.

I sense GOD’s presence so very close to me all throughout the day now, every day. If I feel fearful or anxious, my first and immediate response is to go to GOD as my loving Father in prayer and worship. He is my refuge. He comforts me, leads me, and holds me. He faithfully draws out all fear and worry. In His presence is perfect peace.

I knew GOD well when I was 39. I’d had babies and cancer and healing. I knew Him even better at 49.I’d had failures and successes and walked in more confidence and less fear.

At 59 I realize that I’ve only begun to know Him. In the past decade I’ve relied even more on my heavenly Father for strength, comfort, direction, and provision. With my family I uprooted my life, resettled in another state, changed careers, started a ministry, and left behind a wonderful life for an equally wonderful, entirely different one.  I’ve lost both of my parents and have celebrated the lives they lived serving Jesus. I’ve moved into a new season where my siblings and I are now in that “older” generation.

And throughout all of these changes, I’ve continued to grow in my knowledge and understanding of GOD. And He is wonderful. I suspect that throughout Eternity I will be learning, growing, and knowing more and that there will be no end to the expanding depth and richness of understanding about who GOD is and how deeply He loves me.

I’m not done growing and changing. New challenges have revealed new places in me in need of GOD’s tender transformation, and I am confident that He will continue to refine me as I continue to cooperate with all that He wants to do in my life. 

And whatever this next year holds for me, I know that GOD will be faithful to His promises. He will never leave me (Hebrews 13:15), He will supply everything that I need (Philippians 4:19), and He will work out all things for my good (Romans 8:28).

The last birthday of my fifties. The last year before turning 60. Ready.Set.Go!

Another Year, Already

© Wendy Clark, 2023

January 15

Tomorrow I will be 59. How is that possible? Wasn’t I just 29 a few days ago? How did the last 30 years go by so quickly and at the same time seem a lifetime ago? 

The incredible passage of time. When I was young, older people told me about it. Some warned, some lamented, some kindly informed. My mom mused, saying that she felt like she was “still twenty inside.” 

But I couldn’t understand. I couldn’t conceive of it. Difficult times seemed long. Time seemed slow. Looking back I realize that sense of time was a persuasive illusion. GOD, in His Word had told me otherwise:

“As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more” (Psalm 105:15-16).

I believed Him, but I didn’t quite understand how that could be. And then I began to see. 

The moments came, and the moments passed, and then they were so quickly gone. I learned that if I wanted to slow down the bullet train of time, zooming me through life, I should stop and savor. Others before me knew it. Walter Hagen wrote back in the 1960s, “Don’t hurry. Don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way,” and people started saying, “Stop and smell the roses,” and as I started to sense the incredible passage of time, I did. I stopped.

I learned to enjoy the moment, to be present in it, to pause and make memories that I could carry with me in my mind into the future. To never miss the moment of now in favor of reaching for some moment in the future.

So I ask, “GOD, what do you want me to do today? I want to please You.” Sometimes the answer involves planning and preparation that will take me into tomorrow, next week, next year, but always the answer involves paying attention to the people around me and walking in wisdom here and now.

I’m convinced that it is by GOD’s design that I become increasingly aware of the incredible passage of time and the brevity of this life. Seasons come and seasons go. In some places they are more difficult to perceive (like when I was growing up in Southern California), but here in Idaho, it’s not easy to overlook the pile of snow that reaches almost up to my back window.

Experience has taught me that the snow will melt, spring will come, mild and green and blooming; summer will follow, bright and warm, with long, full days; autumn will usher in beautiful colors and milder temperatures, and the days will start to get shorter once again. And then–I will be looking out my back window at the snow, the pile lower or higher, and I will be another year older. 

A long yawn or an intense sneeze, and I might miss it. That’s how it feels at this time of my life.

Wendy at 29, pregnant with her first child, uncomfortable, but ready–she could not sense it, this incredible passage of time. She didn’t know.

I don’t have a sense of how much more time I have ahead of me. Do I have 30 more years? More? Less? A lot less? One of my grandfathers died in his early 60s, another in his 80s, one grandmother in her 70s, but another at 52; my mom lived to be almost 80, and my dad died at 90. 

How much time do I have?  It is not a question that I concern myself with much. The amount of time seems far less important than the choices I make in using it.

I see the incredible passage of time written on my face and in the faces of my husband and  grown children, and I’m sometimes puzzled by the changes that seem accelerated. At the same time, I recognize GOD’s gentle nudge. This world is not my home. Today is passing. I won’t waste it. 

And perhaps ironically, I feel great peace in knowing that this is true.

Moving Again

© Wendy Clark, 2021

Only our friends who live in this valley will fully understand this news, but the owner of the house we rent let us know yesterday that he needs to move back into the house in July, so we will be house-hunting and moving once again.  (I can hear the groans from this side of the screen.)

I’m happy that it isn’t about him wanting to sell the house while the market is hot or about wanting to rent it as a vacation home, but moving is well, not my favorite thing, and we will be moving to our 5th house since we came to the valley in 2014.  We lived on Pine Street in Hailey, then 1st Street, then 3rd, and then here in Bellevue. (Each of the other houses we had to move because they went on the market. If you want to understand what is going on here in the housing market, this information should help.)

We are truly thankful that we were able to live in this house for over two years, and it has been a really good place to live. We are truly not worried about where we will go (though I know that will sound crazy to some). I’m not looking forward to sorting and packing or to figuring out where we will live next, but there is a part of me that feels good about having some time to sort through things that have been stored and lighten the load and about the possibilities that moving brings.

If you are wondering why it is we are not worried in a time that we probably should be worried, it’s just that the faithfulness of God to take care of us has already been firmly established.  I will retell those stories as we move into this new season, but there have been so many times that we needed somewhere to go and that it looked like there was nowhere to go, including the time we moved into this current house, that worrying seems to be wasted energy.

But please do pray for us, and please let us know if you have any leads on a house in the valley, and please pass along that we are looking. And now’s the time to cue up the exciting, suspenseful music because here we go again.