When You Wonder “Why?”

Dec 24, 2017 by

When You Wonder “Why?”

During this advent season, Jim and I went to church and heard a sermon on God shining his light into our lives. However, as He so often does, there was a different part of the sermon that made an impact on me. (I guess that was how God chose to shine His light for me that day.)

Our pastor pointed out how confusing Christ’s birth must have been for Mary. Here she was:

  • a virgin
  • close to being married
  • giving birth in a stable of all places
  • and visited by shepherds – some of the lowest of the low in society

And then he asked this question for Mary:

Why did God choose to do it this way?

Theologically, I can answer that question. But at the time, it hit me personally.

You see, over the past months, Jim and I have been going through a major life change. After we sensed God calling us to leave our church of 17 years and move out of our community of 22 years and start a new business, we set out on an adventure. Not sure where we should live, we have been “trying out” an area. (Currently, Indianapolis, Indiana) Over the past nine months we have lived for 2 months with my brother and sister-in-law, 4 months in a furnished one bedroom apartment, and just finishing up 3 months in an Air BNB house. Next we will be living in another house in another state for the first 2 months of the year and then we don’t know exactly where we are going.

At the same time, we are working to build a business which has ups and downs of its own.

Now here me, I’m not depressed or discouraged. If fact, I enjoy living a faith-filled life out on a limb. Let us say that we are thankful for the contracts and work we have received for 2018 and are truly enjoying the adventure. We are genuinely excited with anticipation for what is to come. God continues to deliver on His promises and is working on our behalf.

But some days I do ask God, why did you choose to do it this way? This whole process could have been a lot smoother. He could have told us exactly where to live, and we could have contracts overflowing in our inbox.

But I was reminded on Saturday night, God doesn’t always provide an easy way, but He does provide a way, and He does it for a very specific reason. God doesn’t make mistakes. And if He chose to send His one and only Son to earth in such a difficult and unusual way, then who am I to expect to have everything handed to me on a silver platter?

God doesn’t always provide an easy way, but He does provide a way,

and He does it for a very specific reason.

Maybe you are going through some questions of your own where you can’t understand why God would choose to do it this way.

  • You don’t have employment or are stuck in a dead-end, unfulfilling job;
  • You have a wayward child who can’t seem to find their way;
  • Your relationship is on rocky ground;
  • You don’t know what your next step is;
  • You’ve been trying and trying, but seem to go no where;
  • You’ve lost a loved one and are feeling lost and broken.

Maybe, you simply need to see this from a heavenly perspective rather than from where you are.

God’s way is right – always (Jesus had to be born of a virgin so there was no doubt of Him being divinely conceived.)

We are not promised all our wants – only all our needs (The Christ-child still had shelter. It was not in a palace or even in an inn. But Mary and the child found warmth and protection in a humble stable.) In Isaiah God does promise, “I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the wasteland.” We claim this to be true even now as we walk in faith.

He came to earth for all mankind – that is what is important. (Shepherds were the lowest of the low. But God chose to reveal His gift to mankind to them first. Our focus should be on the eternal Kingdom, not on our earth-bound perspective.)

So what can we do about our circumstances?

Live thankful. No matter your circumstance, there is always something to be thankful for. I’m amazed at how some people who are in the worst situations of life find ways to be thankful and joyful.

Stay Positive. You can choose to accept the negatives and lean into the positives. Then you can tackle your circumstances from a position above them rather than below.

Serve Others. True significance is lived out in serving others and helping lift their life in some way.

God may not be moving in your life the way you anticipated that He would, but He is at work. You can still remain present and active in that journey.

Merry Christmas and Live a Legacy!

~ Jerolyn and Jim

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Nov 21, 2017 by

 

Have you seen that commercial where Jennifer Hudson surprises street singer, Alex Guthrie, singing Bill Wither’s song, “Lovely Day?” I usually hate commercials. They interrupt the flow of a story; they are too long; there are too many of them…. But this one brings a tear to my eye every time.

Now there could be many reasons to love this commercial for American Family Insurance. (Full Disclosure: I had to Google what the commercial was for because I was so taken with the narrative, I had no idea.) You could love it because an award-winning singer surprises an aspiring singer. You could love it because of the look on his face when he realizes who is singing with him. You could love it because it’s an uplifting song and all the bystanders start dancing and singing with them.

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TRANSITIONS

Sep 6, 2017 by

TRANSITIONS

In a five month span in 2017 our family has experienced a lot of transition. Jerolyn and I resigned a position, stepped out in a new business venture, and relocated some 2000 miles…temporarily to see where home base for our business should be located. At the same time, our youngest child also started a new position and moved several hundred miles. Our oldest and her family assumed a new position in ministry work while purchasing their first home. Finally, our son and middle child, well…they just purchased their first home. Jokingly, we said just buying a first home was the easiest transition of all of our changes.

We have always placed a high value on our family relationships, and these transitions have caused us to be even more intentional on making these family relationships stronger than ever before. Planning trips to be together, using technology to keep in touch and see one another, as well as, simple texts and calls help us to stay connected across three time zones. We are so thankful for technology to have video conference calls with our kids and grandkids. It’s not the same as being physically together, but it does get us closer than generations before us have had and helps our granddaughters remember, recognize, and even reach out to us via the screen.

Whether you are only a few blocks apart or separated by thousands of miles and multiple time zones, in what ways are you being more intentional to value, develop, and strengthen those family relationships?

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NAVIGATING HEALTHY TEAMS TOGETHER

Feb 27, 2017 by

NAVIGATING HEALTHY TEAMS TOGETHER

Last summer we went on an “adventure” with three other couples. We all happened to be parents of girls who played travel softball together over the years. We stay in touch and appreciate the friendships we have built.

The “adventure” we went to was an escape room where we were placed in a locked room and the only way to “win” was by finding and decoding clues to allow us to unlock several locks on the door to “escape.” Admittedly some of us were not convinced before beginning how we would like this experience, but we will say, everyone went in with a very positive attitude.

We all were glad to be with one another and enjoy the connection of the relationships. But, again, we learned much by the adventure. Some thoughts from this experience:

1. We just loved being with each other and catching up on our families. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner after the adventure, shared stories, and plenty of laughter.

2. We could only accomplish the goal by working together. Some of us were strong and relentless in not giving up on finding clues. Others were very gifted at deciphering difficult equations and symbols.

3. We had a unified effort and humble spirits to say, “I am not good at this. Who is and who can help?” What great attitudes and humility. No one forced their way to take anything away, rather to watch different ones take leadership at different times was great, and several strong personalities graciously gave leadership by stepping aside or stepping up when needed. Attitude makes a difference.

4. We had FUN!

SO WHAT ABOUT YOUR TEAM?

Stay connected: Every team must take time to connect. If you don’t know what is happening in the other people’s lives, you can’t relate to them in the work environment as effectively. What joys can you celebrate with them? What heartaches are they suffering through? Not everyone will open up to you every time. But you need to make the effort to connect and then listen carefully to what is said and what is not said to gain insight into others’ lives.

Work together: It never benefits a team for members to go rogue. It’s in the collaboration where the magic happens. Each person is created with individual abilities and learned skills that they can contribute to the whole. Allow everyone to be a part — encourage it. You may be surprised what nuggets of gold come out of listening to each contribution made.

Leave your egos at the door: When walking into a team project, you must remain humble in the process. There may be times where your point is important enough to fight for, but those are rare times. Pick your battles. Allow others to win. Everything does not live and die on your idea. Value the input of others. Just because it isn’t the way you would do it, does not mean it’s a bad idea. Step away from always putting in your two cents and celebrate the creativity of the people on your team. You will learn to value others, and they will get a win. The path to a goal has many roads. Take someone else’s road with a supportive attitude and win.

Have fun: Now hear us, we believe in a strong work ethic. If you have an assignment, you do everything in your power to complete it with excellence and on time. But it doesn’t have to be a drudgery. Make room for laughter and sometimes even shenanigans. There are too many serious things to face in life without having our jobs be one of them. Laugh, dance, joke, take breaks, go run around the building if you need to. Take a long lunch or go bowling. It really doesn’t matter what level of fun you do; it matters that you are having fun together. Be productive with joy.

What about your team? How are you doing at becoming a unified unit with others, working together to accomplish a common goal? How can you make the experience enjoyable, while getting results? How will you set aside your ego to allow others to step up and take the lead in an area of expertise?

It’s all about relationships!

~ Jim and Jerolyn

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Guest Blog: Healthy Marriages = Healthy Staff

Feb 16, 2017 by

Check out our guest blog on our friend, Dan Reiland’s website.

http://danreiland.com/

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Integrity: Being Loyal

Jan 18, 2017 by

One of our family values is Integrity. It is one of our 6 values that we chose to identify and name for our family, although we were already practicing this value. As a part of the Integrity value, loyalty is one of the key identifiers for us as to implementing and living out this value along with a strong work ethic and honesty.

Lauren, our oldest child who is now grown and married, modeled this so well in her friendships that other friends would literally use this word to describe her.

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