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May 13, 2012

counting the cost of change

It is a bright and beautiful day. Summers always take a long time to arrive in Alberta, but when they come, they come. By that I mean, they come with glory. I am on my porch, soaking in rays here. Maybe for one of the last times.
There are a lot of "last times" right now. I shoveled the walk at 10540 for the last time (not as long ago as you may think!). I mowed my lawn, for the last time. Weeded at 10540, for the last time. Some of the finality makes me happy; yard work is not my cup of tea. But some of the finality makes me sad. I don't look forward to the last Bible class with my sweet children who've brightened my Sundays for four years. Or the last walk by the river with a close friend, or the last camping trip to the Rockies before The Move.

Maybe I'm melodramatic. There are a lot of "last times" because right now there are a lot of changes. There are the biggest changes, which I instigated by deciding to move. But there are the little changes too: the unexpected moving date, an extra expense, an awkward relationship that causes emotional stress, or a cancelled opportunity. I approach these changes with mixed feelings. 

I'm changing jobs. On Friday, I told the boss that I'm leaving the job I've had for almost five years. Things felt different, even coming home from work, walking through the gate, up the porch steps...after I told the boss I'm leaving. This job has been a framework of my life for a long time. It has been the force that decided my schedule, my holiday time, my wage. Soon, it will be gone.

I'm changing housing situations. If things go according to plan, I'm going to be living in diverse places for the next six months or so, and out of a duffel bag for part or much of that time. I'm excited to travel, to see people I love, to move to a new continent... but I also like to have my own space and do my own thing, so this could be challenging.

I'm changing physical locations. This move is the biggest I've ever made, geographically. I'm going literally to the other side of the world. That, in itself, is an enormous change. Am I excited? Yes. Am I nervous? Yes. Sometimes when I bask in the silence around me, even in the middle of the city, I'm reminded that that is something that will soon be gone. There will be lots of adjustments.

I'm changing host cultures.
I'm changing languages. 
I'm changing churches.

Because I am single, I sinfully use this as an excuse to dwell on feelings of loneliness in all the changes. I tell myself that having a human to walk through this season of change by my side could be helpful. But that is when I remember, that there's one major thing I'm not changing:

I'm not changing Gods. 

"For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end." (Psalm 48:14) "He knows the way that I take..." (Job 23:10).

I stopped writing this blog post to head to church for a special meeting. The most striking sentence in the sermon was this one: the element that is most missing in the North American church is sacrifice. We give, but out of our abundance. We serve, but with our spare time. And this is why we don't see the church taking huge leaps and bounds into victory—because we aren't willing to pay what it costs. He spoke of some of the personal sacrifices that God had called him and his wife to make, and reminded us that reimbursement from God was more than worth it all.

I thought of this in relation to me, to the things I'm struggling with. I thought of a quotation I saw a few years ago, "Are you content to offer Jesus that which cost you nothing?"

As excited as I am about this opportunity, these changes are costing something. So I carry this truth with me: He is (completely and utterly) worthy.

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