“God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
Since the fall of 2017, my life has been a whirlwind of change, trauma, and joy-filled moments. It exhausts me to tally the many things packed into less than 6 years.
In that time I served as a pastor in two different churches, and now am working as a Chaplain at a hospital. I have been blessed with three amazing grandchildren. Our family celebrated the marriages of two of my kids, and a few close friends. I downsized from a four bedroom house to a two bedroom condo. I sold two cars, and replaced one that was totaled when an inland hurricane came through our midwestern state.
Like so many, I navigated and survived the COVID-19 pandemic. Three times I have been able to travel overseas for service, learning and pleasure. Healthcare has been a stressor as I had three different surgeries in that time. It saddens me to share that death has taken dear friends, including my beloved husband.
As I reflect on all of this, I realize the weight of many of these experiences has been pretty heavy. It would have been easy to just give up. Yet I chose to hang on because there were also many joys worth celebrating.
In the midst of this whirlwind, I have learned which people I can truly count on. Discovered which people will stay near to me when the going gets tough. With so much change, it has been important to consider what has stayed constant in my life.
Most mornings, on my way to work, I listen to the public radio classical station. Their tagline is “Music that stands the test of time.“ As I pondered those words (ones I have heard over and over again), it seemed to strike a new chord. It got me thinking about what has stood the test of time in my life.
It was a humbling process. My marriage vows were honored, and it was only death that parted us. Still, I am still here, and he is not. There were the dating relationships I have had in the past couple of years where the men didn’t measure up. My vocation as teacher and then pastor, and the work I have done have had their ups and downs. The friendships that seemed so solid at the time, just seemed to fizzle when hard times came.
It seems that the one constant in my life, for as long as I can remember, is God. God‘s presence, and the promise of eternal life….these stand the test of time.
Scripture says, “God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.” (Hebrews 13:8, CEB) God stands the test of time. As I pause in the midst of a challenging situation or an emotional day at the hospital, I remember God’s never-ending presence. It provides a bit of peace. Many times I even lift up a prayer asking for God’s guidance to see me through the hardship.
At times, writing helps me process the things I am going through. As I spend quiet time with God in the mornings, my heart is opened to God at a deeper level. This poem is the result of my intimate time with God:
"Wounded and Healing"
by Jenny Seylar
My heart is scarred much like a road map
With winding thorofares that were created
By losses deeper than the ocean;
By betrayal darker than a cave;
By abandonment as distant as the moon.
The invisible scars
Don’t define who I really am;
Don’t wave as a flag for all to see;
Don’t become visible except to those whom I can really trust.
Yet, I have discovered direction coming from my scars, for they
Do seem to guide my actions;
Do unhinge me when the waves of hardship crash around me;
Do help me determine whom to allow the scars to be visible.
Some of the scars are deep, and burn with pain, especially
When others don’t handle the scars with care;
When the next loss, betrayal or abandonment bears down on me;
When isolation adds salt to the open wounds.
There is only One who intimately
Knows the stories of each of my scars;
Knows the best ways to address my woundedness;
Knows how to direct me toward wholeness, even amid my scarring.
This Loving One tends to my scars
In order to bring peace and healing;
In a way which transforms my very life;
In ways which are unlike the people providing support in my life.
This One is the same yesterday, today, and always;
Is eternally keeping me close at hand;
Is constantly loving the brokenness in me;
Is ever willing to celebrate my scars.
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT
The world around us is in a constant state of change. Nothing is immune: our health, our relationships, technology, the environment, international relations, and much more. Sometimes the rapid pace of change can leave us feeling disconnected and stressed out, wondering how we can manage it all.
I like the tagline, “Music that stands the test of time.” It is so very true, because the classical radio playlist includes music composed many centuries ago. That is nothing compared to the One who has been around since the beginning of time. Now that really stands the test of time! God the Creator, whose Holy Spirit blows in and through us, promises to BE with us always.
This same Spirit can guide us in our daily lives. Comes alongside in our work, our play, our relationships. It is the Spirit of God that remains steadfast throughout time: “I am the Lord, and I do not change…” (Malachi 3:6)
Change is happening, to be sure, and yet God remains steadfast. So take a breath, rejoice in the goodness all around, and embrace an attitude of gratefulness. Seek to put your trust in the One who “is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
How have you seen God’s presence in your life? I invite you to share below and let me know. I would love to know how you are growing in your relationship with God.
Everlasting God, it’s so amazing to realize that You have been, and will always be, the One who loves us no matter what. Because You never change, it means I can count on You regardless of what is going on in my life. That’s overwhelming to think about, and yet I know it is true. As I look over my life, You are the One who has always been there for me. The One who stands the test of time. Help me to trust that it will remain so for all of eternity. Amen.
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