New Realities

This past week I started my new job. It was a tough couple of days, much harder than I expected.

It was a process of saying goodbye to co-workers and friends from my previous employment so it didn’t really hit me. I remember one of the last things I said before I left was, “It doesn’t feel like I’m leaving. I hope I don’t drive here next week on accident!”

I didn’t. I made the drive in the opposite direction. Kind of symbolic in a way. When I checked in at my new job, reality hit me. Reality caught me with a cheap shot right in the face. I don’t usually feel lonely, but I did that first day. Suddenly it was real, I won’t be back at the church I worked at for the last 4 1/2 years. This was my new reality. Honestly, it kind of sucked.

That day I got home and Emily’s friend was over. She worked with Emily a while ago, but had to leave the island and seek out treatment for cancer. Frequent and on going medical procedures, hair loss, lifestyle changes and permanent impacts on her life were her new reality. I’m certain the adjustment was tough, I just cannot imagine. Here she was, months later, pressing on, keeping a positive attitude in her new reality.

My father had part of his leg amputated when he was in his 20’s. Most people don’t even realize he has a prosthetic leg. Again, how does someone deal with that? How do you go on? He did. He got married, raised children, had a successful career, still went hunting and fishing regularly and accepted his new reality.

So many people are encountering new realities that take an adjustment. Change is inevitable. Sometimes it is as simple as switching jobs, other times it’s drastic, like physical impairments or loss of a loved one. We face the new reality, then we learn to move forward in it.

Have you faced changes recently? What’s your new reality?

The change and challenges may seem insurmountable, but do not lose heart. You will get adjusted to your new reality. Remember also, change is inevitable, so keep looking forward and be prepared for the next part of the journey.

The best path to take is the one that the Lord lays out ahead of you. There may be oppression, there may be deserts, there may be many challenges, but when you know the final plan, it’s all worth it. When you seek the Lord with all your heart each moment of life becomes the reality that leads to one glorious destination. No fault of man, no poor choice, no hurdle of life will keep you from the grace of God. (cf. Romans 8:38-39)

Embrace your new reality and discover the possibilities that lay ahead on the journey. I know for me I will get settled, find my place, and by the grace of God, bring Him glory in my work. Know also that you are not alone, not only does the Lord desire for you to call to Him, but I want to walk with you in the changes of life, the hurdles, and the challenges. In whatever way I can, I will support you in your new realities. -jason

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A Literate Heart

I have the opportunity to volunteer in Kamryn’s class for an hour on Mondays. I have been asked to sit with the kids and walk them through their reading program. There is a broad spectrum of literacy in the Kindergarten class. Some kids are still challenged by sounding out most words, while other kids can read with efficiency and proper emphasis on punctuation. This morning I asked a couple of the kids to tell me what the story was about. Some could read the words fairly well, but at the end of the story they couldn’t tell me what it was about. Reading comprehension is still developing in a few of them.
Literacy is more than just reading the words and we all walk through stages of literacy in many areas of life. Some people have given their lives to a profession to become highly literate in their field. I dabble with small auto repairs, but for larger jobs I would have to lean on the literacy of a trained mechanic. When I consider many things in the world, I can see how illiterate I am. Unfortunately, many illiterate people take to social media and give their opinion in harmful ways. Sometimes it even comes from someone that is completely literate in one field of study, and interject careless opinion into an area they know little about.
We can know basic facts, we can absorb the abundance of information that flows through our electronic devices, but without a deeper understanding of these facts, we are illiterate. We know the words, but we don’t know the story.
We are reading through the Bible in two years at our church. It has been a great experience for many so far. As a staff we are looking at ways to get our church to go deeper into the understanding of the Bible. We can read through the whole Bible, we can memorize verses, we can recite Bible stories, but without understanding we remain Biblically illiterate. Without study and understanding you will not get past the words, to discover THE Word. Teachers and preachers are trained and taught to develop literacy of the Bible, but ultimately the Holy Spirit guides all into the literacy of God’s Word.
Let’s be a literate people, especially with our world of social media and “instaopinion” applications on our phones. Seek understanding. Don’t just read words, know the story, this is the literacy of the heart. -jason
“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” Proverbs 18:2