The Challenge of Change


Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. –Joshua 1:9 NLT

It’s been a rough start to 2018.

Me and Rascal
July, 2017

On Jan. 2 we arrived home from a weeklong visit with our daughter and her family in South Carolina to discover one of my two kitty cats had crossed the Rainbow Bridge. 

I was devastated. Rascal was my little buddy, keeping me company during DH’s long workdays. When I worked at the computer, she’d curl up at my feet. In the evenings when I crocheted, she’d hop up onto the pillow-like arm of my cozy chair. Many times I’d be watching TV and realize she’d snuck onto my lap.

She slept on top of the covers at my feet, the perfect foot warmer on cold winter night. When I took my Sunday afternoon nap, she often stretched out beside me. She didn’t mind being cuddled, as long as it was a brief cuddle. I loved to rub my cheek over her soft, silky fur.

Then my 33-year-old son informed us he and his girlfriend were no longer together. I really liked her, too. I thought for sure she’d soon be a member of the family.

This past week my three grandchildren moved from the house they’ve called home since they were born – the house my husband grew up in, the farmhouse his ancestor built on land he homesteaded. The house next door.

My heart is breaking. Watching the swing set come down. Realizing I won’t see lights on in their rooms, knowing they’re home safe. No more watching them play ball in the backyard, swing on the swing set, walk in the lane after school. No longer will I pick them up at the bus stop on rainy days or watch the youngest when he’s home sick.

Even more changes lie ahead. Retirement. Our oldest grandson going off to college.

Change is a part of life. No, let me rephrase that: Change is life. Life is change. And the older we get, the harder it is to cope with. How do we deal with change?

Remember the 4 A’s:

ACCEPT: face changes with calmness and grace. Remember God is in control and will work all things for good (Romans 8:28). Remember Abraham. Remember Joseph. Remember how faithful God has been to you throughout your life. Remember Paul and his thorn in the flesh: “Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’” (2 Corinthians 12:8–9 NLT)

ADAPT: fit yourself into the change. Ask God for wisdom, strength, and courage. Once again, remember Paul, who wrote: “I have learned the secret of living in every situation. . . . For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:1–13). 

APPRECIATE: cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Be thankful for what you had in the past and what you have now. “In every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, AMP) 

ANTICIPATE: look forward, not backward. As Paul wrote, “I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead” (Philippians 3:13 NLT).

Facing change? Remember, you are not facing it alone. God is right there with you, giving you all the strength, wisdom, and courage you need.

Help me, Lord, to forget what’s gone, appreciate what remains, and look forward to what’s up ahead. Amen.

Read and meditate on Ecclesiastes 3:1–11.

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.


That’s for the Birds!


Ah, my cardinal! I love to watch all the birds, but the cardinal brings a special delight and joy to me. He often is accompanied by Mrs. Cardinal, whose brown body and rust-colored head doesn’t attract predators. They take their turns at the feeders, with one waiting on a branch nearby while the other feeds. Here he’s waiting until the sparrows leave.


 Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. –Matthew 10:31 NKJV

Ever since our daughter gave us a birdfeeder for an anniversary present, DH and I have become avid bird watchers. Two feeders and a suet cage hang from the big red maple tree in our front yard, close enough that we can enjoy watching the finches, juncos, chickadees, blue jays, woodpeckers, nuthatches, grosbeaks, wrens, and cardinals take their turns.

It’s amazing how different they all are! Their colors, sizes, shapes, sounds, and behaviors all are unique and distinct to each of the nearly 10,000 species.

This Baltimore oriole was one of three that stopped in for a visit on May 7, 2014.

Imagine my delight when I spied three orioles one spring day. They must have just been passing through because that was the only time I saw an oriole. Another time a northern mockingbird, also a rare sight, alit on the branches.

During the summer months, a hummingbird feeder hangs on the back deck. How we enjoy their antics, especially when they buzz the deck, chasing each other. Did you ever notice how long the hummingbird’s beak is? It’s longer than that of other birds – long enough to extract the nectar from deep within a flower.

The rose-breasted grosbeak is an infrequent visitor, so spying one is a delight.

Other birds, I learned, also have beaks suited to their way of feeding: The short, thick beaks of the grosbeaks and finches enable them to crush hard seeds. Foliage gleaners such as warblers and vireos need their long, thin beaks to pluck an insect from a leaf. Birds that feed from the ground have pointed beaks that can pierce the soil.

Then there are their feathers. Ever notice how birds fluff up during the winter? They do it to trap tiny pockets of air that will hold in body heat and keep out the cold.

And did you know birds’ bones are hollow? That’s to make them light so they can fly.

A Baltimore oriole perches on a branch above an American goldfinch.

Before Jaime got us the feeder, I knew next to nothing about birds. Now I stand in awe of their Creator. He must have had a blast at creation!

Which brings me to another fact about birds: God not only created them, but they belong to Him: “I know every bird on the mountains, and all the animals of the field are mine,” God says. “For all the world is mine and everything in it.” (Psalm 50:11, 12).

He knows them intimately and cares for every detail of their lives:

“Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them.” (Matthew 6:26 NLT)

And again: “What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them.” (Luke 12:6 NLT)

The red-bellied woodpecker likes to peck beneath the bark for insects.

Why all the hype about birds?

Because if God so cares for these feathered creatures, don’t you think He cares for you?

You’re not a nameless face in the sea of humanity. You are a unique creation of God Himself. He knows you intimately and loves you unconditionally.

Listen, again, to the words of His Son, this time to the entire verses:

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?  Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?” (Matthew 6:25–26 NLT)

And again: “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:6–7 NIV)

You are worth so much God sent His Son to take the punishment for your sins so you could be in heaven with Him forever. Jesus died for you. That, and the fact that you are “awesomely and wonderfully made” (read Psalm 139) – unique, special, loved, wanted by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Feeling down on yourself? Worried about stuff? Don’t be.

God knows your name. Indeed, He has engraved it on the palm of His hand (Isaiah 49:16). And that’s NOT for the birds!

Thank you, Lord, for the birds that remind me of how very much You love me. Amen.

Read and meditate on Matthew 6:25–27

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.