As Christians we talk about being made new when we receive Jesus as our Savior or recommit our lives to him. In truth, most of us hold so tightly to our baggage that we end up being more mended than recreated. I have struggled with this concept myself over the last year. I know certain things have awakened in my spirit. Behaviors and attitudes have changed. Things are so different in my life that I can hardly believe it. But am I really made new?
Today I was speaking with my son, Colton. He has been through a lot in his life. He is only 21, but he has experienced far more than a man of his age should. That was a result of his choices and our reactions to those choices. (If we wanted to spread guilt, there is plenty to go around.) I have written in this blog and posted on social media in the past that I was not a great mother. I could not forgive myself for the mistakes I made that impacted my boys. When Colton called me today the first time, I realized just how much change had occurred in my husband and myself.
For starters, this time last year our son barely spoke with us. None of us had a lot of positive things to say, about anything or anyone. Today he called me three times, just to check in and let me know he was okay. (He was probably a little bored too, but that is still impressive for a 21-year-old.) I listen to my husband encouraging him. He let Colton know that he was proud of all his efforts to pull his life together. My son sounded happy and a little anxious. (Today was his first time flying.) Then as we talked about other matters, I witnessed the true essence of being new. Colton said he was hoping for the best and planning for the worst. In unison, my husband and I told him not to do that. Joe encouraged him to approach things looking for the good outcome.
Our Brand Was Crisis
Let me explain. Joe and I were survival mode people from the day we met. We were always facing a crisis big or small that had to be dealt with. Our motto for living was hope for the best, plan for the worst. We spent so much timing planning for the bottom to drop out that it almost always did drop out. Where you treasure is, that is where you find your heart. Crisis was not a treasure, but that is what got all our attention. Whatever heart we had was waiting for the next hurt or disaster to arise. I listen to KLOVE all day. I believe it is Levi Lusko who speaks that “hurt people, hurt people and healed people, heal people.” I saw that difference today in my husband and I. Instead of dictating advice we lovingly encouraged out son. We react to crisis differently now. This year our tax return went to cover a still disputed debt, we shrugged our shoulders and rested in the confidence that God would provide. Sure enough, today a bonus I was expecting ended up being 30% more than anticipated. (hallelujah!!!) The thing is even though I talked to God about financial concerns, I was not worried. Our essentials were covered and tithe was paid. It would just be tight for a while. Then God blesses us for being faithful.
Joe and I expecting good things is a massive change in the way we think and speak. Our relationship is so much stronger than before. That newness in our hearts and newness in our relationship allows us to be better parents. Our last child will leave the nest all too soon. He has big plans for his future. Plans that I honestly believe are going to change once he completes the mission trip to Cambodia. He may not become a full-time minister, but I see him taking on a leadership role in the future as he matures in faith. I can see it in him and I believe the men he will be traveling with are going to make a huge impact on his life.
Just as I see a larger ministry role in Devon’s future, I see his older brothers coming closer to God. I see Colton successful in his career and personal life. I see Vincent maturing and discovering his place in the world. I see Cody being successful and hopefully wrestling a few less sharks in his future. I am no longer plagued by the guilt of everything I did not do right. I did what I thought was best and my children KNOW that I love them.
So when you hear someone has been “Made New”, do not ignore it when you see them stumble. New thoughts and actions generally do not happen over night. There is a process so that our tiny human minds can grasp a measure of what God has done in our lives. I am thankful that God made me new a year ago. I am thankful for the spiritual growth that has occurred and that continues to occur. I thank God that my husband and I love each other more today, than the day we married. We have so much to look forward too. If bad things happen or plans fall through, we will roll with it. We are not planning on bad things to happen. We are seeking, speaking and receiving the promises God has for us and for our children.