Change: ‘to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone.’ Lately I’ve been thinking about the power of this one simple word. The reaction to it is not always the same; some people thrive off it of it, others fear it. The one constant is that the person being faced with change will not be the same at the end of it.
I’ve always been one of those who enjoys change. In college, I was the master of it! In my 4 years of college I changed my major 7 times, lived in a total of 8 different residences and had 9 different jobs. After college I continued my love for change by pursuing 3 different careers moves before finding my ‘home’ in photography. Once I met Joe though, things started to change (no pun intended!). I began to enjoy stability and grew to find comfort in midst of routine. Life was good. Comfortable. Predictable. And we were happy :).
Back track 4 1/2 years ago. I was in my senior year of college and was looking to change churches (go figure!) when I heard about a little Christian church called Praxis. I didn’t know it at the time but this church was going to change the course of my life. I remember walking in that first night to a sanctuary filled with maybe 75 people and wondering if this place was for me. That night I met Joe; the first of many blessings to come from this place. I continued to attend Praxis as God began doing a work in me. It was there that the gospel took hold of my heart like never before. It was there that I saw community being lived out like I had always hoped for. Over the years we watched this amazing place grow from a tiny church in the middle of a neighborhood to a mutli-campus church that is now serving all parts of Arizona now as Redemption Church. We love this place. It’s become part of our constant. This church has a piece of our hearts and so do the people who have grown to become our church family.
So I thought I loved change but I realized that’s only partly true. I love change when I am the one who initiates it but not when someone else decides the change for me. Last week we found out that our lead pastor and friend who has been with Praxis since the very beginning is moving to San Francisco to plant a church. Joe + I sat silently as Pastor Justin told us the news. I can only compare it to the feeling you get when you are being dumped but you had no idea it was coming. BAM! Change was coming our way and there was nothing we could do to stop it! In those first moments of processing, I realized that our emotions were being driven by fear. Plain and simple, we were afraid of change. And I think that is normal. The thing is I don’t want to be normal; I want to be more like Jesus. And He is teaching me that change, especially unexpected change, is a beautiful thing. Because while routines can be nice, it’s through change that we grow.
Last night at church I couldn’t help but get emotional. I looked around at the PACKED congregation and thought about how far ‘Praxis’ has come from that first night I walked into the tiny neighborhood chapel. So many lives are being impacted by the gospel because Pastor Justin listened to the call to initially plant a church in Tempe. While looking around at the congregation I thought about how many lives are going to be changed soon in San Francisco. I thought about the girl who might walk into whatever tiny building they find in San Francisco; maybe she’ll be like me. Maybe she’ll meet the man of her dreams, and more importantly maybe she will be transformed by the gospel. I am overwhelmed with joy thinking about how good God is and how He is right there with us through times of monotony and times of great change. And I feel like I can honestly say once again that I do love change, even unexpected ones…
I took this image of my friend Erin while she was battling cancer. I wanted to show the courage and freedom she had while facing this unexpected change in her life. May you experience the same freedom as you embrace the changes in your life.