nancy williams

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Archive for February, 2008

When Life Takes a Turn

All too often, we find ourselves focused on establishing a routine, a pattern for life. We find security in the structure we create. Once it is in place, expectations are set. We assume life will continue on course, just as planned. This pattern is especially prevalent as we begin a new year. However, the reality of change is all around us. It’s in our communities, in nature and in the world at large. We experience transitions in the workplace, at church, in our families and even within ourselves.

Change is a continual part of all our lives. Sometimes, welcomed, other times dreaded. Sometimes anticipated, other times catching us off guard and unprepared. Sometimes subtle, other times significant. It may be as simple as a change in our appearance, or as drastic as the death of a spouse. A new relationship, new job, new home or significant birthday. An empty nest, retirement, divorce, aging parents, or illness of ourselves or someone close. A new responsibility or the close of an opportunity. There are beginnings, and then there are endings followed by new beginnings. At each place of change, we find ourselves at a turning point with life moving in a different direction.

Sometimes we anticipate its arrival and begin to prepare. We organize ourselves, our lives and our belongings, and focus attention on bidding farewell to one season of life as we let go of the past and prepare to embrace something new. We establish goals and develop a plan to approach the opportunities waiting for us as we move ahead.

There are other times in our lives, however, when changes come unexpectedly. We are traveling our journey, assuming we know where the next steps will lead when, suddenly, we find ourselves at a turning point we may or may not have chosen. A life shift. We come face to face with change and realize life will not be quite the same again.

Whether we anticipate it or not, whether we desire it or not, change is indeed a part of our lives. The life road we travel takes twists and turns, bringing us to places of change and we find ourselves at a turning points, times of transition. The path ahead may be clearly marked and we can begin to anticipate what’s in store. Or we may find ourselves at a standstill, in the dark without any sense of direction and not yet able to see how or where to move forward.

Questions abound and emotions whirl in our minds as we wonder how to deal with this transition time and where our life journey will take us next. Will our grief consume us? Our fears overwhelm us? Our self-doubt hold us back? Will our excitement energize us and our confidence spur us on? Where is God in the midst of this transition? Ready or not, change has come and we ask ourselves, “What do I do now, and where do I go from here?”

As we encounter turning points in life, we find losses and gains, positives and negatives, pain and hope. Change involves letting go of something past, something familiar, and reaching out to something new, something yet to be discovered. Questions loom as we search for understanding and direction. Reaching inward, we find resolve and the challenge becomes not if we will change, but rather how we will embrace the life shift and adapt to a new direction on our journey. Reaching upward, we plead, “God, where are you in all this? Please guide me through.”

We may not know what lies ahead for us when change comes, but we do know that God has promised to walk along side us with His love and grace, His guidance and provision. He said if we will trust Him with all our heart and not rely on our own understanding, if we will acknowledge Him in all we do, He’ll direct our path (see Proverbs 3:5-6 in the Bible). As you move through this new year, I encourage you to draw close to God, trust in His promises and then step out with confidence to embrace whatever life holds. And as you do so, may you find joy in your journey.

When Life Takes A Turn

All too often, we find ourselves focused on establishing a routine, a pattern for life. We find security in the structure we create. Once it is in place, expectations are set. We assume life will continue on course, just as planned. This pattern is especially prevalent as we begin a new year. However, the reality of change is all around us. It’s in our communities, in nature and in the world at large. We experience transitions in the workplace, at church, in our families and even within ourselves.


Change is a continual part of all our lives. Sometimes, welcomed, other times dreaded. Sometimes anticipated, other times catching us off guard and unprepared. Sometimes subtle, other times significant. It may be as simple as a change in our appearance, or as drastic as the death of a spouse. A new relationship, new job, new home or significant birthday. An empty nest, retirement, divorce, aging parents, or illness of ourselves or someone close. A new responsibility or the close of an opportunity. There are beginnings, and then there are endings followed by new beginnings. At each place of change, we find ourselves at a turning point with life moving in a different direction.


Sometimes we anticipate its arrival and begin to prepare. We organize ourselves, our lives and our belongings, and focus attention on bidding farewell to one season of life as we let go of the past and prepare to embrace something new. We establish goals and develop a plan to approach the opportunities waiting for us as we move ahead.


There are other times in our lives, however, when changes come unexpectedly. We are traveling our journey, assuming we know where the next steps will lead when, suddenly, we find ourselves at a turning point we may or may not have chosen. A life shift. We come face to face with change and realize life will not be quite the same again.


Whether we anticipate it or not, whether we desire it or not, change is indeed a part of our lives. The life road we travel takes twists and turns, bringing us to places of change and we find ourselves at a turning points, times of transition. The path ahead may be clearly marked and we can begin to anticipate what’s in store. Or we may find ourselves at a standstill, in the dark without any sense of direction and not yet able to see how or where to move forward.


Questions abound and emotions whirl in our minds as we wonder how to deal with this transition time and where our life journey will take us next. Will our grief consume us? Our fears overwhelm us? Our self-doubt hold us back? Will our excitement energize us and our confidence spur us on? Where is God in the midst of this transition? Ready or not, change has come and we ask ourselves, “What do I do now?” And, “Where do I go from here?”


As we encounter turning points in life, we find losses and gains, positives and negatives, pain and hope. Change involves letting go of something past, something familiar, and reaching out to something new, something yet to be discovered. Questions loom as we search for understanding and direction. Reaching inward, we find resolve and the challenge becomes not if we will change, but rather how we will embrace the life shift and adapt to a new direction on our journey. Reaching upward, we plead, “God, where are you in all this? Please guide me through.”


We may not know what lies ahead for us when change comes, but we do know that God has promised to walk along side us with his love and grace, his guidance and provision. He said if we will trust him with all our heart and not rely on our own understanding, if we will acknowledge him in all we do, he’ll direct our path (see Proverbs 3:5-6 in the Bible). As you move through this new year, I encourage you to draw close to God, trust in his promises and then step out with confidence to embrace whatever life holds. And as you do so, may you find joy in your journey.

A Sentiment Designed To Linger

It’s almost here: the day greeting card distributors have been anxiously waiting for. The day when 1 billion cards will be exchanged. That’s right: 1 billion cards, according to the Greeting Card Association. Second only to Christmas (when 2.6 billion cards are sold annually), Valentine’s Day is THE day for sending expressions of love. Cards, candy, flowers, special meals, balloons, gifts, hugs, hands gently clasped, tender words spoken – gestures conveying the stirrings of our hearts. It’s a special day when, as the song says, “love is in the air.”


Everywhere we turn, we’re bombarded with red hearts in all shapes and sizes as we find the air filled with the sweet fragrance of floral bouquets. We hear the giggles of little children exchanging Valentines. We catch a glimpse of two young lovers, savoring a romantic meal as they share the hopes and dreams of their future; then turn to notice the twinkle in the eyes of a couple who has shared many Valentines together. We join last-minute shoppers in search of the proper expression of our sentiments, hoping to find that ‘perfect moment’ to express our love to our special valentine.


Feb. 14 has become a day set aside to focus on love – what it means to have it and how we can share it with others. Although we tend to think of the day’s celebration primarily in romantic terms, it can also provide an occasion to reach out to family and friends, people who hold a special place in our lives. To share out of the bounty of God’s love for us. Not only does he grace us by filling our hearts with his love, he charges us to become his vessels, pouring out that love into the hearts of those around us.


So, we’ve set this special day aside to do just that, share love with others. And yet, that challenge to be a vessel of God’s love, is not intended for one date on a calendar, but for each day of our lives.


Oh, I know we realize that in principle. We mean well. Even the greeting card distributors recognized that need and now have expressions of love and well wishes for any day. The cards are there. The need to express that sentiment is there. It just seems the pages on the calendars of our busy lives turn so quickly. We focus on the tasks before us and don’t stop to think about the people in our lives that need a special touch of that love. And, not just on special occasions.


Then we talk to a friend or co-worker who has lost someone close and we’re reminded that we need to seize the moments before us while we have them. We hear their cautionary words: “Don’t miss an opportunity to express love. You just don’t know what your future will hold. Make time and give attention to those people who hold a special place in your life.” They’re right: we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Oh, we have good intentions about how life will unfold and relationships will fit in.


“When I get more ahead in my job, I’ll slow down and spend more time with my family and friends.”


“When I’m not so busy…”


“Once the dust settles…”


“When I’m not so tired…”


“I know I need to…”


“Someday…”


How important it is that we capture the opportunities to express love to those around us. Our love can make itself known in many ways – not just with a card, a gift, a kiss or a hug, but also with kindness, patience, gentleness, compassion, unselfishness, honesty, forgiveness, endurance. It shows up when we smile, when we offer a helping hand and when we give our time and attention. It’s even expressed when we take care of ourselves and become a healthier partner, parent and friend.


May we let the sweet aroma of this season of love linger in our hearts and minds as we take time to celebrate God’s amazing love for us and then share it with those around us – each day.


Happy Valentine’s Day

A Sentiment Designed to Linger

We’ve stepped into February and it’s almost here: the day greeting card distributors have been anxiously waiting for. The day when 1 billion cards will be exchanged. That’s right: 1 billion cards, according to the Greeting Card Association. Second only to Christmas (when 2.6 billion cards are sold annually), Valentine’s Day is THE day for sending expressions of love. Cards, candy, flowers, special meals, balloons, gifts, hugs, hands gently clasped, tender words spoken – gestures conveying the stirrings of our hearts. It’s a special day when, as the song says, “love is in the air.”

Everywhere we turn, we’re bombarded with red hearts in all shapes and sizes as we find the air filled with the sweet fragrance of floral bouquets. We hear the giggles of little children exchanging valentines. We catch a glimpse of two young lovers, savoring a romantic meal as they share the hopes and dreams of their future; then turn to notice the twinkle in the eyes of a couple who has shared many valentines together. We join last minute shoppers in search of the proper expression of our sentiments, hoping to find that ‘perfect moment’ to express our love to our special valentine.

February 14th has become a day set aside to focus on love – what it means to have it and how we can share it with others. Although we tend to think of the day’s celebration primarily in romantic terms, it can also provide an occasion to reach out to family and friends, people who hold a special place in our lives. To share out of the bounty of God’s love for us. Not only does he grace us by filling our hearts with his love, he charges us to become his vessels, pouring out that love into the hearts of those around us.

So, we’ve set this special day aside to do just that, share love with others. And yet, that challenge to be a vessel of God’s love, is not intended for one date on a calendar, but for each day of our lives.

Oh, I know we realize that in principle. We mean well. Even the greeting card distributors recognized that need and now have expressions of love and well wishes for any day. The cards are there. The need to express that sentiment is there. It just seems the pages on the calendars of our busy lives turn so quickly. We focus on the tasks before us and don’t stop to think about the people in our lives that need a special touch of that love. And, not just on special occasions.

Then we talk to a friend or co-worker who has lost someone close and we’re reminded that we need to seize the moments before us while we have them. We hear their cautionary words: “Don’t miss an opportunity to express love. You just don’t know what your future will hold. Make time and give attention to those people who hold a special place in your life.” They’re right: we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Oh, we have good intentions about how life will unfold and relationships will fit in.

“When I get more ahead in my job, I’ll slow down and spend more time with my family and friends.”

“When I’m not so busy…”

“Once the dust settles…”

“When I’m not so tired…”

“I know I need to…”

“Someday…”

How important it is that we capture the opportunities to express love to those around us. Our love can make itself known in many ways – not just with a card, a gift, a kiss or a hug, but also with kindness, patience, gentleness, compassion, unselfishness, honesty, forgiveness, endurance. It shows up when we smile, when we offer a helping hand and when we give our time and attention. It’s even expressed when we take care of ourselves and become a healthier partner, parent and friend.

May we let the sweet aroma of this season of love linger in our hearts and minds as we take time to celebrate God’s amazing love for us and then share it with those around us – each day.