Whether you are moving through big life changes or hoping for small improvements in your marriage, every day is a chance for new beginnings.
Here in the North Georgia mountains, every sunrise greets us with a different display of God’s handiwork. Some mornings it’s a kaleidoscope of brilliant colors painted across the horizon, as in the photo above. Some mornings, a glorious fireball creeps slowly into view. Occasionally, as happened over the weekend, we awake to a snowy winter wonderland landscape. Other mornings the clouds roll in and we can’t see more than a few feet beyond our deck, completely masking our usual panoramic view.
Each morning heralds a new beginning.
Our Recent New Beginnings
Lately, for us, life has been full of new beginnings.
Last Friday was my last day at the company I have worked for since leaving graduate school. Thirty-eight years at the same company is unheard of these days, but my time there afforded me a variety of work and allowed our family to enjoy financial blessings and a sense of stability. The new beginning of retirement is bittersweet, but I sense that the Lord’s timing is just right. I’ll miss the many colleagues and friends I’ve made around the world over the course of my career, but I know with as much certainty as one can have that it is time to move to the next phase of our life. (Jenni retired from teaching a bit ahead of me.)
A few months ago, in anticipation of my pending retirement, we sold our home in the suburbs of Atlanta and moved to our mountain home in North Georgia. Again, the timing of the move was clearly in God’s hands, but it was well ahead of the schedule we had in mind. It was a turbulent and sometimes emotional Fall as we rushed to pack up, needing to sort through and down-size the 28 years’ worth of “stuff” we’d accumulated in that house. The new beginning precipitated by our move is also bittersweet. Jenni especially misses the many dear friends and is making an effort to maintain connections where she can. We miss the many conveniences of metropolitan life. And we are still periodically making the 90-minute drive to attend the church we’ve called home for more than 20 years. Yet we know without a doubt that God provided this home for us. (Read Stuck in the Mud for the back story.) Despite the occasional inconveniences of rural life, we are thankful for the opportunity to slow down and live a less-hurried life. We are thankful for new friends, as we meet our new neighbors.
An Open Invitation
The colorful display of this morning’s sunrise reminded me of the opportunities presented to us by new beginnings.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
New beginnings are an open invitation from the Lord to experience anew his endless love, to receive his tender mercies, and to trust in his faithfulness.
If you’ve experienced some significant life changes lately, as we have with retirement and our move, I’d like to encourage you to see it as an opportunity for a fresh start; a new beginning full of hope and possibility. It’s perfectly okay, and even necessary, to acknowledge the losses that often accompany big changes, but as you grieve, press into the heart of God and receive heaven’s perspective on the way ahead. It’s bound to be full of love and mercy and better than you dare to ask for or imagine (Eph 3:20). God is that good and that faithful.
Big changes can be really hard on your marriage relationship. We’ve certainly experienced significant challenges in our marriage as we’ve negotiated these last several months. Open communication and finding small ways to stay connected are essential. It’s also critically important to express what you each need in the current season and to be gracious toward one another in meeting those needs as best you can. Know that God is for you and for your marriage and that he is with you every step of the way.
Each New Day
If no big transitions have come your way recently, there is still an opportunity to embrace new beginnings each day, as the passage from Lamentations reminds us.
If there are improvements you want to see in your marriage, let today be the day it begins. And let it start with you. Breathe in the love and mercy of God and breathe it out on your spouse and marriage. Let today be the day you start the habit of thankfulness, of speaking encouraging words to your spouse, of giving small expressions of love and kindness, regardless of whether it seems they are well-received or not. Let today be the day you step off The Path of Separation and onto The Path of Intimacy.
Retirement and our move have presented us with a new beginning for Heaven Made Marriage as well. We ask for your prayers and feedback as we seek the Lord for the way forward in this new season. Pray that we will hear clearly from the Lord as to the best way we can support and encourage marriages. Let us know if have a topic you’d like to see us tackle through our blog, newsletter, or YouTube post.
Here’s to discovering and enjoying the new opportunities God gives us each day!