A few months ago I was sending text messages with a dear mentor and friend who lives all the way on the other side of the world from where I am, but this friend is so good at continuing to track with what's going on in my life and my heart so when we get the chance to talk it's as if we saw each other last week. I'm blessed and grateful to have such people in my life. On the occasion that this phrase came up I was beginning a new teaching season with new students (hoping they would enjoy the curriculum I've developed and feeling a bit nervous about so much Khmer speaking after a 3 month break from teaching!), had just started working with my new personal assistant (and was praying that we would build a good rapport with each other), my good friend and roommate for the past 2 years had just made the decision about going back to America (and I was already missing her and trusting that God will provide either a new roommate or that He will help me get everything He has for me out of a season of not having a roommate) and I was beginning to drink deeply from the Truth of my identity in God's kingdom like I never had before (which has come with some heavy resistance from the enemy...).
I was typing things like this, "It's just so new and I don't know what to expect and I'm scared and I feel so out of control and I don't know how to do it right and I want to go back to the way things used to be but not really and I'm still scared..." I was more uncertain about things than I've been in years. I found myself up against GIANTS that I'd never had to face before and it left me scared, desperate and in need of God's voice like I've never been before.
"It is new. It is all so new and unknown." my wise and sweet friend replied, "and... it is good, too".
And during the pause after I read those words my spirit was able to calm everything else in me. Because when we feed our spirit Truth then it can do what it was made to do which is live fully alive, in abundance, dependent on Him to guide and give peace that surpasses all understanding. Romans 8:5-6, "Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what the sinful nature desires; but those who live according to the Holy Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Holy Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace."
"...and it is good, too." Yes. It is. Everything God does is for His glory and our good. I remembered, then, some of the other seasons of "new" I've come through with God and was able to see that now when I look back on those times I can recognize how He was glorified through them and how they benefited me in growing closer to Him, continuing to become more like Jesus and being able to trust Him more and more and more....
Fast forward to right now, today I had that phrase cross my mind a few times...
-God is using people in my life to show me what His love looks like in ways I've never ever experienced before... it's new and it's good because I'm recognizing Him in ways I've never seen Him before and as I see His love through them and am able to call it love and not pity it flows to some deep, deep places in me that have never experienced His love and I am changed, I am healed and I am filled with the fruit of His Spirit in those places.
-Some deep, deep wounds are being healed by God's love... it's new and it's good because as wounds receive healing I can walk in confidence, in freedom, in joy-those things reflect His glory and I like them a lot!
-Another season of not having a roommate has begun... it's new and it's good because I'm learning even more about what community with others looks like and what communion with Him looks like.
-I've begun a season of replacing some old things (spiritually, emotionally, even materially) with new ones... it's new and it's good because I want all He has for me so I'll let go of the old (okay, reality is that sometimes I'm very reluctant to let go, pray for me that my grip gets looser) and receive the new.
-Upcoming plans to visit America are different then they've ever been during the past 7 years... it's new and it's good because I'm discovering more and more about how to take each little step with Him instead of having to have the whole thing planned out in my mind.
-The church that I not only attend but also work with has just moved into an incredible new location! There are so many opportunities to build relationships with people who don't know Jesus yet and it's going to be lots of fun to watch God's plan unfold in that place. It's also a totally new physical environment that I cannot navigate on my own and in reality probably won't get to a point where I can simply because of things that move every hour like motos, people and plastic stools in the aisles. Me and Jesus are finding the good in this part of it too because I know He has good in every part of my life.
And.... Here's the part where I take a deep breath..... This needs to be my new "normal". The one thing that is going to stay the same forever is God. He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). As long as I'm following Him, committed to hearing His voice about decisions I make, then I can be confident that every time I face something new it will also be something good. I can be confident.
We. Can. Be. Confident.
Things are new and they're really good.
Things have been new and they've been so good.
Things will be new and they'll be even better.
And, I'll keep reminding myself of His goodness in the past so I can go forward with confidence. I'll keep letting His love reach the places it needs to (and I'll keep learning to say "sorry" when I'm not so good at it...so I can actually receive what He's giving through His family), I'll keep fighting for the Truth and I'll humbly receive help when I need it.... Because I know that God will help me in ways that will probably be new but will certainly be good.
What about you? Is God doing anything "new and good" in your life? Keep your heart open so you can look for the good and find it when He reveals it. God always does good things but, maybe it's not new, maybe you know His ways; and every time He responds in the good way you know He will it's a sweet reminder for you of who He is....celebrate those things, my friends, celebrate them!