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On the Cusp of the New

Never before has the angst of transition hung heavier on my heart. Never before has that angst been buoyed by such deep hope. We are on the cusp of a new year, a new decade, a new season. And for LeRoy and me, a transition we never saw coming.

As we close the calendar page on 2019, it comes with a heavy loss. LeRoy’s father passed away just twelve days before Christmas. We were thankful to be with him, in his home, to tell him goodbye and spend moments praying for him in his final days. It has been a sobering and sorrowful season.

The year closes with LeRoy seeing some improvements in his mobility, but always struggling under the pain. He moves his leg like dead weight and pushes himself ahead, but the pain wears on him continually. Your prayers for his health are such a tangible form of blessing to us.

The year also closes with many unknowns ahead. The one thing we do know—our life is about to look much different.

Last summer, I shared with you that, because of his illness, LeRoy stepped down from pastoring our precious church family. And I asked you to join me in praying about this season of transition—moving from serving as a pastor’s wife (for almost four decades), to caregiver, and now to financial provider. It is a most unexpected role for me.

My dear friend, Aileen, suggested that I set up an online “counseling” service and I spent several weeks last summer exploring that option. As I’ve investigated that, and asked God to confirm His plan for this season, it seems that He would have me continue what I’ve been doing for years: discipling women. I’m not a licensed counselor or a professional therapist. I’m simply a woman who has come alongside other women, for decades, to walk with them in hard places, listening with an open heart, and sharing the truths and encouragement I’ve learned from Scripture and life experience.

What would doing that as a vocation be called?

There is a popular occupation today called “life coaching.” It involves helping people achieve certain goals and develop action plans for personal growth. I’ve never been a fan of the term “life coach” but as I’ve investigated what one does, I’ve found that it’s similar (in form) to discipleship. The major difference is that life-coaching seems to focus on the individual’s potential to accomplish goals based on human effort alone.

In biblical discipleship, spiritual growth and life-transformation is accomplished by applying the truth of God’s Word by the power of the Spirit. That’s what I hope to continue helping women to do—but now, it will be a little different because I’ll be doing it as “online discipleship.” It will be an online service where I will have live interaction with those who might be struggling in their marriage, may need help in dealing with the pain of loss, living as a care-giver for an ill loved one, or just need some personal instruction for spiritual growth.

For almost forty years, it’s been my joy to serve the body of Christ this way, but it’s never been in a professional context, and certainly not for a fee. All of this is quite uncomfortable to me—to consider receiving financial compensation for helping women who are in need. But for now, this is the direction that God is giving, and I’m asking you to pray for me as I take the first tentative steps forward.

To help me in this process, my precious friend, Carolyn, is traveling today more than a thousand miles to spend this week with me, helping develop a new website and prepare this as the business: Life-Change Consulting Services. I’ll be sending you more information soon and hope you’ll share with others who might benefit from this endeavor.

Back in October, when I was seeking God, asking for clear direction, He graciously used this Scripture for that confirmation:

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:10)

This is the Scripture that He confirmed as my spiritual focus for 2020. Not only is this the confirmation for beginning this consulting service, but it is also what I’m asking Him to do for those who reach out to me through this online business. I’m asking for women who reach out to me for help, who may be struggling with loss, who have been hurt, or are enduring deep pain, who desire to grow spiritually or see their marriage thrive—to receive comfort and hope from the God of all grace, and be restored, confirmed, strengthened, and established in Christ.

And I’m asking you to join me in praying for God to be glorified through this new work.