Everything is Changing … Well, ALMOST Everything

Never before has my life changed so drastically in just one month. It’s enough to make your head spin, and it’s hard to keep up.

2o_ecej0dZXLEG9XRy_LQo63iEQMQCSHZiufZI33ixr0WAePk0LZ08LcJQ1ZF-Ub0M4Mey0_MX4ZbLim-zbl57Nq1qlDn_ut5K74sqIupR1YbaUjA4c3eULm8bdvrXJq-4AWEaVNUvQv7Huaj5fVRyry905JOh8l6vxpqwwedDvT1pN-f95YnmbmTdMqGxKLe4DAXiemjHTaEdFD49TvjKYtwgwEThe changes began four weeks ago with the birth of Judah, our second grandson. He arrived a couple of weeks earlier than planned, which gave us more time to get to know him before moving last week from Southern California to Prescott, Arizona. We had five days to settle into our new high-desert home before flying to Washington for our daughter’s graduation from Moody Bible Institute two days ago. We returned to Prescott yesterday, and tomorrow will be my first day in the office at our new ministry at Heights Church.

In the last 30 days, radical changes have come into the lives of every member of our family. Happily, they are all welcome changes. But even welcome changes bring stress.

In the midst of all the adjustments, it’s surprising how much it matters to me that I am no longer a Californian. I was born and raised in California, met and married my wife there, and we spent most of our adult years there (it feels strange to type “there” instead of “here”). Even while we were living in Cameroon and France, I would gladly refer to myself as a Californian. It was my identity – and it isn’t any longer. That truth impacted conversations last week in Spokane: “We’re from the Los Angeles area … well, we WERE from California, but now we live in Arizona.” Though we are eager to embrace our new lives as Prescottonians (what a cool word!), the loss of that California identity matters more than I expected.

Fortunately, the most significant parts of my identity remain stable. I’m still a husband, and a father, and a grandfather – distance may limit the ability to enjoy those hats, but it doesn’t remove them. I’m still a Pastor, and am eager to continue in that role in a new setting, as part of a new team.

And it’s comforting to know that the most significant part of my identity will NEVER change. By faith in Jesus Christ, I am a child of God. That was true in California, it was true in Africa and Europe, and it’s true in Arizona.

It will be true wherever we go. I am a child of God forever. Nothing will EVER change that, because it doesn’t depend on me – it’s His work. The phrase “I used to be a child of God” will never cross my lips. And when so much is changing, it’s reassuring to know that I can still walk through life with God as my Heavenly Father.

The apostle John describes it powerfully and emotionally in 1 John 3:1 – “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” It was good of the translators of the NIV to include exclamation points, because the idea deserves them. “Me! Us! We get to be called children of God! And it’s not just a label – it’s true!”

Yes, a lot has changed. And I have no idea what this new life will bring. But that’s OK. It really is.

You see, my Father was waiting for me here – we had a good time on a Sabbath Hike today. He’ll be waiting for me in the office tomorrow. That will never change, no matter how many tomorrows may come.

I like that. I hope you do, too.

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About Sabbath Thoughts

My name is Mike Gaston. I am a former missionary, a Shepherding Pastor at Heights Church in Prescott, AZ, a happy husband, a spoiled father of two daughters, a proud grandfather, and a recently-convinced pursuer of the benefits of intentional, regular, contemplative, Christ-centered rest. This blog will allow me to share thoughts about Sabbath, as well as thoughts about God and the Christian life that come out of my restful Sabbath moments.
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10 Responses to Everything is Changing … Well, ALMOST Everything

  1. Penny Burch says:

    Hi Mike, thank you for sharing your Sabbath walks as they are so encouraging. I love that you remind your reader that we are Gods children..we ARE His children no matter where we are are what is changing in our lives. Welcome to Prescott and may our Father bless you always.


  2. Jerri Rowley says:

    Mike, Deep in your Heart, you will always be a Californian. I will always be a Texan, even though I only lived there 7 years. When you were born here, lived most of your life here, it never changes where you come from. May God continue to keep you and the family in His Loving Hands, no matter where He wants you to be in your ministry life. Don and I miss seeing you on campus, but know that there is more for you to do. God Bless You and Murf as you travel this new road.
    Our Love to You, Jerri

  3. Laura Davis says:

    Thanks for sharing these thoughts. I feel for you. Life changes are hard–especially when they come in bunches. And it’s true, you’ll always be Californian in your blood. But I’m happy for this new adventure and challenge before you. Life does move on! Just remember how much you are loved! Hugs to you and Murf. 🙂

  4. Debbie McKean says:

    I’ve been waiting for your first thoughts since the move. Thank you for sharing. Your words are comforting and we still share our identity even though some of them have changed. Our love and blessings go with you!

  5. Ken Royer says:


    THANKS for continuing the Sabbath Thoughts! We MISS you in California! If your travels ever bring you through Fresno, we’d love to break bread together!

    Loving greetings,

    Ken for Mary too

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