The Moral of the Story -- Cindy Trane Christeson

'May God's richest blessings be upon you both today and throughout the

year -- and may those blessings flow through you to touch the lives of

everyone you meet.'

-- Gary Smalley

"Last year was full of way too many changes for me," a friend said to

me last week. "Tough changes, hard changes, sad changes. I don't think I

can handle anymore changes in this new year. If I prayed that nothing

would change over the next 12 months, do you think God would answer my

prayer?"

She laughed before she even finished the question. "Obviously I'm just

kidding, but I do wish I could pray that if anything has to change, that

it would only be a change for the better."

"I'd like that too, but I'm afraid that's not how life works," I

answered.

She and I talked about some of the changes of the past year and agreed

that we would undoubtedly face many in the next 12 months.

"I've got an idea, Cindy: How about if one of our New Year's

resolutions is that I will pray for you and you pray for me?" We said a

quick prayer for each other right then, and I know we will do so in the

months to come.

It's interesting to me how many people I have talked to over the past

month about changes of the past year. Besides the obvious September

tragedy that changed us all collectively as a nation, many people have

shared stories of personal change as well. Several of them have hard

times and painful losses in 2001, and are only too quick to move on to a

fresh start.

I've heard about financial disasters, broken relationships and health

challenges. While I shared their sadness, I was impressed with how

quickly each person I talked to brought the subject back to God. After

reflecting on her highs and lows of the past, one friend summed it up

well by saying, "Did I like everything I went through? No, but God was

faithfully with me through it all. He saw me through last year, and he'll

see me though this one too."

I've also been with many friends and family who were eager to talk

about the positive changes of this past year, and I loved sharing in

their joy. Some of the highlights included strengthened marriages, new

grandchildren and upcoming weddings. Again, each person was quick to

thank God for his presence in his or her lives.

I've changed to a new calendar and am already busily writing in many

dates of exciting events and changes that I already know will occur in

the new year. I'm also well aware that there will be changes that I

hadn't planned on happening. That's why I'm going to try to dedicate each

day to God and ask for his guidance before I even get out of bed in the

morning.

Since I know life will be filled with changes, I want my life to be

filled with the presence of the God who never changes.

And you can quote me on that.

* CINDY TRANE CHRISTESON is a Newport Beach resident who speaks

frequently to parenting groups. She may be reached via e-mail at o7

cindy@onthegrow.comf7 or through the mail at P.O. Box 6140-No. 505,

Newport Beach, CA 92658.

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