â€œNewâ€ things can thrill usâ€”a new pair of shoes, a new gadget and if it\’s the Price is Right, â€œa new car!â€ But more often than not, â€œnewâ€ means change and sometimes change scares us. I can relate.
When I graduated college as Marketing Student of the Year with a 3.75 g.p.a., it was expected that I\’d venture into the corporate world to â€œfinally make some real money.â€ â€œOk, off to get a real job,â€ they said. I guess that would explain why some family and friends scratched their heads when they heard my post-graduation plans. I had accepted a $24,000/year salary to move from Ohio to Nashville, Tenn. to work as both Editorial and Marketing Assistant at Gospel Today magazine.
It wasn\’t â€œin my fieldâ€ and I don\’t think it qualified as â€œreal moneyâ€ but is was the fulfillment of a life\’s dream. I\’d grown up with and watched God build a magazine from a four-page newsletter that we hand-folded on our tiny living room table in Fort Lee, New Jersey. By some act of God, Gospel Today had become a real, live business that touched thousands of people! Plus, I would be working alongside my mom, Dr. Teresa Hairston who was (and still is) one of my biggest sources of inspiration. The move would bring me closer to my then sweetheart, now wife, Kristy. It would be great! But, my plan was short-lived as Dr. Hairston soon announced that Gospel Today was moving to Atlanta.
â€œAtlanta?â€ That was definitely not in the plan. It was farther than I\’d ever lived from my biggest supporter, my Dad, and I didn\’t know anyone there. This change was unwelcome and scary but Atlanta turned out to be a great blessing, exposing me to a greater level of achievement than I\’d previously seen and introducing me to people who are mentors and dear friends to this day. â€œOk, Atlanta it is,â€ I thought.
Unlike me, God is never One to settle. Just two years later, He put a stirring in my heart to go back to school. â€œOk, off to get my M.B.A.â€ I resigned. After all, that\’s what my Dad had done and that was my plan too. Well, if you\’re tracking along with my story, you can guess that things didn\’t turn out that way. While watching a documentary on law student turned monk turned Reformerâ€” Martin Lutherâ€”the Lord made it clear to me that I was to pursue law school. That had never been in my plan and was a definite change from what seemed to make sense given the fact that I had no desire to be a practicing attorney. But what I did have was peace and a pictureâ€”a vision God had given me about why He was sending me to law school (I can\’t wait to share it with you during our â€œ40 Days of Changeâ€!).
Law school was quite the journey! I started with no kids, no mortgage and lots of free time but all of that changed after just a few months in school. Navigating a full-time job, a growing family and more month than money, was hard and I\’m not so sure I did it well. Every month seemed to add a new hurdle and for what? After all, I wasn\’t going to be the next â€œJohnnie Cochran.â€ But, as the saying goes, â€œHindsight is 20/20.â€ After graduating law school and passing the Bar Exam, I can see that one of the great benefits of that experience was that it changed the way I think.
Perhaps this New Year finds you in the middle of major life changes. Please join me in this prayer today:
Father God, I know that You are good and that You only do good. I also know that You are sovereignâ€”You are in charge and in control. I ask that You will give me the grace to trust You during this season of change in my life. Even when I cannot trace Your handâ€”to see where you are leading meâ€”I can always trust your heart, that you love me and cause all things to work together for my good. Thank You Jesus for dying for my sin and making the way for me to come back to the Father. Thank you for the Holy Spirit who comforts, leads and guides me, even in the midst of change. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.