While They Serve
By Edie Melson

On the Altar of Change

Today's guest blogger is Ginger Harrington.

Twenty-four years as a Marine wife has brought frequent moves and many adjustments. The Marine motto Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful) is sometimes jokingly changed to Semper Gumby–the need to be Always Flexible. For me, moving has been God's training tool for learning to embrace change.

Moves become bearers of change as the outward trappings of life are whisked away. With the arrival of the moving truck at our new home, the inventory is checked, the unpacking begins... and life goes on as change moves in.

Ginger Harrington in the middle of unpacking!Yours may not be a military family, but embracing change is a lesson for all–it's a part of every family and every life, regardless of where we live or what we do.

Accepting change is my offering to God: So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary lifeyour sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around lifeand place it before God as an offering… (Romans 12:1, The Message).

...even if He chooses to pack my life up on a moving truck and ship our family 4000 miles across the globe.

But sometimes I resist surrender. Something in me keeps snatching back an aspect of my life off the altar of surrender–areas I still want to control. I wait in faith as God helps me feel at home, find a church, make friends, get kids connected, and so on. But too often I wait with anxious awkwardness. Too often I push and strain against acceptance.

This is the unease of one who has jumped off the altar, who is struggling in spirit to rest and trust God in the middle of change.

When I truly place my life before God as an offering, I can let go of the desire to get everything worked out the way I want. Waiting with faith, I embrace what He has for me in the midst of change. I abandon resistance.

Romans 12:1 continues, embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.

Embracing the changes God brings into my life is also the best thing I can do for me.

In our last move, I sensed that God spoke to my anxious thoughts: Submit to change. He was telling me to stay on the altar and let Him do something new in my life. We cannot fully experience the benefits of change without first letting go of what has been left behind.

Whether or not I embrace the changes God has brought into my life, they are here. Embracing God's plan, cooperating with faith and grace, is the obedience of remaining on the altar.

Through the sacrifice of resistance and control, I place myself in a position that frees God to do His greatest work in me, transforming me from the inside out–address change and all!


Ginger Harrington is a career Marine Corps spouse and mother of three young adults. She knows the challenges miltary families face. As a writer and speaker, Ginger encourages others to discover practical ways to go deeper with God, an emphasis evident in her blog, Ginger’s Corner: Where the Spiritual Meets the Practical.  

You can also connect with Ginger on Facebook and Twitter.

She writes for The Navigators Military, 5 Minutes for Faith, and More to Be.

Edie Melson is a leading professional in the publishing industry. She also knows what it’s like to send a loved one off to war. Her oldest son went from high school graduation, to Marine Corp boot camp, to Iraq; where he served two tours fighting on the front lines as an infantry Marine. Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home When Your Soldier Leaves for Battle, is Edie’s heart project. Look for her two newest books for military families debuting in 2014: While My Son Serves and While My Husband Serves. You can also connect with Edie on Twitter and Facebook.

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Your Comments (7)

Great post--God and the government provide more than you will ever need. You are very lucky to be the dependent of a Marine. As the mother of a single, military member, I have no support, no compensation, no travel allowance, no benefits, and no communication! The ONLY thing the DOD will give me is a casket. My child is as dear to me as your husband is to you, but I am worthless to them.

How I can relate, Ginger! I've been in my new home for a little over 2 years and I wasted God's new opportunities by spending time on my altar instead of worshiping at His. Praise Him for the turn-around!

The young family across the street recently moved to N Dakota and I'm so thankful that I can pray for her out of my experiences.

Thanks for great reflection and encouragement, Ginger. Wrt staying on the sacrificial altar (and not crawling off each day) I was struck by an image of wanting to crawl off the Rom 12:1 altar and up onto the throne of our lives where we know Jesus alone should sit... but we too often supplant!

Great post. You had me at Semper Gumby. I'm just about to move and will remember your good words.

Good luck with your move. So many transitions involved with moving--stay flexible!

I love how Ginger always connects faith to real life practical application. I am in the midst of change in a new area, new state-opposite side of the country from most family-and it is my tendency to push into over-committing. This post is such a great reminder that God will guide me and it is His timing. Awesome as always, Ginger!

Many blessings to you in your new home. Along with the challenges of change there are so many blessings! On of those blessings is a season with no outside commitments, which can be so refreshing.