Ellen Wildman holds firm to the belief that everyone is a theologian. She wants to help others feel like the Bible and theology are accessible to them. Ellen’s adult life has been characterized by change, and the Bible has been her anchor to Truth and peace through it all. If you feel tossed by the waves of change today, read more of Ellen’s story below. It’s a grace to welcome Ellen to the farm’s front porch today…
“Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means “the stone of help”), for he said, ‘Up to this point the Lord has helped us!’” 1 Samuel 7:12, NLT
Some fear change. Others love it. Me? After the past year and a half, I hold space for both the beauty and the pain that change can bring.
When I moved to Northwest Arkansas in March 2020 to start my dream job in Bible publishing, I was confident I felt a clear call from God. I packed up my small apartment and my little calico cat, said goodbye to my closest friends, and embarked on a new adventure.
Enter the COVID-19 pandemic. What I envisioned as a season spent making new friends, bonding with my co-workers, and settling in to a new church morphed into a year spent alone battling anxiety and loneliness. One can only make so many Pinterest recipes and DIY crafts. I can confidently say it was the hardest season of my life thus far.
But does the challenge of this season negate God’s calling? Certainly not.
Think about a time you experienced a big transition or faced a significant shift in your life. It may have been an unwanted change or one you saw as good and helpful. Did you wonder how you would possibly get through it?
Whether we view change as positive or negative, it is rarely easy—and it may take a while to find our footing once we get to the other side. Have you ever stopped to look back at the beginning of it all and thought: Did that really just happen? How did I make it through that?
Personally, I can say there were hard moments where I doubted that Arkansas was where I was meant to be. There were moments where I asked God to renew the confidence I had when I made this initial move.
“You too can trust that He not only allowed the journey you took, but He guided you through it and used it for your good in ways you probably aren’t even aware of yet.”
There were even moments where I was too weary to pray and allowed worship music to speak for me.
As I look back now, having recently moved back to Nashville and continuing my job remotely, I’m filled with assurance and a sense of peace.
While the struggle was tough, I see God’s hand, His guidance, clearly both in my move to Arkansas and my eventual transition back to Tennessee. He didn’t waste one moment, and it was all a part of His plan.
He knew where I should be way better than I did and stretched and grew me in beautiful ways as I waded through the deep waters of 2020 and early 2021.
You too can trust that He not only allowed the journey you took, but He guided you through it and used it for your good in ways you probably aren’t even aware of yet.
I’m learning more everyday about how my relationship with God deepened while I was in Arkansas, and the continuation of these surprising lessons gives me peace.
“The more often we remind ourselves (and one another) of how God provides and guides us, the less fear we’ll have about the next leg of the journey.”
As we process all a significant change can mean, one of the most important things we can do is to remember.
Remember how this transition felt in the beginning, how He showed up (sometimes in the least-expected ways), and how generously He guided and encouraged us along the journey.
Many of us have heard the term “Ebenezer,” referring to the stone that was set up by the Hebrew prophet Samuel to commemorate the help God had given the Israelites. Samuel knew it was important not only to express his thanks but to remember what God had done—and to remind His people too.
When we emerge on the other side of a transition, we often forget about the experience and move on with our busy lives. But the more often we remind ourselves (and one another) of how God provides and guides us, the less fear we’ll have about the next leg of the journey.
We know that He has shown Himself faithful and that we can count on Him to be there again.
The story we tell about our journey can be our “Ebenezer.” We can assure ourselves and others that the road ahead will be marked with more altars of remembrance, because He will never stop showing up for us. As the hymn “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” reminds us:
“We know that He has shown Himself faithful and that we can count on Him to be there again.”
“Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Hither by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.”
As Christians, we believe we’re pilgrims passing through this world.
We are headed somewhere unspeakably glorious, but we have good work to do on the way.
Let’s share our stories of how God has guided on the journey, in good times and in bad.
We can all use a reminder that we will never walk alone.
Ellen Wildman is the associate product manager for Bible publishing at DaySpring Cards. She is the product manager for the DaySpring Hope and Encouragement Bible which amplifies twelve indisputable truths about who we are in Christ such as you are known, you are blessed, and you have a reason for hope.
These truths equip readers to recognize and embrace their treasured place in God’s heart. This full-color, wide-margin Bible in the New Living Translation has over 250 DaySpring reflections and 52 full-page devotionals that allow readers to explore and go deeper into the twelve life-changing truths of who we are in Christ.
[ Our humble thanks to Tyndale for their partnership in today’s devotion ]