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A few years ago, Steve and I made an epic trip to Italy with our friends Martine and Rick. We were determined to "do it our way," and amazingly, we spent 16 days living out of carry-on bags, crisscrossing the whole country, and seeing everything we had hoped to see with a few bonuses thrown in.

One night, however, stands out as being less than perfectly successful. We had arranged to meet the wife of a missionary who was serving with her family in Rome at the time. We followed her instructions for getting from our hotel to the rendezvous point and made it without a hitch. Wires got crossed. The rendezvous didn't happen, and we started making our way back. Somehow, we either got on the wrong subway or got off at the wrong stop. In any case, we walked out of that subway station to completely unfamiliar scenery. It took a lot of hand gesturing, questioning, and map retracing, followed by blocks and blocks of walking on empty, discouraged, nervous stomachs before we finally spotted our hotel. Huge relief!

Fast forward to the present. Steve and I have thought a lot about a sermon we heard one time entitled, "What to do when you're on the wrong bus." We have realized in recent months that we somehow managed to board the wrong bus and need to get on a different one. Never fear. Our marriage is rock solid. Our children are all doing well, and we're both doing work we enjoy. But, in a critical area of our lives, we believe we need to make a rather dramatic change.

This week I talked to a lady who recently sold her thriving business on Main Street in Hartselle and opened a totally new place across from the hospital in Decatur. Rhonda Morris was the owner of Cahoot's Cafe serving lunchtime comfort foods amid hundreds of her personal vintage collectibles of every description. She sold the cafe "lock, stock, and barrel" to a couple from "up north" (Chicago, maybe?), and they've changed the name to Eatin' in the Attic. A month ago, Ms. Morris opened Two Fish and a Toad. The look and vibe of the place are completely opposite from what she had in Hartselle. Furnishings are sleek and modern. There is a large dessert case, along with a case full of prepared foods to take home and reheat. She serves salad plates, soup and a sandwich, or hot lunch specials to dine-in customers and is open from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. When I asked about the unusual name, one of the "fish" told me that Ms. Morris (the self-proclaimed toad) had a dream one night about -- what else? -- two fish and a toad and decided that was the quirky name she'd been searching for. Ms. Morris needed to make a change. She was on the wrong bus and wanted to try the route of another bus.

It's unnerving to change. For us, it follows hours of conversation, prayer, and tears. But now that the decision has been made, we actually feel invigorated and excited. This change won't be easy or comfortable. It will throw us into a new environment and force us to adapt and make new friends. It seems fitting, though, to make this change when the seasons are changing right before our eyes. As we grow older, we may protest loudly and flail against the changes as we feel our bodies endure the realities of aging. Our children start reaching their mid-40's or 50's (how can that be?). Our grandchildren, who were once giggling toddlers, are now moody teenagers with maturing bodies and voices that keep getting lower and lower.

Whether we like it or not, everything around us changes, EXCEPT Jesus. Hallelujah for that immutable reality.

Hebrews 13:8 -- "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."

God is with us as we change. He's with us when we make changes. Sometimes the changes are unwanted. Other times changes are necessary.

Are you facing changes that you don't like?

Are there changes you need to make but haven't been brave enough (YET) to make them?

Ecclesiastes 3:1 -- "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:"

Isaiah 43:18-19b -- "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!"

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