I was realizing the other night how different I am from the woman I was in high school, or college, or even the childless version of myself, or the kind of employee I was when I started working. It's strange--and comforting, though there are people to whom I wish I could say, "Look! I'm different now!" or even, "I'm sorry I hurt you."
From what I've experienced, some of God's greatest tools of change in my life have been suffering and waiting. But I'm now seeing that another powerful tool is long, slow obedience. Motherhood, for example, has been slowly changing my selfishness and impatience to perseverance and long-suffering. Ministry partner financial development brought courage from one of my biggest character deficits: fear of man. There are a lot of these tools that I'm now understanding, even in the midst of their pain and frustration.
It reminded me of an old story of a man who God asks to push a massive rock. The man pushes for hours, then days, then years...and to make a long story short, the rock doesn't move a millimeter. The man is anguished by his lack of progress, feeling foolish and angry. But then, God gestures to the man's new self in the mirror: After his daily labors, he is lean, muscular, perseverant, patient--strong. After all, the plan was less about the rock, and more about what God was doing in the man.
If you're in a long, slow obedience, may God lift your head today.