Growth means change
And change involves risk,
Stepping from the known to the unknown.
~ Author unknown
Few things are as disquieting as transition.
Even when the transition is exciting, beautiful, and joyful—such as a graduation, marriage, or a new job—it’s still hard, unsettling, and messy.
Why is that?
If you read my last post, A Graduation (Times Four). A Wedding. And a Mama’s Heart, you know these past 18-24 months have spawned a series of major transitions for our family. And though each was EXCELLENT, amazing, and wholesome, they were also HARD, unsettling, and messy—especially for me.
As one who struggles to wrestle well with something I can’t identify, I decided to consult Merriam-Webster to discover words to define my unfamiliar emotions. And they didn’t disappoint! In fact, they dropped a bombshell I didn’t expect.
Transition is a change or shift from one state, subject, place, etc. to another.
Or put another way, it’s a period or phase in which such a change or shift is happening.
Did you see/hear the explosion? It’s there, like a beacon radiating off the screen, exposing every fear buried below my emotions.
It’s the word, “change.”
Change is not only at the core of transition, but all of its synonyms as well: shift, changeover, conversion, metamorphosis, transfiguration, transformation, adjustment, alteration, modification—just to name a few.
Now, look at those synonyms again.
Every word possesses the understanding that the change is permanent. It can’t be undone. You can’t go back to what was. Your only option is to march forward knowing some things will be similar, but nothing will be the same as it was before. You have to accept some things will be lost while others are gained.
All of this excited my soul! While at the same time, it grieved my heart.
Because I knew the life I’d cherished and enjoyed for the past 23 years would never be my reality again.
That was a hard pill to swallow.
Understand, I didn’t disparage this, but I did need to come to terms with it. My heart needed to embrace the transition. I needed to relish the change.
But I didn’t want to.
Then, as I reread MW’s definitions, the Spirit spoke to my heart: “Baby, you have a choice. Embrace the change and celebrate it, or fight against it. One path leads to wholeness and joy while the other leads to bitterness and destruction. You choose.”
When you put it that way…
In my spirit, I was determined to obey and embrace the transition with joy, but my flesh resisted.
Willing my arms to wrap around the change was an arduous task. But I did it. Eventually. Little by little, I surrendered until I was able to draw the transition close to my chest and into my heart. Until I was able relish the change.
Once the transition was nestled inside, Jesus began to reveal my boys growing up, entering adulthood, and leaving the nest weren’t the only changes happening. He vigorously yet graciously realigned my focus to expose the changes happening in me!
He started by showing me how the dramatic shift in my boys’ needs places fewer demands on my time, thus enabling me to be more intentional with my schedule. So now, I not only have more quality time with my teenage son and those I mentor; but I finally have the capacity to take Vibrant Relevance Ministries (VRM) to the destination He’s foreordained.
At first I pooh-poohed this. I know, I know…insecurities are ugly things.
However, once I confessed my unbelief and surrendered my fear, Jesus started doing something AMAZING!
He led off by answering prayers I’ve been praying for over FOUR YEARS!
For the first time, He’s revealed VRM’s trajectory AND began gathering a team! The ‘amazingness’ is not only THAT these things have happened, but HOW they’ve happened! (Another story for another time.)
The crazy thing is, He didn’t stop there!
Jesus then exposed how He’d been working behind the scenes long before this transition
- To prepare and strengthen me.
- To give me courage.
- To make me assertive and bold for His sake.
- To give me His vision and confidence to do His work.
He helped me see how He’d been teaching me from His Word and deepening and fortifying my faith. How He’s been refining me and growing me into who He needs me to be to fulfill my role in His plan.
My friend, the Lord’s taken my heart for young adults and turned it into a passion while transforming me into a warrior who will go with Him to the gates of hell to fight for them—and I didn’t even notice that was what He was doing. I was just doing what He called me to do.
Looking back, it makes sense.
Before, my primary focus was raising my children, running a buzzing household, and growing in my faith. I still mentored and intentionally poured into those He brought into my life. I still read, studied, and wrote. But now, with only one teen at home, our household less chaotic. The demands on me are not as intense. Which means, He can use and me and the team He’s gathered to serve and minister to young adults in bigger, more profound ways.
I wish I could tell you my confidence doesn’t wobble every now and again as we’re in the planning stage, but I can’t. However, I can tell you when it does, I choose to remember what He’s already done and cling to His promises.
And I can remember something I journaled over a year ago:
“Change elicits anxiety, worry, and fear of the unknown. But the “unknown” is only ours. To God, it’s ALL known. He not only knows our path, but He holds the entire map of our lives. There are times, like now, when I walk with Him step-by-step, clinging to the back of His robe; concentrating on putting my foot where His had just been. I can’t see in front of me, but I KNOW I’m going in the right direction. There are other times we walk side-by-side, and I struggle to match my stride to His because I can see where I’m going and want to run ahead. But when I do, I either get lost or fall off a cliff.
“Both of these scenarios require faith and neither are easy. Both offer growth opportunities as I wrestle with my flesh. Both expose my desire to control what is not mine to control. And both unearth fear in things that are not real.
“But then there are times I walk by Christ’s side, my arm looped through His, and He escorts me. Those are the times our relationship is the most intimate. I’m fully aware of His presence and trusting Him to lead me well. Matching my stride to His is both natural and comforting because my focus is on Him while our destination is secondary. These are the times our conversations are the deepest and my patience is the most at peace. Jesus, help me to do that more and more. Give me the fortitude to rebuke my flesh and cling to You and Your Spirit as I make a deliberate daily decision to follow you.”
So, where am I now?
With my arm looped through my Savior’s.
My season of transition and transformation has been hard, unsettling, messy—and golden. It has been exceedingly beautiful and vital for me to embrace this new season of growth and adventure.
Did my season of change come with a cost? Of course.
Did it break me? More than once.
But it also provided gifts I never could’ve imagined.
The curious thing about transition is, the tremendous amount of growth that takes place happens alongside the pain, the challenges, and the breaking. You’re not the same person coming out that went in—you are transformed—by the grace and work of the Spirit living in you.
So, my friend, where are you?
Are you in a season of transition? Of transformation? Or both as I was?
Let me share how I made it through to the other side:
- Cling to your Savior.
- Anchor deep in the Scriptures. (I spent a lot of time on the Old Testament, particularly the prophets)
- Pray without ceasing.
- Invited others to pray with and for you.
- Listen to praise music and other solid Christian music throughout the day.
- Always remember Whose you are and who you are because of Whose you are.
- Surrender to the Spirit. It’s WORTH IT!
Until Next time,