The Messy Middle of Change
I am in the middle of transition … the ministry that I lead is in the middle of transition … my husband is at at the end of a huge transition … even this faithful blog that has been published every Thursday for the better part of a decade is in the creative throes of an extreme make-over!
Call it what you wish … transition … change … remodeling … make-over … re-invention … adjustment … or switch … it is still maddening!!
I don’t know about you but when I experience transition it rips and tears at the very heart of my being.
Will anything ever be stable again?
Will I make it through the violent waves of this unending storm known as “change”?
Will my life ever connect with solid ground again?
What was I thinking when I agreed to this gargantuan change?
Is it too late to “change” my mind and go back to the equilibrium that was peacefully mine before the reconstruction?
Change comes at us from many different forces and from various motivations. It can be self-induced or it can be driven by the decisions that others have made.
Transition can be joyously welcomed or defiantly resisted.
Change can be forced upon us unexpectedly or it can be achingly longed for year after unchanging year.
Even an abrupt adjustment can be slogged through or danced through … it’s up to you.
My husband and I decided last year to transition our church to younger leadership. We had planted the church and had pastored it for 10 glorious years. It was a place of restoration and of purpose for us.
However we heard the voice of God whisper to our hearts, “It’s time for a change.”
So … we obeyed. What else can you do when God speaks?
We enthusiastically passed our church to a vibrant couple who are like a son and daughter in the faith to us.
We put our family home on the market that same month.
Craig has taken a job with a missions’ organization that plants churches and trains young pastors in unreached places on the globe. (I can’t even tell you publicly where these churches are so delicate is the information.)
His job necessitates a move to a mid-western city where the organization is headquartered.
In August of 2017, just two months after the house went on the market, I had the last surgery that completed my battle against cancer and its ugly remains. Two days after my surgery, Craig left for India for a month.
He was home for 2 days and then he moved to Oklahoma. I am staying in Buffalo, NY, while we wait for our home to sell. We see each other about once a month as we embrace this interesting season in our life together.
Let me just be vulnerable with you for a minute … I have never desired to become an expert on how to handle transition. I am the type of woman who would be so happy to live in the home that has been in my family for generations.
I would have loved to cooked decades of family meals in the same kitchen that my mother and grandmother had graced.
Oh! How I would have enjoyed watching my childhood friends raise their children and then delight in their grandchildren.
There would have been something so satisfying about sitting in the same church pew that my dad had worshipped in.
But that is the not the road that the Father has chosen for me.
“For to whom much is given, much will also be required.” – Luke 12:48
As I linger over the lessons that I am learning during a season of exciting but difficult change, I’d love to share just a few of my perspectives with you today.
First of all, if you are in a season of change, keep your eyes fixed steadily on the One Who never changes.
While the waves of transition are tossing and turning every single detail of your formerly undisturbed life, keep looking at Jesus!
I have often said that although God never changes … He certainly loves change!
We serve a God who loves to stir things up in a believer’s life simply so we put all of trust in Him and not in our temporary circumstances. What a brilliant and miraculous way to corral our hearts to His tender care!
Secondly, frame your change with hope not with worry.
I could absolutely buy real estate at the address of “24/7 Worry” during these first calendar days of 2018.
I could be worried about our finances.
I could embrace anxiety concerning what will happen to this ministry that has flourished and thrived in Western New York.
I could be in constant emotional anguish over our home and choose to be irritated that it hasn’t sold yet.
I could choose those responses but I choose not to choose those responses!
I choose none of those things.
I choose to frame my life and this vicious transition with hope, faith and joy!
Everyday that has been given to me by my Father was meant to be a day of joy and I will settle for no less … even when my pathway is obscured by the fog of transition and change.
Every unknown circumstance is an opportunity for me, a beloved daughter of the most High King, to trust that His ways are higher than my ways and that Father knows best.
I choose hope when the winds of upheaval toss and turn the stable life that I have built for myself.
And finally, I have decided to “name my change”.
When you “name” something, you are taking ownership of it. When you give something identity, you are saying, “This belongs to me!”
Rather than resist change and refuse to acknowledge its very existence, choose to embrace it and give it a glorious and meaningful identity in your life.
The name that I have chosen to give to my current season of change is, “Miracle Joy”!
What a great name, right?!
I believe that I am going to see miracles before my very eyes during this season of my life. I know that I know that I know that the joy that I am experiencing will also give me strength for the murky days of ahead of me.
So change … bring it on! I am up for you, change! You don’t intimidate me one iota!
Change - you are a miracle in the making and you are delivering a grand opportunity for joy!
Thanks for listening to my heart this week. As you know by now, my heart is truly not a perfect heart but it is a heart that is filled to overflowing with gratitude for the life I have been given and for the people who walk with me. And, it continues to be a heart that is relentlessly chasing after God and all that He is!