Change Can Be Bitter Sweet

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy;

for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves;

we must die to one life before we can enter another.

~Anatole France

In The beginning:

Jon- Hey hunny, there’s an opening at my old church in Brownsville.

Me- Oh, that’s nice dear.

Jon- They have never had a full time Children’s Pastor before.

Me- Huh. Well that will be nice for someone.

Next day:

Jon- What are your thoughts about the position at my old church?

Me- Oh, I don’t really have any. I mean, we’re good here, right?

Jon- Well, would you at least pray about God’s will?

Me- Sure, get all spiritual on me …

The following day:

Jon- Did you get anything from God?

Me- Um, go and be blessed?! Gesh.

A couple days later:

Jon- I talked to the Pastor.

Me- Well, why did you do a thing like that?  (I’m just keeping it real here people)

Jon- I just wanted to talk to him. Have you been praying about Gods will with this new position?

Me- Honestly? Um, I’ve been busy. But I’m good here.

Me (again)- What about my writing here?

Jon- You can write in Brownsville, can’t you? And just think of all the great blogs you can get out of this!

Me- What if I just stay here and write fiction?

True Story~

Truth be told, I knew the possibility of God speaking to me. It’s happened before. And I really wasn’t ready to think about the fact that God might be done with us here. I mean, I was practically living in the Promised Land. One night my husband approached me, and asked me to seriously pray about this because he felt very strongly in his heart that God was done with us here and was moving us on. His eyes were watery and there was almost an urgency in his spirit. He knew he couldn’t change my heart, and that any move we would make, we would have to be 100% united. I had to hear from God myself on this one. As I began to cry because the reality was setting in, I promised I would really seek God and pray about this. And I did. And within about 2 days, a peace overcame me about this next chapter in our lives. And as I wrestled with God over this life-changing event that was about to take place, He showed me a few things that I needed to deal with in my own heart. I was so focused on me that I couldn’t see God’s plan for our family and for the little lives He wanted to touch through us.

My conversation with God sounded something like this: “Lord, people travel from all over the world to visit Colorado. I live here!” “Every run and triathlon and bike ride a girl could ever want to do is right here in my backyard!” “My writer’s group- I’ve finally found a really great group and I love everything about it. I’m learning so much and love the people there.” “My church is amazing. Love the people so much. Really, love the people we work with.” “Lord, the trails and mountains yet undiscovered.” “And my girlfriends here are amazing. I finally found some friends that love me for being me, a place where I can just be myself.” Okay, so you can see where this is going. There’s a lot of ME in there! God couldn’t move my heart until I moved out of the way. And I did.

So here I am, knee deep in boxes, with stuff literally scattered all over my house (not a pretty sight, I promise). My kids have been in their pajamas for a few days, I can’t remember when they’ve had their last bath (or meal, lol). I too have turned in the clock for packing. Although I would love to spend my summer taking them to the pool and on adventures, we are on a serious time crunch. You see, the summer is also, as children’s pastors, the busiest time of the year for us. We are smack in the middle of camps. 2 weeks of VBS, and my husband also has a few events planned for our CORE group. And he’s also officiating his brother’s wedding in a couple of weeks in Minnesota (which we are all going to).

Here are a few of the lessons God has taught me along the way regarding change:

  1. Change is inevitable- If you are not experiencing any change ever in your life, you are probably dead, (sorry).
  2. When God is doing a new thing, you can either fight Him on it and cause delay in that change or you can embrace change with an adventurous spirit and say, “let’s do this Lord”. Either way the change will occur if it’s from God. It’s just a matter of when. (Hopefully it doesn’t take 40 years!)
  3. Take it one day at a time- When you think about all that needs to get done, it can be overwhelming. Today, I will do what needs to get done for today. Matthew 6:34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
  4. Ask for help– This has always been a hard one for me. My aunt Patty encouraged me the other day. She told me to go ahead and ask a few girlfriends to help with the kids so I had about 5 solid days to focus on packing. And it was so hard to ask for help! Why is it hard for us women to ask for help? I think it’s because we try to do it all on our own. But that’s not how God created us to be. And we don’t want to inconvenience anyone. God created us for community, to be there for each other. How can someone be there for you, if you never give them the chance? But you do have to be specific in what you need. Don’t expect people to read your mind, and then get offended because they weren’t there for you.
  5. Allow your kids to express their feelings– Whatever the change, your kids will go through an adjustment period also. If it’s a new job for mommy, your time will now be less with them. Or you might be more tired than normal. You might need to make a few special dates with them so they have some things to look forward to. If it’s a move like myself, they will go through excitement and also sadness. I have allowed my daughter to grieve the loss of her dearest friends while encouraging her that God will bring new friends. Remember how scary change can be for us as adults, the unknown can be even scarier for them. And I encourage you to pray with them regarding God’s faithfulness. He is always good.
  6. Do not neglect your time with God during a transition– You may be tempted to put your Bible reading and prayer time on the shelf, so you can get everything done. DO NOT DO THIS! If ever you needed to hear from God, it’s when He’s doing something new. If ever you needed to rely and depend on His strength, it’s now, not later. Trust me from experience. He will redeem the time. Time spent with Him is NEVER wasted.

“But seek first His kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Matthew 6:33

I entitled this post “Change Can Be Bitter Sweet” because while I am excited about the new things ahead at the church, and being near to family (sweet) I must also face saying goodbye to those who I will forever carry in my heart (bitter). The adjective for bittersweet is:  pleasant but tinged with sadness. And that is where I am. I know myself well enough to know that even though change is hard and I do sometimes fight it, that God’s will is always good. I get in my comfort zone, and sometimes just want to stay there. But I have realized through all of this some wonderful little nuggets: (1) Wherever I go, God is with me and nothing will ever change that. My relationship with Him can only get sweeter (2) Whatever we do, or wherever we may travel, our family will always be together (3) Stuff is just stuff! I have been purging so much stuff and it feels so good! Although I like cute stuff in my house, they will never replace people and relationships!

So as my tagline is on my personal blog and in life, wherever this road may take you, pursue God and His plan for you, don’t stay in your comfort zone, and Enjoy The Journey!