If you’re like me, as the current year winds down, we begin searching for the perfect planner. We stock up on cool highlighters and maybe even calligraphy pens to ink down our plans in style, set goals, and press into the future with hope. With the impending turn of the new year, we plant seeds of hope in preparation for the change that will inevitably come.
We exist in a world of constant change. Change promotes growth. Growth brings pain. Pain builds strength. These elements of change are the ingredients in a transition. We play a big role in how the recipe turns out.
Certain transitions for me have been harder than others. Moving from my childhood home to setting up life with my new husband was another tricky loop in my timeline. Moving from the control I had in my singleness to being permanently linked to another human. Being the mom of two children after only being the mom of one for a while was incredibly challenging (and exhausting) for me. Navigating multiple overseas moves. Launching my babies out into the big and often bad world. Weathering particularly challenging seasons of marriage. I’m sure your life has yielded similar tales.
One thing I’ve learned through my years and tears is to give myself grace for at least one year after navigating a major transition. When my marriage was failing, I needed space to breathe. When we moved overseas, I needed space to breathe. When our children left our home, I needed space to breathe. I learned this from all the years before of forging through, staying too busy, foregoing rest and not taking in the life-giving elements that were necessary for navigating the endings and new beginnings. Change promotes growth. Growth brings pain. Pain builds strength.
During seasons of change, the waters below rage fiercely as we walk across the bridge from the life we’ve known to another packed with potential but also the reality that we could lose our footing and fall in. We simply must offer ourselves grace in the space and take it slow.
The Koru, one of my favorite Maori symbols, depicts new life, growth, strength and peace. It illustrates the unfurling of a silver fern frond opening up from its tightly clenched ball as it begins to breath in new life. I have such a great fondness for the Koru that I have one in the shape of a heart tattooed on my arm. This image permanently inked into my skin gives me hope in my transitional seasons.
2017 has been a year of transitions for me and our family. My wise sister once advised me to write down all of the big, heavy and hard. She said that the list itself probably wouldn’t change my crazy but I would at least be able to see WHY it’s all so crazy.
Owning our crazy is a great first step to navigating transitions. (tweet this)
This year has brought an international move (after only one year from the last international move), launching our last child and becoming empty nesters, turning 50, turning up the heat on menopause (literally), and a job position change that has my husband and I navigating a long-distance marriage for an indefinite period of time. Not to mention that this job change has me doing a lot of settling in to our new house, new city and our country-living lifestyle alone. This is the stuff of crazy, y’all!
At times, the current of 2017 has threatened to suck me under but I’m happy to report that I’ve weeble-wobbled myself across the bridge and find myself still standing. I remind myself, however, of the “grace in the space” rule. I’m not taking on too much too quickly. I’m resting. I’m breathing. I’m growing.
Our 3-year-old grandson is a brave and adventurous one. This is evidenced by how haphazardly he tramples down a set of stairs. By adult mandate, he places one hand on the rail and the other in mine. He joyfully hops his way down not looking to see where his feet are landing. He must know that if he stumbles I will catch him and keep him from tumbling down. I remind him to look forward and to be careful but my primary focus is that he gets to where he needs to go.
As I walk across my “bridge”, I keep one hand on the rail and the other in God’s hand as he guides me across. Unlike my grandson, I step bravely and slowly forward. Because I’ve lived longer and know the ache of the fall. God reminds me to look forward and to be careful but His primary focus is that I get to where I need to go.
Bridging transitions is all about taking the next step. And then the next. (tweet this)
Two things we need to know and believe when we’re navigating transitions:
1. You’re Going to be Okay! – This book by Lysa TerKeurst is amazing! It was written for children but the message in it has been so encouraging to me lately. I think you’ll agree.
2. Jesus never changes but He changes everything. – While everything around us changes, Jesus is a firm foundation. His presence is key to staying grounded while successfully reaching the other side.
I hope you’ll stay tuned in as the Bridging Transitions series continues. I have some incredible guest bloggers lined up who are generously offering hope and encouragement for us all through sharing about their times of transitions.
Can you see how the transitional seasons of your life afforded growth and strength? What is your Koru story? Share here in the comments or pop over to the EPFH Facebook page if that’s easier for you. Also, if you wouldn’t mind, share this post so others can be encouraged throughout this series. Thanks, friends!
Join your fellow pilgrims as we walk each other Home.
Read more from this series:
Bridging Transitions – Part One by Andrea Stunz
Bridging Transitions – Part Two by Dana Herndon
Bridging Transitions – Part Three by Courtney Ellis
Bridging Transitions – Part Four by Ellie
Bridging Transitions – Part Five by Andrea Stunz