Probably two of the words of the English language which I have disliked the most.
I think I have always considered change to be bad. Lately I figured out why that might be. Most of the changes in my childhood seemed to have been bad or scary ones. Many deaths, and family situations which were less than desirable. It made me avoid change all the time. I’ve avoided change at every turn. I’d rather take the road more traveled every time.
But God is trying to teach me that change doesn’t always have to be bad. Has it taken me this long to figure that out?
There have actually been many changes in my life which were good. Marrying my husband. Having my two wonderful sons, for instance. God’s even taught me that change through very tough and demanding situations can turn out to be blessings in the end. The fact that I got Tinnitus in my ears was an awful change, and later it required a total about face for me. I had to take early retirement from teaching and it was so shocking and abrupt. But after I got over the initial shock and hardship, I realized that retirement enabled me to seek out some life dreams and try some new things. What Satan meant for evil, God turned it into good!
The latest big change of moving from my “dream house,” was a long grieving process for me. My husband was ready to move from there years before I was. He was ready to downsize and be closer to town. It was a long couple of years for me. I prayed and pleaded, bargained and avoided. It often took me into deep emotional places of sorrow about the change it would require.
God has been working on me in the last few years. Bible conferences drew me in deeper into His heart. Bible Study Fellowship has taught be so many basic truths of the Bible and made me think deeply. The writing conferences inspired, taught, and frightened me. Often when alone, I fell on the floor in total desperation about all the life changes I was experiencing. I cried out to Him on long walks in the country around my property. Thoughts and memories of shared dreams in that home would flood me with an overwhelming sense of pain. Sometimes it was actually joy. It might have been relief at times.
Loving the kids but hating the work of teaching. The long days, the weekends, the summers I couldn’t enjoy because I was always thinking of all the work I should be doing. The emotions were all over the board. I felt crazy at times. What was wrong with me? Why wasn’t I happy that I could now be home? Most people would love to have my situation. It was implied that I should be happy because I had half my life in front of me.
Well, the fact that my sons were out or almost out of the nest when I was finally home, brought on a whole other realm of guilt. Why now God? Why couldn’t I have been home when they were young and I wanted so desperately to be an ‘at home’ mom? Why do I have to have this hearing problem and not be able to enjoy being in large groups of children and adults like I used to? I can’t sing and enjoy music as much now, because I’m not even confident that I’m on tune. I can’t hear myself well. Why do I have all this time now-I feel so useless and old. My body was giving me hassles and changes of life were aggravating. My feet never gave me troubles when I walked on hard concrete floors for 27 years, and now I can barely walk?
So many questions and so little answers. I searched for what I was supposed to do. Kid’s Hope, Barnabas Ministries, Hospice, GEMS, Released Time and telling bible stories, Women’s ministry, music, blogging, writing… countless other things…
I felt a special calling to writing so I tried to get that off the ground with a manuscript and a blog. But insecurities and procrastination, sickness, cleaning house, and anything my scattered brain could think of, would always take precedence.
Best friends would pray. They cared and talked with me when they could. But they were working. They had things they needed to do. Often loneliness would overtake me.
I didn’t know who I was. Trying to figure out my next steps in life. I was supposed to be happy that I was retired early. I was supposed to be appreciating the freedom. I wanted to. I knew I should. And I really did at times. I just couldn’t figure out who I was supposed to be now. It was a totally new season of life that was thrown at me very abruptly without warning and frankly, without a friendly goodbye either. It just came out of nowhere and sideswiped me. A little like a car accident does. It was a sudden incident and then it was like sitting in your car in complete silence wondering if you were alive or hurt.
It took my physical body a couple years actually to adjust. Doctor visits were way too common. Emotionally I needed help and I am not ashamed of it now. Financially, the Lord provided for all of our needs and way beyond. But so much change. And remember- I hate change.
My hubby was a strong rock for me. He had a difficult time understanding at times. Any human would. I was not an easy person to live with. Change was so hard for me. My body was acting up all the time. Anxiety blanketed me many times. I didn’t have many friends. The people my age were almost all working, had their life all figured out, or were busy with their families. Older friends were nice, but I didn’t have much in common with them either. I didn’t know where I fit in.
The volunteer paths I tried never seemed to lead anywhere. Maybe the next thing would be “it.” I knew I had always enjoyed writing since I was young. Maybe I could do that. When I attended a writing conference I felt so inadequate and compared myself to others. Church activities came and went. I didn’t feel I was doing what I was meant to do.
So now I’m in the middle of a big change. We suddenly sold the house in November and had to be out the day after Christmas. It was a whirlwind of giving, throwing away, and packing without time to think. But…we didn’t have our next home picked out yet. God provided and we found a home by a series of interesting events and in His perfect timing.
It wouldn’t have been the timing that I would have chosen. But it is His perfect timing. We are living with generous relatives. I am learning that what Jesus said, “IT IS MORE BLESSED TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE” is so very true. Having people in our home for short or long periods of time was such a blessing to me. Now being on the other end of this is difficult for me.
But now…we are beginning to dream again. My husband and I. We bought a home but have not “closed” on it yet.
So we have CHANGED.
And we WAIT.
We’re excited about the new home we will move to. He provided way beyond my dreams again.
The last day we were at our old home, I closed the door. Hubby was waiting in the garage. I took one last look and closed the door resolutely. I had prayed over every room again, as I had every time we had a showing to sell it. When selling, I prayed to bless each room, and that His will would be done.
But this time was a little different. I prayed in every single room that last day in a different way. I was sad, but I prayed that the family that was going to move in, would be blessed, have peace, and be happy there. That their family would be joyful. That their marriage would be strong and their children would grow up in the Lord. Knowing the family was a Christian family made it a tiny bit easier. Knowing that the three children would enjoy the pool and gullies and huge property brought me some peace. I could almost hear their giggling.
A rainbow of promise one morning this fall.
Giving up my sunroom to a woman who said she would totally enjoy it brought some softness to the process. I loved that room. So many prayer times in the chair, on my knees, and on my face. So many seasons to enjoy from the 180 degree view of the trees was a blessing. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter. It marched on in glorious grandeur in a marvelous display. That was proof that change can be beautiful.
God met me there every morning and sometimes late into many many nights of writing, talking with friends, scrap-booking, reading and making goals and resolutions. Sleepless nights would call me there to pray. It was a sanctuary.
First the CHANGE.
Actually going back to this home after only two weeks because a Fed Ex package arrived there. Ringing the doorbell at “my” home and standing inside the front door and taking in the changes. I got through it. It was not so bad. I grieved leaving that home before and during the process. That day brought some nervousness and a couple tears but I got through.
Now the WAIT.
I know I am extremely blessed. I am so thankful for all the memories the Lord allowed me to take along from that home. From the first time we began planning it, to having it built, to playing in the pool with the boys, their friends over, allowing me to share this home with others in need many times. What an honor. Watching the boys wrestle after dinner all over the floor. The tough times of sickness or death in the extended family. He taught me more of His grace. Teenage boys…ups and downs. The work of maintaining a healthy marriage. Not all roses. But I am beyond thankful for all He has blessed me with. My hubby is still at my side, and he’s a hard worker who makes a good wage. My sons are grown and making wise choices as they mature. I’m so proud of them both. They are a joy and a crown.
Closing the door on a home is not closing the door on your whole life. I was afraid to move. I resisted moving for a very long time. Change was and still is scary to me. But I know, my God is faithful and will continue to be. He has blessed us. We are beginning to dream of how we will make our new house into a HOME.
Now I can truly say that I’m excited for all that the Lord has in store for us.
What has been a change in your life? What have you learned? Tell us a snippet from your story.