Some years ago God closed the door to a new ministry opportunity leaving me (and my husband) in a season of waiting. It was a challenging transition, and I regret that I often responded more out of fear and impatience than faith. I wish I could say that my reaction was a fluke, and that generally, I’ve figured out how to manage change gracefully. Unfortunately, that is not the truth.
It usually doesn’t take long for the thrill of an exciting transition (or resolve to manage a challenging one well) to turn into anxiety about the uncertainty of it all. My customary initial response tends to fit into one of two extremes:
1. Grasp for control by planning out everything, so as to minimize stress
2. Become overwhelmed and abandon intentionality, under the guise of being “flexible”
It is so easy to get caught up in asking “What should I do?” or “What if____?” instead of remembering that God is advancing His kingdom and continually shaping me into who He wants me to be. Somewhere in the middle of my two extreme responses is an active faith, marked by both vulnerability and confidence in God.
One of my all-time favorite passages, especially for staying hopeful during changing seasons, is from Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NLT):
“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
and they never stop producing fruit.”
We’ve welcomed a new baby into our family, and I am adjusting my ministry workload. This is another season of change, but instead of being reactive or passive right away, I’m trying to press deeper into the Lord first. Practically speaking, I’m asking myself two simple questions:
1) How can I believe Jesus during this time?
That Jeremiah passage reminds me that there is blessing and security in allowing whatever I do for God to flow from a heart that’s deeply rooted in Him. I remember that I can face change with confidence because of who He is and what He’s done. My source of hope is an all-knowing, all-powerful, personal Savior who understands my needs and the temptations I face.
When time and stability are in short supply, some ways I like to connect with the Lord are through scripture, music, podcasts, or practicing gratitude. For example, sometimes I record ways that God has provided for us in a “Book of Thanks.” I also like to daily review pictures that I’ve taken on my phone, thanking God for each captured moment.
2) What do I need to release in order to soak in God’s blessings?
Like Jeremiah points out, different seasons have the potential to impact us negatively if we don’t stay deeply rooted. I’m learning that part of pressing in during transitions means letting go. It means being truly honest about limitations and needs, in order to hold onto what matters most in that time. I’ll always be grateful for how the student women that I met with this year cared for me during my challenging pregnancy. We all let go of certain expectations (like consistent, in-person one-on-ones, attending events together, etc.) but it was still a sweet season of growth. I’m finding ways to accept grace from others (and the Lord) that I was too proud to receive in the past.
Besides unrealistic expectations, other things I’m currently seeking to release are my preferred timing, fear of failure, and comparison. Instead of picturing myself in someone else’s storyline, I want to embrace what God actually has for me.
These two questions don’t completely take away the stress, grief or pain that can arise during transition, but they have helped point me back to Christ and release unnecessary burdens that I (or others) put on myself. As staff moms, we face a lot of changes, and I pray that God continues to nourish and produce fruit in each of us, as we depend on Him no matter what transition we face.