Anyone who knows me well knows that I struggle to transition into different life stages. This was not always the case. My mom recalls my first day of kindergarten with no tears and no looking back. When I moved into my first dorm in college, I nearly pushed my parents out the door. I loved new seasons and all of the new experiences.
Then I moved across the country. I thought it would be the same experience.
I was wrong.
My husband and I were married on January 1, 2011. I woke up the next day and burst into tears!! My poor new husband didn’t know what was wrong with his brand new wife and I couldn’t explain what I was feeling.
Looking back, I know that I was feeling all of the losses I was about to endure in the next few days and months. You see, we were meeting our family for breakfast, opening presents, and then we were moving away from everything I knew…to Arizona of all places.
I knew this move was good (Jason had a job!), but at that moment all I could think about was the loss of my last name, my city I’d lived in for 8 years, my friends and family, and my comfort. The only thing that settled me down was a trip to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears in the playoff game (that would make any day better).
All in all, I was a mess.
When we arrived in Arizona, I felt disconnected and lost. I cried EVERY SINGLE day for 6 months. I was always talking about when we could move back and how I just couldn’t do this anymore (poor husband…a word to new brides-don’t do that). I hadn’t prepared my heart for this transition. I was too busy preparing for our wedding.
For those of you who are facing transition or are in the midst of transition, I want to pass on the some words of encouragement to possibly give you some hope and help.
1. Give yourself grace and prepare your heart. Right now you may be preparing to make a move, get married, have a baby and it can consume your time. Don’t let it. Give yourself the time to seek the Lord in preparing your heart for what He has to teach you in your upcoming transition. Enjoy the season that you are in right now, embrace the gifts you have been given in your current season. I had made myself too busy to spend quality time with the friends and family I was leaving. And when you are in the midst of your transition, give yourself heaps of GRACE. Don’t believe the lies that Satan will try to use to discourage you (for me it was a sense of intense loneliness and the lie that no one cared that I was all alone). Feel what you need to feel, but be careful not to let it overtake you. Always go back to Jesus.
2. Find a friend or a mentor who has already walked this type of transition. I did not do this when I first moved and I felt SO ALONE. By God’s grace, an old friend from college noticed a comment I made on Facebook and sent me an email. She had struggled with a move across country after marriage and she recognized my pain through my words. If it hadn’t been for the encouragement through her words and listening ear, my transition may have taken a much longer time. If you can find someone who you know who will listen to you, encourage you, and just walk through this new season with you, don’t be afraid to ask.
3. Make time with Jesus a high priority. God teaches us through every life circumstance and He grabs hold of us in unique ways during transitions. He knows that in communion with Him you will find a peace, joy, and wholeness found nowhere else but in Him. There were days I spent hours in the word, in prayer and reading Jerry Bridges’ Trusting God Even When Life Hurts. It was in that time where I came to truly believe God will work this out for my good and His glory.
4. Sometimes in order to see your sin, you have to walk through a hard transition. This was probably the hardest lesson for me to learn. I had become very comfortable in my old life. I had a strong community of friends and family who I went to with any hardship, joy, or frustration. When I moved, I had no one to go to for comfort or approval. It took me a long time to realize part of the reason God moved me was to strip me of my comforts so I would run to the ultimate Comforter. Jesus wanted a relationship with me more than He wanted me to be happy in my community.
And finally, it does get better! Two and a half years later I have a community and I love our city. I have also learned to hold on loosely to the things of this world, or at least I’m learning! There are days when it’s still hard, but I continue to remember that God is for my good and for His glory. He is for your good too!
Do you have any other suggestions for people who are in transition?