four lessons on transitioning well

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.

the day after our wedding

the day after our wedding

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?

 

Live Your Story

Advertisements

why I cried after my brother’s team made it to state

Last night my brother and the Albia Blue Demons won their substate game which means that they are going to the Iowa State Baseball Tournament!! Woot Woot!!

My brother's the catcher and I love the intensity in his face!

My brother’s the catcher and I love the intensity in his face!

Now to clear some things up because I get this question all the time from people down here…

  1. Wait, Sarah, your brother is playing high school baseball in the SUMMER?” Yes, Iowa plays high school ball in the summer and no I do not know why (for my peeps in Iowa, just know that playing a high school sport in the summer is very uncommon).
  2. “Didn’t Gabe graduate earlier this Spring? I didn’t know graduates could play.” Yes, my brother graduated in May and is still playing high school baseball. According to Iowa rules, you can play baseball/softball the summer after your senior year because the season started during the school year. So, yes he did play five years of high school baseball and my sister played 5 years of softball.
  3. “Are you ALL athletic?” Yes, but not all of us are athletic in baseball/softball…or should I just say I am terrible at softball. I have an appreciation for the game, but I can’t hit a softball to save my life!

Ok, now that that’s cleared up, let me continue…

I listened to the last inning and a half on my phone while at my friends’ house last night. As the announcers were exclaiming that the Albia Blue Demons were headed to state, my heart was filled with joy but also a lot of  sadness as tears ran down my face.

I was so happy for him, but I was sad that I couldn’t be there to give my sweet brother a big hug and to celebrate a victory with my family. There are days like yesterday where I find it hard to live so far away from home..

I sent my brother a text after they won congratulating him and telling him how proud I am of him. He sent back a text that said “Thanks. Wish you were here! Love ya” Melt my heart. Those are sweet words from an 18 year old man-boy!

The tears fell because I felt like I was missing out on another milestone event for my family. And I was. There have been a lot of things that I have “missed” in the 2.5 years of living 1500 miles.

But then I remember all of the amazing things that have happened while living in this dry, hot desert and I’m grateful. I still mourn the loss of the familiar, but the adventure Jason and I have been on makes it worth it all.

The next few weeks I will be spending my Wednesdays talking about the adventures that God has taken me on and the lessons I have learned since we took this huge step to move from the cornfields of Iowa to the desert land of Arizona. And I would love to hear from you as well! How has God taken what looked like it would be hard and made it beautiful?

I want to be able to share my life here on this blog and I hope that as you read how God has changed me, you will be encouraged to know that God is at work in your story too. That’s why I’ll be linking up with She Does Justice on Wednesdays…will you join me?

Live Your Story

The Fullness of Your Schedule Doesn’t Define You

Seasons in life come and go. They can be short or they can be long. Usually you don’t recognize you’ve entered into a new season until weeks in and sometimes you know months in advance.

_DSC0528

I foresaw my new season of change just under a year ago. I just didn’t know what it would look like. Last September, I left my job as a personal trainer so that I could stay home and focus my attention on caring for my husband and our home. I was aware of the new season, but I thought it would be short. I assumed I would be pregnant or welcoming home a child through adoption within the year of leaving my position. Little did I know that God would be teaching me a great lesson on waiting and patience (but that’s for a different post).

Busyness has been my nature for the majority of my life. If my hands or mind were moving at the speed of light to get somewhere, meet with someone, or write something, then I was truly making a difference in the world and “living my life”. The past six months have been full for me, but not busy and not entirely world-changing. I don’t have little feet to chase around. I don’t have workouts to write-up for my clients or nutritional advice to hand out. I’m not helping out with any community service projects. To the outsider looking in on my life, some would think that I’m not busy enough…in a world that takes pride in busyness.

I follow many blogs and lately there has been a trend of posts speaking on how to balance all of the spinning plates that women have in their lives. I’ve noticed twinges of guilt and questions of “am I doing enough?” when I read those words because right now my plates are few.

busy-full-calendar

Today, I’m taking a stand against the culture of busyness. I’m believing the truth that my identity does not revolve around the fullness of my schedule, but the fullness of my heart in Christ. This season of my life may be unlike any other season I will ever walk again. I know that motherhood won’t be a part of my life for almost a year. I know that I’m not taking a new job to fill that time. So the question remains…how will I live in this season of quiet and low responsibilities?

Will I waste this season by looking too far in advance? Will I make my hands busy with useless things so that I can say I’m busy?

Or will I see the blessing of having a string of days with no solid plan and use those days to glorify God through loving and serving my husband and praying for my little girls half a world away? I’d like to say I will do the later, but it will only be by the grace of God changing my heart…daily….hourly….okay, every second!

What season of life are you in? Are you fully embracing it or are you wishing it away? Will you take a stand against being busy for the sake of being busy?

_DSC0098

Join me?

 

Today I linked up with She Does Justice

Live Your Story