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I remember thinking, “When will things get back to normal?” I was a first-time mom, and our new baby boy was barely two weeks old. I can hear you snickering.
My dream of becoming a momma had come true. But for all my years of wishing and praying and even my last nine months of planning, nothing had prepared me for the upheaval of “normal” that was coming with the birth of our first child.
My naive yearning to take my baby and get back to normal was a delusion. Gradually, it was replaced with the sober yet hopeful reality that, after a period of transition, I would find a new normal. If it didn’t kill me first.
Transitions can be like that.
We see the end product of a dream in our mind’s eye and say “Yes, please!” But if we knew half of what it would take to get us from point A in our journal to point B in reality, we might think twice. Sure, we know theoretically that the journey will be long and hard, but when we’re barely out the door and get knocked off our feet by the change that arrives with transitions, it can be easy to doubt our dream.
As the months went by, Josh and I would find some sort of schedule, and I would breathe a deep sigh of relief. Ahhhh, we found our new normal. I learned to enjoy it while it lasted. Hardly a week later, a growth spurt would hit and throw our lives, not to mention our sleep schedule, into a period of transition again.
The cycle of transition, normal, transition, normal, and so on was exhausting. But the alternative was . . . there was no alternative. Josh had to grow. Everything that’s alive does.
In childbirth, transition can be one of the most overwhelming, painful, and confusing stages. We’ve labored for hours and are certain it must be time to push this baby out and into the world. But first, transition (and if you haven’t already taken a watch-me-labor selfie, this is your last chance). You feel almost out of control, because you are. Something far beyond your control is happening. A new life is being born.
Life is a series of transitions.
If there’s one thing that’s been constant in the present season of my life, it’s change. Moves, job changes, weddings, babies, loss, and, just to keep it interesting, perimenopause! I imagined this would be a season of settling down. Like my “new mom” guidebook, I must have read the unedited, dreamy version of the mid-life manual.
When I forget the good and new seasons of life that are on the other side of these transitions, I become weary. But I’m learning. These are a few things I believe can help us thrive in transition.
COUNT THE COSTS
I’ll be the first to admit, I often forget to do this. I get all caught up in the glitter and sparkle of a new season, idea, or dream and barely glance at the price tag.
“Here’s my credit card. In fact, I’ll take two! One in pink and one in purple!”
When our dream is all shiny and new, no price seems too high. But no sooner have we got it home and taken it out of the bag, and it begins to lose some of its luster. The bill comes, it’s time to pay, and we begin to wonder if it’s worth it.
For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost,
whether he has enough to complete it?
Did you notice what comes before count the cost? This wise person sits down.
She steps back from the glam and glitz of a new thing, calms herself down, and considers what it will cost her. With that knowledge, she makes a smart decision. When times of transition come, they’ll be hard. But she will be comforted with the assurance that she knew her dream would cost her, and she has saved what she needs to “pay.”
DON’T LOOK BACK
During transition, it’s so tempting to pine for what was. The freshman at college remembers how mom used to do her laundry and make dinner. The new mom remembers sleeping more than two hours in a row. The transplanted career woman remembers her cozy apartment and friends in her old city. The middle-aged woman remembers the “simple” life when all her kids were still home and around her table. You get the idea.
Our memories are sweet. And we tend to polish them up a bit as time goes on. We forget the bad and remember the good. That’s a grace! But you won’t find your bearings in the past. In fact, if you spend too much time looking behind you, you’ll likely trip. Or turn into a pillar of salt. Just sayin’.
Then turn around and focus your eyes, head, and heart forward.
KEEP YOUR EYES ABOVE THE WAVES
It’s the Christian anthem of our day and a favorite of God-Sized Dreams. Rich with analogy and hope, the song Oceans by Hillsong captures the heart of what it is to follow God in our trials as well as our God-sized dreams.
There on the waters where “feet may fail,” I make the brave choice to “keep my eyes above the waves.” The allusion to Peter walking on the water is unmistakable.
He walks on water just like Jesus . . . until his focus turns to the wind. His dire circumstances distract him from his source of faith, and he begins to sink.
Characteristically, Jesus saves Peter when he cries out. That’s an important thing to remember. Clearly, the trick of this miraculous feat was to stay focused on the first water-walker who had called Peter to come to Him. Without faith in Jesus, Peter’s endeavor was a fool’s errand. But when Peter failed, Jesus saved. It’s what He does.
So yes, keep your eyes above the waves and on the face of Jesus. But if, or should I say when, you falter and the circumstances of the transition you’re in overwhelm you like the wind and waves in a storm, don’t just sink. Cry out to your Savior. He will reach out His hand and take hold of you. It’s what He does.
Last but not least, breathe. In, out, in, out, in, out . . . and so on.
Times of transition can be some of the most overwhelming, painful, and confusing stages of life.
Fifteen years after we brought Josh home, he was still keeping me up many nights—not for feedings or diaper changes, but for all the joys the long transition between child and adulthood avail a mom. One especially hard day, the kind you know might just kill you, I called my friend Stephanie. Between sobs I poured out my heart with all its anxieties, worries, and imaginations. I left out no detail. There was no hope. This time transition was going to pull me under. I would meet my deep, dark, drowning demise in the murky waters of adolescence. RIP.
Steph, was silent. And then she said one word.
“I am breathing.”
I inhaled a little deeper.
“Do you remember when we were in labor?”
Steph and I had shared years of baby-bearing and mothering. I’d even been with her when two of her children were born.
“Remember how the harder it got, the more important it was to breathe?”
“Yes, I remember.” I was a little calmer.
“This is like that. You need to breathe. Then you need to focus. You know where your strength is. Go to Him. He has what you need.”
I focused on my breath. My heart rate slowed, and the angry clouds in my mind began to clear.
I felt Him take hold of my hand, and He gently admonished me to trust Him more.
All He required to follow Him was trust, a price I could afford.
He reminded me of His faithfulness in my past and assured me of His presence in my future.
And the wind ceased.
Shared by: Kim Hyland
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