THIS changes everything

Ever been in one of those seasons where you feel like your transition from one season of life to the next is taking forever?  If so, I think I have something to share with you.

I admit I’ve been focusing a lot of my time planning the S H E  G A T H E R S women’s conference taking place this summer here in Austin.  And please don’t get me started on the month’s of April and May when you have kiddos in school (because apparently they’re done learning and we have to celebrate EVERYTHING before they get out… Father/kid hot dog luncheon anyone?)  But honestly, super transparent moment with y’all?  I’ve still been dealing with this change that happened late last year….

A change in community means a change with so much more… friends change……dynamics of how you spend your time even changes.  I’ll admit that I’ve had good streaks and not so great moments handling the change.  Sometimes, I’ve wanted to digress over the past and try to peel back the layers of Father time…looking for clues of foreshadowing that I might have missed.  Other days I wake up and realize I haven’t even given the situation one single thought and my energy is focused with zeal and thanksgiving looking forward at life with a bit of a blank slate where time opened back up for our family.

Sometimes the feeling of the unknown is palpable…so many questions you just can’t even begin to answer….and if you are like me, you have to put “mental bouncers” in place for when your mind begins to swirl with what-if’s.  No matter what you have left behind, the reality is that you haven’t yet stepped into what is next.  Yet, with every minute that passes… you are, in fact, in the process of changing and moving towards “new.”

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Now some of you are rolling your eyes and wondering what on earth I’m talking about… you are the amazing people that eat “change” for breakfast; the more changes the better!  I know a few of these people…they move every couple of years because they get restless or when life settles into a manageable routine they switch it up by adding a dog, child or new job to the mix.  Kudos to you, my dear adventure addicts, sincere kudos.

The reality is that change is both terrifying and exhilarating, all at the same time.  I think I’m learning the healthiest way to thrive during change is to acknowledge that in every “ex-change” of circumstances, there is an “ex;” as in, a death of the old ways or old times.  A move means you have to grieve the miles that will now separate you from old neighbors and friends.  A change in job means you will no longer interface with some beloved co-workers on a daily basis.  A change in marital status, kids moving out, even seasons of life with kids at different stages… all mean that as you embrace what’s new, you mourn what is lost.

“If we don’t take time to mourn what is left behind, we aren’t giving it the proper recognition it once occupied in our hearts.”

Brushing the mourning process under the rug just leaves us with emotions that haven’t been given space to breathe.  I think I might be a past expert on bottling up emotions with an “I’m fine” and plowing along.  Or maybe you’ve been told you just have to suck it up, choose joy and move on, “don’t dwell on the past.”  Well, okay, but the problem is that you aren’t allowing your heart to mourn… and honestly, even Jesus mourned the night he was about to be arrested, tried and killed!  The Bible is clear that Jesus faced every emotion as a human that we are created to experience so he would know first-hand about the joys and sufferings here on earth.  So believe me, dear friends, when I say to you that it’s okay to grieve the loss of “what was” as you experience transition.

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Here’s the beautiful thing, dear readers… is that much like the rest of God’s plan… this all seems so contrary to what modern culture shouts at us. So today I’m hoping you’ll give yourself permission to just feel… a little bit more authentically about your change of season.  For some of you that might mean taking some time to finally mourn a part of your past that is well behind you but you have coped by stuffing it under the rug.  For some it might just mean letting go of this “tough mudder, feel nothing” attitude.  For when we acknowledge the loss, we open up room for “new” to grow.

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