Life has changed a lot for our family throughout the years. We seem, at least from an outsider’s perspective, to make abrupt and uprooting life decisions more often than the typical family. And while I know a lot of people may recommend we could or should probably go to family therapy to analyze the “why” behind these behaviors, I am trusting that God will make beautiful all that has transpired.
And, the plus-side to change is the growth process that it requires. Change asks us to hone our adaptive skills and learn to “roll with the punches”……. or be terrified of it, depending on our resilience, faith, strength, personality, and our belief in the source of these.
When I was younger, I thrived on changed. I craved it and couldn’t wait until the next change came about. I loved the adventure of “new” and learning how to understand it. But, now as a wife and mom of two teens, I find that I vacillate in craving it some days when I feel carefree and literally hiding from it on other days when the world just seems a little too risky for my taste and the weight of the roles I carry.
Either way, change is a part of life, and it’s less about me and more about learning…Learning how to grow and stretch, to nurture amidst and despite the disruption, to cultivate, to persevere, and to ultimately allow these times of upheaval to transform us into something even more beautiful than the person we were before.
So on good days, it looks like:
Lord, what can I learn about You through this change?
Lord, how can I help my children navigate this change?
Lord, how can I nurture Our family while they adapt and transition into a new way of life?
But, on rough and overwhelming days, it looks like:
Lord, I’m scared to death right now and hanging on to the fact that You love me and hold my future in mind WAY more than my current uncomfortableness!!
Lord, I don’t know how to parent and lead children through this time being that I don’t even understand it…..BUT, I trust that you love these children way more than I ever could. AND, I trust that Your grace is bigger than my failures.
Lord, I’m tired and scared. Can You speak the truth that is clouded by fear until You have given me the words to speak again?
And as is God’s awesome nature, He totally answers all of these prayers, questions, pleas, and begging.
And, going one step deeper and a little more to the point, part of dealing with change is recognizing that every life change we experience leaves an imprint on who we are…..and, on our children, especially, as these experiences happen during their formative years. These memories can impact them and manifest as a lifetime of choices.
So, what I have found throughout the years, is that if we don’t intentionally recognize and pursue cohesive family growth as well as personal growth, we may arrive at the end of the 18 years that our children are at home with us and not recognize the person that they have grown into.
Life Changes Change Who We Are…….And, Life Changes Change Our Family Too!!!!
So, I find as we calm down from a year of multiple “opportunities for growth” or “new adventures” (or however you label change), it will take intentionality and even some “cheezy-ness” and “feelings talk” to process and begin to understand each other again. And, this is also a perfect time to get to know the new parts of each of us that can only come from the fruition of well-processed change.
In an effort to do this, I was struck with a simple idea of asking purposeful questions in order to truly hear the other people in my family (or really the important people in our life). These are questions that do nothing except care about having a relationship with the other person and helping them to recognize the role change has played in the person they have become.
So, this may seem very simple and, yes, cheesy. But, I have created a “Who Are You?” pdf (that everyone is more than welcome to download and use). It’s not ground-breaking or earth shattering, but it is a practical way to open the lines of communication for those who may not always know how to ask the questions that matter. It’s a safe, comfortable way for a family to sit down and talk at dinner. It’s a comfortable Sunday drive list of questions. Or, it’s totally okay to ask these questions a few at a time as you are making attempts to break down the walls that change sometimes can bring in a relationship.
To end this very long diatribe, and quite possibly my personal therapeutic attempt to process change in life……. Let’s recap a few key thoughts:
1. Change is Inevitable.
2. Change is Hard.
3. Change, if we hang on through the hardship, brings about an opportunity to know the loved ones in our life in a deeper way.
4. Most importantly, change allows us to be transformed into new creations with more Strength, Faith, Wisdom, Resilience, and Trust.
Please feel free to download Who Are You to connect with those people in your life that could use a listening ear. But, please keep in mind that this is simply a starting point on the journey to deep and meaningful conversation, so don’t hesitate to add to these or even create your own according to the needs of the person and situation.
And no matter what, just remember: You can help a person process change and then learn and grow from it simply by taking time to listen: hear their thoughts, hear their hurts, hear their memories, and of course, hear their silliness.
I pray that the Lord blesses you and your family through the inevitable changes that take place in life. May we look at change as an opportunity and not a stumbling block. May we bless others in their transitional times, and may the Lord bless all of our efforts with deeper relationships with each other and Him.