“This is the hardest thing the Lord has ever asked me to walk away from.” That is what I’ve told person after person who has asked about how I felt as my last day of school approached.
“I feel excited to have more time to pour into what I love, but terrified of walking away from a place that has become a second home, and played such a huge role in shaping who I am as a wife and a mom.” I’ve explained through tear filled eyes.
We all go through seasons of change. Seasons marked by goodbyes and shifts in the daily routine. Sometimes the change is like a breath of fresh air, often it is also disorienting and takes a while to adjust to.
I’m walking through one such season of change now. Its one I’ve mourned and excitedly awaited all at the same time. I’m full of expectant hope about what God has next for me and my family, and overwhelmed by the change to our daily routine and all the options before me of how to structure our now abundant free time.
With the day of goodbye now behind me, and the daunting task of adjusting to our new normal in front of me, I’ve compiled a list of 3 things to do to find encouragement and direction in the midst of a new season.
“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.”Psalm 7:8
1. Look back and be thankful. There is something to be said for taking the time to mourn the end of a good season. Change is an emotional process, it requires letting go of things and often people who have brought a lot of joy to our lives. Take time to stop and reflect on how God used the challenges and relationships of the season to effect growth in you. Praise God for His faithfulness through it all, and be open and honest about your feelings as you close the door on that chapter.
2. Remember and dream a little. It has been so helpful for me to remember the “why?” behind the change of season. Something prompted the change that you are facing. What was it? If God brought you to the point of making a big change in your life and walking away from something that has brought growth and joy, there was a compelling reason (or an inevitable one ie., graduation). What was it?
Now dream a little. The beauty of starting something new is that it can be whatever you want it to be. There is freedom and excitement in new challenges. Let your mind and heart dream about all that this new season could hold for you. Get excited as you invite the Lord into it and look forward with expectation to all the joy and growth He’ll bring through it (even if it’s hard at times, because let’s face it, the hard times will come).
3. Start Well. I was talking with a friend recently, who has been in the SAHM (stay at home mom) season for almost two years now, and I ask her how she keeps her family in a routine at home. Her words held so much wisdom, “Start the day and the week well.”
So that is my goal for myself right now, to start the week strong by being intentional on Mondays, and to make an effort every morning to start well. For me I’ve decided this looks like 1. Rising early to get some quiet/productive time in before the kids wake up and 2. Exercising in the morning 3-5 times per week.
Decide what starting well looks like for you. Set some achievable and measurable goals for yourself and take it one day at a time. Give yourself grace when you fail, remembering that Jesus died for your failures and sent the perfect helper in the Holy Spirit. Call on Him for help throughout your day! There is nothing worse as a believer than trying to do everything in your own strength when you have the strength and power of God living within you. The key to starting well is to start with your eyes focused on Jesus, His kingdom, and His purposes.
Choosing Thankfulness and Trust
I am thankful that throughout my time teaching God put women in my life who loved and invested in me. Many women poured out their wisdom from years of motherhood and teaching, and I was like a dry sponge ready to soak up everything they poured out.
I am thankful that God used my job to renew my confidence in who He created me to be, and to call me to greater things than I would have ever thought possible when I started at twenty two years old.
I am thankful for the way God expanded and reshaped my views of discipleship, bible study, and education.
I had no idea that my four years there would feel like much longer because they saw me go from a newlywed to a mama of two, but I am so thankful for all God did in that short time.
Walking away from my school (I’ll continue to call it that even though it technically isn’t anymore) is easily the hardest thing God has asked me to do in my adult life. Stepping out of the place that has become my comfort zone, away from people who have been some of my greatest cheerleaders, is a huge step of faith for me.
It feels a little like sprinting towards what looks like the edge of a cliff not knowing how far the drop is going to be when I get there, or what waits for me when I hit the ground again. The mixture of emotions I feel trying to process it all is dizzying. I’m nervous about getting into a new routine and figuring out what it looks like to be intentional with my kids at home full time. I’m also relieved and excited to be walking in what I know is Gods will for this next season of my life. In the face of it all I’m doing my best to choose to trust that no matter how far the fall is, God will catch me at the bottom, or maybe even give me wings to fly.
Here’s to choosing thankfulness, to trusting in HIS perfect plans, and relying on the strength and guidance of the Holy Spirit in the face of the many seasons of change that life brings.
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