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An Honest Account of Love, Grief and Walking With God
Finding God's Goodness in Life's Disappointments
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Kerrville Daily Times Article
by Kathleen Maxwell
I had a lady come up and introduce herself to me this past week and stated that she read my articles and sent them to her sister in Oklahoma.
She told me how her sister had lost her husband a few years ago, and was still adjusting to being a widow. As I talked to her, I encouraged her that the process of transition her sister is going through takes a lot of work. When you loose a spouse, you are never the same. You basically have to reinvent yourself, which takes a lot of energy. It is a transition from being one with someone to being an individual. Instantly, you are legally considered single, but the heart of anyone that has lost a mate is in a huge transition. The transition from being in a partnership to being a sole proprietor of your life is an adjustment and a huge change. I speak from experience.
What is transition? What does the word mean? Who likes transition? How do you navigate through seasons of transition? These are questions that I pondered this past week. Transition is defined as movement or passage from one state or stage to another; the process or a period of changing. The Latin root of trans means across, beyond, on the other side.
Actually, there is a lot the Bible has to say about transition. I have come to discover that God is a real fan of transition. Maybe one day I will share his viewpoint, but I have to confess, I am not there yet. Even the thought of transition makes me tired.
I have encountered a lot of transition the last few years of my life. Maybe you might identify with some of them. My last child left the nest and went to college, a change from children at home for 26 years to an empty nest; a healthy husband who was living a full life to a husband with cancer; having a spouse for 30 years to loosing a mate; resigning from a ministry and job that was dear to my heart to rest and care for elderly parents; beginning a new job, adjusting to a new organization and then a few months later taking a new position within the organization. It is interesting that I work for nonprofit, BCFS HHS Kerrville Transition Center. We help at-risk young adults transition from being teenagers to productive adults in society. Of course, I would work for a transition center, I feel like the queen of transition.
Transition is the process of exchanging our past for our future. I’ve only recently come to this conclusion as I have tried to look for the good in the uncertainty transition brings. Transition is letting go of the past, honoring what has been, and living in the “now” and the “not yet.” I have often used the phrase, “I don’t know yet” because I have been in so much transition and that is the best answer I can sometimes give. People with a healthy outlook on transition look at the possibilities ahead versus always looking at what could have been.
Philippians 3:12-15 addresses this better than I can. It says, “Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet. One thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude …” (NIV) Perfect in this passage means mature. Paul shows us how to go through transition. We must keep our eyes on what is ahead instead of what is behind. If our mind is only dwelling on what could have been or the past, there can be no momentum to move ahead. Isaiah 43:18-19 says, “Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder the things of the past. Behold I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it?” (NIV)
Transition is not a place of comfort. It is a place of uncomfortableness, just ask any woman who has been through childbirth. Transition in childbirth is the last stage before the birth process. It was painful for me, and I am glad those days are over.
Think about the transition a caterpillar goes through before it becomes a butterfly. The cocoon stage isn’t that pretty and doesn’t even look hopeful, but the process produces something beautiful — a new life of freedom.
Think about adolescents. They are young people that are moving from childhood into being adults. It is a difficult time and yet an exciting one.
The promise we have for those of us that trust in God is that God will help us and goes ahead of us in our transition.
Deuteronomy 31:8 says, “The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
As we reach for what is ahead, we must trust in God. That is where the rubber meets the road and our faith is exercised. Do you need to exercise your faith? Is there risk in transition? Absolutely. The good news is God is with us to catch us and help us. I recently did a ropes course and was challenged to do something I had never done before. Did I catch the bar? No, but I reached for something beyond what I could do myself and had the experience of trusting. I am still alive, and I actually had fun!
Although God is all about us changing, He never changes. He is constant in his love for us and in his nature. We can rest in His love when we are in times of transition. His love is our security blanket. We must connect ourselves to God’s heart for our future and our destiny. That gives me hope.
Are you going through one of life’s transitions? How does it make you feel vulnerable? You are not alone. I challenge you to embrace the transition you are in, learn from it and let the change make you into something beautiful. As you change, you will grow and become the man or woman God intended. Rock and roll with transition.
Please contact me!
Kathleen Maxwell is a native of the Hill Country, educator, writer and speaker. She is passionate about helping others discover the joy of walking with God and their value. You can contact her at email@example.com and on her blog www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com.