I have lost many things in transition: a guitar, a vintage, yellow mirror that I loved, my grandma’s vase, my new tennis shoes.
I’ve also lost even more important things in transition: friendships, trust, credibility, hope, lots of time and money.
Transition is always hard. Even if we are so happy to move, get married, have that baby or take that church, transition takes a lot out of someone.
I should know.
The first fifteen years or so of my life was pretty steady. We lived in the same area of Houston and went to the same church during that time. But then we moved to Austin and things were never the same! I married a few years later and began the whirlwind that was my life. Never in one place long, it was a miracle that we pastored in Bogalusa for six whole years!
We have made “full proof of our ministry” by experiencing life as pastors, assistant pastors, worship leaders, women’s ministry leaders (me), missionaries, evangelists, bishops (Jon), board members, teachers, youth pastors and everything in between! We are definitely experts in transition (although not in much else...)
Transition is a tough trade-off. We gain but we also lose. We have joy but we also have sorrow. We have hope for the future but also nostalgia for the past. We are ripping ourselves out of one reality to make room for a new one. Who we were before goes into hiding as we find out who we’re gonna be now...now that everything has changed. It may take months or even years to begin to fill a part again, to fit my new shape into the new puzzle.
Sometimes transition makes us happy. I will never forget seeing one town in our rear view mirror and singing, “Lately all I’ve got is leaving on my mind. Seems that’s all I’ve been thinkin’ bout...most of the time.” Punched that time clock and we were outta there! Also, when we moved back to Austin in ’06 was one of the happiest times of my life. We had made some huge changes in our lives and ministry and were looking forward to ministering in a city that we loved and also living around my family for the first time since I married.
Unfortunately though, some transitions leave us grieving...or let me just come out and say it:lying-on-the-bed-for-two-days-crying-nonstop-about-the-loss-of-life-as-I-knew-it. I have never been able to go to one of the services that Jonathan announced to the church that we were leaving. I’m strong but not capable of dealing with that. Having to try to explain why yes, we feel strongly to do what we are doing, no, nobody is running us off, yes, we love you but we have to leave you, you have been our hearts and souls for two, four, six years but now you willbe someone from our pasts that we think about with affection... it’s too much.
These are my transitions. They may sound silly compared to things you have been through. No way this comes close to the loss of a marriage or a child, financial duress or an unfaithful spouse. We all carry our own burdens. But through sharing these burdens with each other, maybe they can become a little lighter.
I will pray for you today if you are in a tough transition. It’s a scary, precarious time. There were a few times I just thought maybe life wasn’t worth living if it was gonna be full of all this pain, betrayal and grief. People let me down and it took a long time to trust again. I disappointed people and hated myself for it. I even questioned God and His role in the whole situation. But transition is a part of life. We will never stop changing until we change into our immortal bodies and time, death and gravity no longer have a hold on us.
You can make it! Things will get better soon. Time does heal a lot of wounds. You are strong and mighty and tomorrow will be better than today IF you keep pressing and believing. Don’t give up hope! Lift up your eyes to the hills and realize where your help comes from! Vent to godly friends and counselors and grieve as long as you need to. Transition is a loss and should be treated as such.
I am with you friend! We have all been there. This road isn’t always easy but no matter how many crooked turns we may take, we can put our trust in a God who has never failed us and is watching out for us every step of the way. He has a plan and when we submit to taking His steps instead of our own, everything will work out and we will reach the destination He has had in store for us since we were in our mother’s wombs.