I have always considered myself a lover of change. A new soap scent, a different routine, a fresh arrangement of furniture in a room. Those are the fun changes, the ones I initiate to give fresh experience to something that might otherwise be growing stale. But sometimes change happens to us without our consent, without our knowing. It sneaks up and swipes out our feet, forcing us to adapt and modify our lives to a new perspective (albeit sometimes on our face), to move on, to survive. And sometimes, even then, outside of our own comfort and realm of choice, we find beauty and goodness where we never expected, in an evening walk, a generous gift, or the words of a friend. We learn something new about ourselves, about one another, about God. We grow.
This last year has contained a domino effect of change for our family, beginning with an unexpected financial catastrophe a year or so prior. Last Spring, we sold our home (which we had almost entirely renovated), invested our profits in a rental property, moved in with my sister + brother-in-law sharing their mortgage and bills for the year, worked every extra freelance job the two of us could (including Mark’s full-time teaching job), saved every extra bit we could without starving, bought a hundred year-old home for a tad more than some might by a brand new luxury car, and now are slowly renovating it. All with our four kids.
As I’ve been thinking about this past year’s changes for our family, I’ve wondered what little nuggets I’ve learned and might pass to someone else face-planted by change. The list below is for me to remember and for you, just in case you ever find yourself needing it:
:: be honest :: Admit you’re hurting or disappointed about things not happening the way you anticipated. After I had each of my children, my body would convulse uncontrollably from shock and heat loss, naturally. Difficult changes can often cause the same response emotionally, or they did for me. Being honest about my hurt or fear always connects me to Jesus and to others. Honesty reminds me I’m not alone.
:: hope :: “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both secure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us” (Heb. 6:19-20). These words have been life for me. It’s good to feel anchored in change, to have a sense of your soul’s belonging , especially when your physical self feels so transient.
:: slow down :: It’s ok to put aside extra commitments, to allow a different pace for yourself and your family. If you have children, make time to hear from each of them. Each of our children has responded differently to all of this change, but all of them have needed extra affection, extra time to be with us.
:: dream together :: Dreaming aloud, reminds us we are in this together–as a couple, as a family. It helps us form goals and learn from one another in the process.