‘Transition’ -An often painful, yet beautiful word.
Painful in process. Beautiful in outcome.
Concerning various life-changes we face as women, wives, and mothers, we sometimes fail to understand the bigger plan of God for our lives. And therefore, we fail to embrace the various life-transitions that come our way.
Major life-transitions often entail some level of loss such as losing a spouse, divorce, kids leaving home, role changes, career changes, physical changes, etc.
The journey that follows seasons of such transitions can cause enormous stress on even the strongest of she-hero’s. The impact of these changes when infused with worry, fear and anxiety will most certainly prevent us from going deeper and exploring the beauty that seasons of transitional change offers.
Embracing Transition is Difficult, But Not Impossible
For those who find themselves facing some type of life-altering transition, be encouraged. There is good reason to be hopeful! And there is much goodness to be discovered within your journey though transition.
I know for certain that I would not be who I am today apart from my various life-transitions. Three major life changes (that happened simultaneously) entailed a major career change, physiological (midlife) change, and the finality of my parenting role as the mom of eight, and entering The Land of Empty Nesters. There were other changes that coincided with these changes, but these were the big three.
So, I get it. Transition isn’t fun.
I cried for months and experienced a level of depression I had not previously known. My roles, relationships, career, and body were all changing in drastic and profound ways. And there I was. Like a sailor lost at sea, all alone in my lost-ness. Struggling to know how to navigate my way through my new normal.
I wrestled with issues of identity, worth, and purpose. I asked the questions that perhaps you find yourself asking, “Now what? God, what are you up to? What are you doing? Where are you leading me? What’s next?
I wanted God to hurry up and give me answers.
What I got instead was:
– a deeper love for Jesus
– a deeper awareness of God’s sovereign care over my life
– and a deeper appreciation for the many ways my transitions have lead me closer to the heart, plan, and purposes of God.
Although it was often difficult to embrace the new realities taking place, I look back on this season of my life as a precious gift.
Commit Your Plans to the Lord
“Committing your plans to the Lord is as easy as pie,” said no one ever.
Learning to embrace my season of transition was a process journey that took months, and even years.
A process that taught me much about resisting and embracing. About letting go and letting God. About taking risks and learning to rest.
I needed to go deeper.
I needed to learn to be still.
I needed to embrace the changes taking place.
I needed to grow in my understanding of God’s providential hand over my life.
I needed to surrender to the process of change taking place within me.
I needed to work through areas of brokenness and forgiveness.
But most of all, I needed to yield to God’s transforming work in my life to make me more like Jesus and more of who he created me to be.
Transition Ushers in
The journey through transition is meant to be a journey toward transformation. Another way to think about transition is the idea that I’m no longer ‘this’ but I’m not yet ‘that’.
Although it may be overused, a better example is hard to find. Consider with me, the secret life of a caterpillar. Though seemingly insignificant, she is one of God’s uniquely created works of art that holds within her, his mysterious and glorious power and potential.
She crawls along day by day, inch by inch, munching and crunching away on delicacies to sustain her vulnerable, but simple existence. Finding her way through her mundane existence, something within her calls her into the deep, the unknown. At the proper time, she begins to yield herself to the process of becoming.
A becoming that is much more than she could ever imagine.
After a season of much activity and preparation, she is summoned into the deep, dark, unknown. She must go in. There is no other way to fulfil her purpose, her life-calling, her destiny.
There in the dark, she settles into her new reality. No more, same-old-same-old.
Here, in the deep, there is nowhere to go.
Here, there is no need to fear.
Here, she hides in the waiting room of waiting rooms.
Removed from the former; from all familiarity.
Here, she is protected.
Here, she ceases from her striving.
Here, she is safe to just be.
The covering woven around her allows the miraculous to take place.
Silently she lies in wait. Patiently she yields. Quietly she undergoes a complete transformation.
And then. It happens. Ever so slowly, she emerges. Shedding the old and embracing the new. Eager to break into the light, she comes forth and her new identity is revealed. Her beauty though hidden for a season, is now on display for all. She discovers she has been made new and with wings spread wide and face held high, she takes flight.
Unearthed. Uninhibited. Unbound.
She celebrates her new life and allows herself to explore God’s creation from an entirely new perspective. Everything has changed. Her view is different. Her life is different. Her former life made way for the new.
As she pauses to take it all in, she sips on the sweet nectar of the flowers that now hold her and gives thanks for the darkness that once held her. She is grateful for them both.
For it was there in the deep that she discovered who God made her to be in all her fullness.
“For old things are passed away, behold the new has come.”
Friend, are you in a place of transition?
What part of your season of change do you need to commit to the Lord’s leading and care?
May I encourage you to not be afraid of going into the deep?
There is life beneath the ground. And it is good.
Don’t be afraid. Go into the secret, sacred hiding place of God and allow him to prove himself faithful to you.
Allow him to make all things new in your life.
God is with you.
May these winter months allow you to consider the beauty that awaits the season of newness that will follow. And may the Lord himself lead you through your transition to a new life of great freedom and endless hope.
Feel free to join me on the journey through midlife change. I’d love to connect with you and learn more about your transition story.
Elizabeth Duncan Stretar, (Cleveland, Ohio) is the mother of 8 married adults, grandmother to 16, and enjoys spending her empty-nest time with husband, Frank. She is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary (MACL), Young Life’s first national director and currently working as an airline Flight Attendant. Stretar’s passion is to help others live an above and beyond kind of life, by encouraging them realize their untapped potential, discover their life-purpose that strives to make a difference in the lives of others. She’s a published author of ‘Acorn Gert & Brother Bert’ & blogs at Elizabeth Duncan Stretar: Above and Beyond Mid-life (betsystretar.com)