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Changed by his loving hand – Shay S. Mason

Standing on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, I tried to imagine the forces of nature that carved this gaping marvel. I could barely make out the emerald green of the Colorado River snaking through the bottom of the canyon 6,000 feet below. How had that tiny green thread created this 277-mile-long wonder? It was hard to grasp the magnitude of it all.

Gradual change

The Grand Canyon wasn’t formed overnight. The process took many thousands of years. Rising and falling waters eroding layers of rock year after year. Some of the changes were relatively abrupt as large segments of softer rock gave way to raging flood waters; but changes to harder rock were more gradual, barely perceivable from season to season.

The process reminds me of the way we experience change in our own lives. In some seasons, change happens so rapidly we beg for things to slow down. Abrupt change can be jarring, making us feel as though we’ve lost our footing. Help me, Lord. I can’t hold on any longer.

Other times, the change is so slow we wonder if anything is happening at all. Lord, I’ve been asking you for years. When will something happen? But just as it takes ages for a river to carve a canyon, we don’t always perceive the beginnings of change in our lives or the lives of our loved ones. This slower process can fuel doubt and frustration.

But both types of change are necessary. God knows the condition of our hearts. He knows where we have grown hard, just as He knows the areas in our lives where we are soft and malleable. His Holy Spirit is the river that carves through our very hearts creating a unique masterpiece.

Upending moment

I look back over the years and recognize the times when He gently smoothed away the rough surfaces with a cool, steady stream and also the times when the flood waters roared, upending everything in their path. Do you know the feeling?

Becoming a mother was one of those upending moments for me. I had decided to leave my job on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC to be a stay-at-home mom. I liked my job, and I loved the people in my office; but I’d had a difficult time imagining how I would balance the demands of a political career with being a mom. I know many women who do it well, but I didn’t think that lifestyle would suit our family. Financially, we could make it work; so, after prayerful consideration, my husband and I agreed it was the best choice for us. 

I read all the popular parenting books and sought advice from near and far, but nothing could have prepared me for those first months of motherhood. In many ways, my experience was not unlike multitudes of other women — a difficult delivery, my newborn needing to spend a few extra days in the hospital, postpartum depression, sleepless nights, showerless days, exploding diapers…

But the real problem was something else. I didn’t know who I was anymore.

I had based so much of my identity on my career that when it was gone, I believed I had nothing left. In a city where it often seems that who you work for is everything, I sometimes even felt ignored at church. I had become used to the attention I was given for my high-level connections. Now, upon sharing that I had become a stay-at-home mom — crickets. Nobody cared. Or at least that’s how it felt. I believed I had suddenly become the most boring human alive.

On reflection, I can see how God used the overwhelming change that came with motherhood to upend unhealthy beliefs and wear down a false identity. Day by day He was showing me I was more than a title or fancy office. But I can’t sugar-coat this process. It was painful. There were countless days when I could only cry out to God as the ground below me shifted and the walls of the canyon gave way around me. Those days of struggle took me deeper, sometimes kicking and screaming, but the Lord was patient with me. It took time for me to realize I was just as valuable to God at home changing diapers as I was in a press conference under the dome of the U.S. Capitol. I began to see a fruitful future, it just looked different than I imagined.

Qualities revealed

The canyon reminds me of distinctive qualities that have been revealed in my life as the flood waters rose and the winds roared. God used this time to carve out a solid foundation, one where my identity would be firm in Him. He cleared out the rubble from a crumbling identity that wasn’t grounded in Him. He smoothed my rough edges and brought new qualities to the surface. I now see glorious colors and rich textures that have been unearthed through relentless pressure and uncomfortable friction. And I know God’s loving hand was in it all. 

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7 NIV)

Shay Mason profile photo

Shay Mason is a Chicago-area native living in North Carolina. An autoimmune disease and OCD/anxiety overcomer, she is a firm believer in God’s healing love. Her particular passion is helping people go deeper into God’s heart. In addition to writing, Shay loves travel, music, coffee, quirky indie films, and hiking. Shay and her husband Bruce are the founders of Love Inside Out, Inc. in Raleigh and have spent extensive time ministering in Madagascar. They have two college-aged kids and a spoiled Goldendoodle. Shay is a contributor at She Found Joy and a member of Hope*Writers. Her blog The Spacious Place can be found at

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Our constancy in change – Nicole Byrum

A year ago my kids were 8 and 10. My son’s first love was baseball and my daughter was a few inches shorter. A year ago I had not yet published any of my writings, and social distancing was not in my vocabulary. A year ago I still had my granda Haller. A year ago I had no idea I would leave my 11 year place of employment.  

A lot happens in the span of a year. If I multiply this truth by the number of years I have been living, I come up with a mountain of adjustments, trials, and growth experienced. Indeed, my life and this world have changed greatly over the last 38 years.  

The last few months have brought a good amount of change in and of themselves. Unexpectedly, I had the opportunity to join a faith- based private practice. I have been a therapist for 14 years, but only in the realm of community mental health. This employment change has brought about a mix of excitement along with every other emotion imaginable!  

It was probably my way of coping with this chosen change, but suddenly it seemed as though I needed “new” in other aspects of my life. I bought a new bag, new make-up, new shoes, and some other new clothes. (Let’s just say my husband is thankful I’m a bargain shopper.) Although I frequently color my hair, I had my stylist throw in some fun, bright red highlights. I started painting my nails. I even abandoned my regular grocery in favor of a different store.  

I can see how it looks- a little like a mid-life crisis! Perhaps. It also makes me wonder what changes will occur over the next twelve months.      

A year from now I’ll have been actively speaking about my faith during counseling sessions. A year from now I’ll have had one year of experience parenting a middle schooler. A year from now my perspectives and opinions may be different than they are right now. I pray that a year from now I will have more wisdom as well as more knowledge and love for my Savior. The truth is, only God knows what changes are in store for the year ahead. Nonetheless, it’s impossible for me to think about change without thinking about the unchanging nature of God. It’s such a comfort to my soul to know that no matter what changes I endure in this life, God is consistently who He is. No exceptions. He doesn’t need to shift and grow because He is within His eternal nature perfectly holy, perfectly just, and perfectly love. He is ‘I AM.’   

I love that God first revealed His name to a shepherd guilty of murder-to a man who had re-built his life by herding sheep in the desert. If anyone had experienced change in his life, it was Moses.  As a baby he was removed from his familiar surroundings for the sake of surviving Pharaoh’s cruel death edict. He grew up in Pharaoh’s palace after becoming the adopted son of the princess. However, his heritage as a Hebrew man was never far from his mind.  Upon witnessing an Egyptian guard mistreating a Hebrew slave, Moses’ anger led him to kill the man. When Moses discovered his murder had been witnessed, he ran. Palace life to shepherd life.  

In the hot, dry desert God met Moses and through a shrub of all things! An ordinary desert bush used by the God of the universe to grab the attention and heart

of the man who would set His enslaved people free. The blazing yet unconsumed bush beckoned Moses to investigate. Then he was instructed to remove his sandals, for he was standing on holy ground.  Who but God could have written this scene? When God told Moses to go to Pharaoh and command him to let His people go, Moses asked, “Who should I say sent me?”  God replied, “I Am  Who I AM.  Say this to the people of Israel: I AM has sent me to you,” (Exodus 3:14).  

What a comfort it is to know that the God we love and the God who loves us is immutable! He is perfectly consistent within Himself and is incapable of changing. Who He is today is the same from all of eternity. This also applies to God the Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ; “he is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being” (Hebrews 1:3). The author of Hebrews says again in chapter 13 verse 8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”  

This truth is a constant source of comfort in our ever-changing lives. The externals come and go: hairstyles, clothes, shoes, and bags. Jobs and relationships may change. Opinions and perspectives can shift. But the triune God and His Word are forever the same. Praise God that in the midst of change we can rest in His unchanging goodness, faithfulness, and love.  

Nicole Byrum

Nicole is a licensed marriage and family therapist with 14 years of experience in community mental health. She is the author of Remade: Living Free, a book written for women in recovery from substance abuse and unhealthy relationships. Nicole also maintains a blog at as well as a podcast,
5 Minute Word. Both focus on topics related to faith, relationships, and recovery. She lives in Northwest Ohio with her husband and two children. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading, running, or cooking. You can also find her at 

Remade Living Free. Nicole Byrum

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Continue to the route – Krista Hewlett

Life sometimes comes in huge crashing waves: circumstances and burdens that ebb and flow, pounding at our hearts, eroding our strength, our joy, and even our confidence in the Lord.

I am reminded of a weekend some time ago. It was common to have a full schedule for both the Saturday and the Sunday. That particular weekend, though, seemed to have detour after detour written in all the margins and between every line.

continue to the route

Stay the course 

On Saturday, I awoke completely overwhelmed. I felt the full weight of burdens I had been carrying for some time; family illnesses, a friend’s unanswered prayer, chronic pain, ministry weight, the regular demands of life. The whole morning, I moved ever so slowly and delayed leaving for an all-day conference. It was an event I had been excited to attend for months. 

I missed the first two sessions.

Instead?! I ironed a new blouse to discover it had a stain, repeated the same scenario with another blouse, and even mended a jacket; all of which I didn’t wear, by the way. Then, when I finally left the house, I set my GPS and continued on my way, still uncertain if I would attend. On route, my spirit felt especially heavy. So much so that I pulled into a parking lot and began to weep. I did this a few times that morning. I even began to avoid the conference by running errands. “I’ll just jot into the corner store for a sec to grab a pack of breath mints.” 

Every part of me was yelling, “No, I don’t want to go like this”. I was a crying, weepy mess. Thankfully, in my spirit, I recognized I needed to be there; I needed a recalibration. My inner GPS was screaming out, “recalculating”, “recalculating”, “continue to the route”. – Okay, I now realize that the GPS was literally saying these words. With all the stops and detours it is a wonder it didn’t yell, “Just get to where you’re going already!”

I’m grateful that I eventually continued on to my destination. I was able to spend time with friends that I rarely see. It was relaxing and fun, and I received much needed, valuable advice. 

Our spirit will always know what is good for us. Sometimes, I need to self-check, “Is my spirit in line with His Holy Spirit right now?” 

He is the compass   

What is the point of having a compass if we don’t use it to guide our comings and our goings? Why keep my GPS running when I was going everywhere but where it was directing me to go?

We pray, “Thy will be done”. We sing, “Holy Spirit you are welcome here”. We recite Luke 11:10, “For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” It continues in verse 13, that He gives the Holy Spirit to us who ask. Yet, when He does, are we willing to accept what is revealed? Maybe, instead, we continue to carry silent burdens. Do we keep pausing and detouring from our purpose? 

Is it that we ask, seek, and pound on the door of heaven, while in fear of the answer, of what we will see, or what opportunity He is inviting us into?

We can be sure of one thing; whatever His will, whatever His way, it is good.

It’s okay to start over 

The next day, Sunday, I had a coffee meeting scheduled with a ministry partner who is also a close friend. Somehow, we got to talking about an old dream that I had, a personal and meaningful project I had yet to begin. She asked, “What are you afraid of?” 

Many would say I am a perfectionist; I put the weight of a job well done into how perfectly matched the end product appears in my mind. Being a perfectionist can also mean that you need to know all the steps, and have this and this and this, in order to proceed. Yes, being analytical has many benefits. However, much time is often spent over-thinking and overdoing — sometimes meaning delay or even failure to begin. This can leave others with the short end of the stick. It can also mean missed opportunities. So, I answered her question — “I fear failure.”

She replied, “If it doesn’t work out, just start over.” This may sound silly, but it was almost like those three simple words, in that order, were a new revelation to me:

Just. Start. Over.  

You see, failure, for me, meant shame and the constant rehearsing, “If only I had done this”. “I should have done that”. Her tone clearly said — “There is no shame in starting over”. Confiding in my friend allowed me to see from her perspective. It encouraged me that I could embrace the imperfections and allow God the room to do the work.

Delayed dream? Failed business? Broken relationship? Feeling ‘stuck’? Avoiding change? Remember my screaming GPS from earlier, “Proceed to the route!” “Recalibrate!” “Get going to where you’re going!”

If you are able to stay the course, know that there is no shame in starting over — allow the experience gained to propel you. Just start over and watch God do the work. Rely on His help. He promises that if we fall, He will guide us with His light and we will rise again. 

But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me… Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.” Micah 7:7-8 (NIV)

Press on

While my friend continued to encourage me, she added these two words — “Press on”. Press on indicates something has already begun. I began thinking, “What are you waiting for? You should have already begun this project … like yesterday”.

We often hear the scripture recited from Philippians 3, “Press on toward the mark…” When I got home that night, I studied it deeper. 

Philippians 3:12-21 outlines five points that help propel us through whatever changes we face in life, this side of eternity. I pray these words encourage you and offer a means of focus for your tired mind and weary soul:

  • • Look forward and take joy in the progress. 
  • • Follow an example and live as an example. 
  • • Lift your chin; You are a citizen of heaven. 
  • • Work now, as you eagerly await His return. 
  • • He will bring everything under His control. 

I press on … I have not achieved perfection but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us… we must hold on to the progress we have already made. Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. They are headed for destruction… they think only about this life here on earth. But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.”  Philippians 3:12-21 NLT

 Stay the course, start over if you must, and press on! For the King and His Kingdom!

Krista Hewlett is a writer, speaker, and former Regional Women’s Ministries Director in the Greater North Houston Area. She moves and empowers women through transparent stories and valuable insights. Through the word, Krista unmasks the darkness by revealing the light and truth of what God is saying to the women of this time. Her desire is that their gifts and voices would be amplified for His purpose, for kingdom impact – as daughters of the king. Krista holds an Honors Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, and with 15 years of ministering to women across various platforms, you will often hear her say that ministry thrives through nurturing one-on-one relationships. She loves to hear your story and says mentoring young women is one of her greatest joys. Krista and her husband are Canadian-Americans who enjoy the country life in Texas, and spending time with their Son and Daughter-in-law, and newborn Grandson. She enjoys sailing, frequent trips to the UK, and visiting family in Canada. For more thoughts and encouragement, visit: IG: @kristahewlett FB: @krista.hewlett.1

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Strangeness & Changing – Meghan DeWalt

There’s a group of five women who’ve been meeting since June every Wednesday morning. It’s somewhat of a strange little group, five women writers gathering to celebrate, confess where we’re stuck, set goals for the next week, hold each other in accountability—and pray.

This current strangeness. COVID-19 reality. My friends’ daughters’ school and social lives in limbo, always changing. Our writing words, changing. Even this context of our little hope-full circle is a result of changes we all desired to make. To take our callings to minister with words seriously. Investing finances and time to it—obeying our God.

I jotted the words down, this current strangeness, this one morning. Isn’t growth a process of change? Doesn’t change bring about growth? Whether it’s a chosen change—like a new commitment to work with words, that new workout plan, choosing to put down the phone and pick up a book. Or there are changes more often than not we don’t choose. Like living in a pandemic-riddled world. Or when a new diagnosis crops up. Or your location has to change due to a job. Or how church has changed.

If we’re not changing, we’re not growing. But oh the grace and worship there is to be found amidst the “labor pains” of change and growth. Because God our Father never changes. And this is a fact we can stake our lives on, praising Him through all the changes. 

Except these words aren’t so melodically easy to put into practice when the rubber hits the road. But, it is a surefire soul-soothing way for us to practice remembrance of God.

It could look something like this.

Choosing to praise God in the strangeness by borrowing prayers from the Psalms, and letting the words take you to the throne room with brutal honesty and emotion. It may look like doing the next right thing after a pause, and deep breath—whether that be changing a diaper, helping with homework for the millionth time, or pouring a cup of coffee slow, and taking the time to taste it.

Praising God in the strangeness, in your unique pain of these ever-changing times, could simply be taking more time to to kiss your child’s head, sling an arm around the waist of your spouse, calling your mom and really listening and asking questions beyond small-talk. This praising God in the strangeness is a defiant, sometimes loud, sometimes quiet, exercise of faith.

To praise Him in the strangeness is to praise Him in everything. The tension. The waiting. The breath-held, lip-bit decision-making for the near and far future.

Praising Him in the strangeness can look like asking God honest questions. Crying real tears. Saying I don’t know for the thousandth time to your kids or spouse or parent when they ask, “What are we going to do about ______?” Admitting decision fatigue, perhaps decision defeat, because how can any of us know what is the wisest, safest thing to do in the time of COVID?

One of the wisest, and best uses of our time, soul-space, and voices, is to praise God. By using melodies, verses, and choruses to shift our hearts to remember who God is. Unchanging. Our rock-solid foundation. Remembering how all-seeing and all-good and loving He is, even when our circumstances tease us with so many doubts One of the wisest, and best uses of our time, soul-space, and voices, is to praise God. By using melodies, verses, and choruses to shift our hearts to remember who God is. Unchanging. Our rock-solid foundation. Remembering how all-seeing and all-good and loving He is, even when our circumstances tease us with so many doubts as all the questions are raised. Praising God in the strangeness is a powerful weapon, a lifting lullaby to our anxious souls—and a tender offering of our whole hearts to the God who has named every star and knows every hair on our head.

Meghan DeWalt

Meghan DeWalt is an author of stories about remembrance and redemption. A full-time writer, she is passionate about theology and discipleship, encouraging othersto know and love God wholeheartedly in order to live according to their Gospel calling. Meghan lives in Pittsburgh with her husband, Jeff, where they cook, practise hospitality, and adventure together.

You can keep up with Meghan on Instagram, Facebook, and her website:

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Letting go to embrace change – MaryBeth Eiler

Letting go of our plans to embrace change or the life we’ve been given requires a daily laying down of our lives, but it’s a path that leads to a deeper dependence on God and the full life He has to offer us.

MaryBeth Eiler

“Where do you see yourself in five years?”

The question caused me to hesitate. A few years ago, I could easily conjure up an answer—one that stemmed from a five-year plan that held all the things I felt I should be doing alongside dreams and aspirations. A realistic, achievable plan that offered my life a sense of purpose and direction—or, more accurately, a sense of control. My answer today looks quite different.

letting go to embrace change
Photo – Harriet Calfo

Change necessitated by circumstances

I used to view my five-year plan as a roadmap through which I could take on the world—a safety net of sorts. Of course, it wasn’t a specific play-by-play of how my life would unfold, but it did lend direction, something to fall back on when uncertainty crept into my life. At least, that is what I anticipated to be true until my life turned upside down unexpectedly. Diagnosed with a rare, aggressive tumor in my mid-twenties, I was caught off guard. A health challenge was not part of my well-crafted plans. As I grappled with the diagnosis, it became clear I wasn’t prepared.

Sometimes, we walk willingly toward change. Other times, change is necessitated by circumstances outside of our control. As change was thrust upon me with my newfound diagnosis, I fought it every step of the way. I desperately tried to hold onto the life I once knew by convincing myself that maintaining my former life meant all would be well.

Holding fast to my goals, dreams, and desires, I resisted change. Within a few months, I found myself not only depleted but filled with discouragement upon realizing I wasn’t doing much well by clinging to this attitude. Something had to give. Pretending life was normal when it was anything but wasn’t cutting it. I painfully accepted that I had limitations to contend with. My reality required me to let go of the life I had planned and embrace what I had been given. In the process of letting go, I held both grief and gratitude. I grieved the inability to do what I loved, while simultaneously holding gratitude for all I could still do. In letting go and embracing the life I had been given, I found beauty in the present moment. As my striving began to cease, I gained the capacity to see all the incredible ways God was at work—even amid unwanted circumstances. Letting go of long-held expectations and plans was slow and painful requiring newfound grace for my limitations. Over time, I came to realize that there was beauty to behold in the ordinary and the mundane. There was joy to be found when my striving ceased. Life was found in letting go of my plans and embracing what was right in front of me.

Holding plans loosely

Holding my plans loosely created an opportunity for me to see God at work in the smallest details of my life—in the places I had never thought to look before. Such as when fatigue set in related to my rigorous medication routine, no longer needing medication to help with pain management, a full night’s sleep in a comforable bed when sleep was near impossible to come by. A book on hold at the library ready for pickup the day before chemotherapy to keep me occupied.

As my dependence on God grew through the struggle and lack of control, it became apparent that God hadn’t left my side. His presence grew increasingly more recognizable.

Letting go of our plans to embrace change in the life we’ve been given requires a daily laying down of our lives, but its a path that leads to a deeper dependence on God and the full life He has to offer us.

The truth is, I’m not sure where I see myself in five years, but my hope is that wherever life takes me, I continue to rely more on God’s guidance and direction than my own. While I continue to battle against the need for control, I’m learning and relearning that there is more freedom found in letting go and letting God. While my plans convince me that I have some semblance of control over my life, I’ve found God’s plans always pan out better. I’m learning to hold my plans loosely, to bring the desires of my heart to God, and to ask for His guidance and direction. To embrace change. Doing so has allowed me to pay better attention to those hard-to-ignore nudges. Having the future we envisioned upended is hard, but if it’s taught me anything, it’s that resisting change only makes our circumstances harder. Leaning into God as we let go of what we thought our life would look like and embrace the one we’ve been given is how we experience more freedom. May we continue to practise letting go to embrace what is right in front of us.

MaryBeth Eiler profile photo

MaryBeth is a writer who encourages people to hold on to hope as they encounter unexpected challenges in life. As a rare disease warrior, MaryBeth has found God’s provision in her weakest moments and with it the grace she needs to endure. MaryBeth shares encouragement on Instagram @marybetheiler and at

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Finding peace in letting go – Alison Craig

Last Autumn my husband and I were taking a morning walk along a path filled with beautiful Fall colors and textures. The morning was crisp, and the air was fresh. There were countless dandelions dotting the edge of the pathway, floating above the remaining foliage like fluffy cotton balls. I leaned over to take a picture of one. Much to my initial dismay, it was completely falling apart. The seeds that would normally make up the beautiful airy sphere were letting go, in what at first glance appeared to be a complete mess. But as I looked closer, I saw unique details and textures. The dandelion letting go of all its seeds actually had a beautiful gracefulness to it. The dandelion was letting go of what it to needed to in that season.

Allison Craig

Letting go can be hard

Letting go can be one of the hardest things we have to do in our lifetimes. Just like the dandelion let go of its seeds in order to create new plants the following season, sometimes we need to let go in order to give ourselves space to grow. Letting go can be scary because whether it be in a big or small way, letting go can also mean change. But giving ourselves room to grow can result in the most beautiful transformations.

Some of my earliest memories from my childhood include hearing my father play songs on our family’s baby grand piano during the evenings. Some years later, I learned how to turn pushing randomly on those same keys into beautiful music. When my husband and I got married, we were given the piano I had spent so much time playing as a child and teenager.

But the reality was, we really didn’t have room for a baby grand piano, and I was too busy to play it. It was very large for the space we had— it metaphorically ate up all the adjacent space in the room next to our kitchen. After a couple years, the writing was on the wall. It was time to let go the baby grand piano that I had so many fond childhood memories with. I found a friend who was looking for a piano and the problem was solved. I knew it was going to a good home where it would be used and appreciated.

While we may not want to admit it, material possessions are sometimes hard to let go of. Especially if it is something we have worked hard for, paid good money for, or have an emotional attachment to. But letting go of excess materialistic possessions can free up space literally and figuratively for us to focus on other areas of our lives that are worth developing and growing into, rather than managing an overload of belongings. 

Letting go of dreams

But letting go isn’t always materialistic. Perhaps there is a dream or idea you’ve had to let go of. Maybe it is just temporarily, or maybe it is permanent. If letting go of a dream is temporary, perhaps the timing just wasn’t quite right, so letting go just means for now. Or perhaps the idea you had is being revised for an even better plan for your future. Or maybe there is a particular picture in your mind of how your life in general was supposed to look, but things just aren’t turning out that way.

I know personally there have been times where I became so focused on how I thought my life should unfold, I didn’t realize things were coming together for the better. I had to let go of my preconceived ideas of how I thought my life should look, before I could fully see the beautiful life right in front of me.

Letting go to grow

While letting go is often associated with loss and change, it can also be associated with gain. There are countless facets of our lives where we may need to let go in order to grow. I don’t know what area in life this may or may not be for you, but I know it can be scary. Will we regret letting go? Will we not like the change? Will things ever be the same again? So many questions come along with letting go, and sometimes there are things we should hold on to as long as we can.

My thoughts go back to that crisp Autumn morning walk and I remind myself of the dandelion letting go of its seeds. It was done in such a light and airy way, it gets me to wondering—are we putting too much weight on letting go in certain areas of our lives? Perhaps we should shift some of the focus from what is in our lives, to how we live our lives.

Reflective questions

Have you ever felt like there was an area of your life where you needed
to let go in order to grow?

Do you have trouble letting go of material possessions? If so, why do you think this is?

If you feel you have an excess of material possessions, is there a way you can prioritize keeping the most significant or memorable items, while letting go of the not-so-important ones?

Has there been a time in your life where things just didn’t pan out the way you thought they would?

Was there some good that came out of this experience?

Is there an area in your life where you might be focusing too much
on the what, rather than how you are living your life?

Allison Craig is a photographer, designer, and writer inspired by nature and the plants she grows in her garden. Her hope is to inspire others to see beauty in their everyday lives. Her first book, Finding Peace in the Everyday, is available on Amazon.
IG: @autumn.soul

Finding peace in the everyday book cover
Finding Peace in the Everyday
Allison Craig

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Morphing into & with the changes of motherhood – Laura Thomas

Morphing with the changes

After saying yet another heart-wrenching goodbye to a University-bound child at the airport, I head home to the empty nest once more. For me, it’s the reminder that no matter the age of my three grown kids, I’ll always be Mother. Mum. Mommy. Depending on the child. And part of motherhood is morphing with the changes, rolling with the punches, and giving it all to God!

morphing into motherhood

Motherhood is a million little moments that God weaves together with grace, redemption, laughter, tears, and most of all, love.

Lysa TerKeurst

No matter the age of our children, those “million little moments” keep us on our toes as the kids change and grow. It also requires change and growth on our part—sometimes we get it right and other times, not so much. Who among us does not have major regrets when it comes to parenting? We wish we spent more time listening and less time nagging. More down-time and being less uptight. More laughs and less tears. More hugs and less shrugs. 

We are learning beside our children

Hindsight is a gem but, in the moment of mothering, we throw our hands in the air—either in supplication to God or in utter frustration with ourselves—and we do our best. Much of the time we are learning right beside our children, growing emotionally, mentally, spiritually just as we watch them grow physically. And then in a flash, they are packing for college and we realize our time is up and we hope to goodness we have done enough…

What you really want, desperately, wildly, in spite of everything—is for them to remember the good…What every mother wants, her most unspoken need—is a truckload of grace.

Ann Voskamp

A truckload of grace

So much grace. For our mothering, for our kids, and for ourselves. Somewhere along the way we can forget that grace is a gift from God. 

He sees and knows and loves us right where we are. Whether in the trenches of hands-on parenting kids in the home or desperately missing a grown child and wondering what role motherhood is morphing into, we are not in this alone. Not only are we mothers, we are daughters, too. Daughters of the King. He loves us and He loves our kids more than we can ever comprehend: 

Look with wonder at the depth of the Father’s marvellous love that he has lavished on us! He has called us and made us his very own beloved children.

1 John 3:1a (TPT)

As His beloved children, we can come to Him always with our concerns, cares, and worries. He promises to give His perfect peace—and that is exactly what we need in our parenting. He knows that we will always be mom to our kids, just as He is always our Heavenly Father. That role remains even if the rest of our lives are barely recognizable as the family scatters and the nest empties. This is undeniably comforting for our children and for us, too. Mom is who we are…

Motherhood is a gift

We will always have these God-given mother hearts that constrict when our children are hurting and hold an extraordinary amount of love for them—whatever their age. That doesn’t change as the years go by, it merely morphs with our adult kids’ needs and circumstances. We have the privilege of watching them blossom, learn from mistakes, fall in love, follow their passions, and make their faith their own. It’s breathtaking. 

And if we can put into practice continued growth and grace in the journey, we will remember that motherhood is a gift. It’s precious. It has excruciating seasons and brings unimaginable joy. 

It’s constantly changing, unique, exhausting… and the very best of everything.

Even when the nest is empty. 

adult child motherhood

A published Christian author, Laura writes heartwarming encouragement for your soul. She has three Christian romantic suspense novels published, as well as a Christian teen fiction trilogy, marriage book, and middle-grade novel. She is published in several anthologies and writes devotionals, articles, and stories for magazines and online, and shares musings on her blog. Laura is a chocoholic mom of three, married to her high school sweetheart. Originally from the UK, they live in Kelowna, British Columbia as audacious empty-nesters.

Find her at

The orphan Beach by Laura Thomas book cover
A Christian romantic suspense novel by Laura Thomas
(Published February, 2020 by Anaiah Press)

Read about The Orphan Beach on Laura’s website.

The Orphan Beach on

iola bookazine change issue

This article is just one from the Change issue of iola. If you love to put your feet up, savour the turn of paper pages in your hands, with the smell of coffee, and music in the background, and to read something that encourages and inspires, you deserve this issue! Get your issue here.

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Change in life (or how my eye rolls turned to tears) – Abi Partridge

With ribbon thread through cut swallowtail flags from a nine year olds’ t -shirts, (kept for his brother), and small jumpers from his newborn days (kept for nostalgia) – I made bunting. I hung this around the conservatory window-walls where we held his family birthday party instead of the garden because; English summer. Some things never change in life, the English weather is not one of them.

Surely it was only a few days ago he wore those jumpers for a couple of weeks, before his body left them behind as no longer enough. I have been running to catch up with him ever since. I didn’t want to hear it when he was younger, inwardly eye-rolling as the wiser mothers comment “they don’t stay small for long” when exhausted from labour cries of “how long?” and sleepless nights praying “when will?”. Now my pride hates to admit it was true.

I treasured the opportunity to throw perhaps one last party for him and created themed activities and games around what the age of eighteen means he can do. We all celebrated him with temporary tattoos, pirate name changes – voting for our favourites and blood red jelly in syringes (because at 18 you can give blood). The mix of childhood fun and marking of time, mirroring the dichotomy I felt at this time.

Pain in change

I muse over the change in life with a melancholy pain. Why do we wistfully remember and wish for days gone by? They weren’t particularly the “good old days”, or didn’t seem so at the time, as I look back do I reframe it with a rosy filter? What is it that I miss? What is it that I long for?

I miss those chubby hands in mine, the same ones throwing bread to the ducks, then patiently building lego space ships, writing handcrafted cards then essays. My eyes no longer roll but well. I miss the purpose found in him needing me and now I ache with a job somewhat finished. An ache that is both a satisfaction and a yearning.

Change and gratitude

Growth and change provide a gentle release from providing support. Fresh freedom and a strength in us both that only comes through the passage of growth. Life’s challenge to us: move through change, keep up, let the waves of change move, yet support our head, like a buoy bobbing above depth that threatens to pull us to the inertia of the sea bed. I pause a memory of hands holding scooter bars as his text message chimes in, and hold both our past and our present in gratitude.

iola change issue front cover image

iola the change issue is out now! Read more here.