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2 In Book study

Embracing Life’s Transitions // Week Four

Thank you for being here each week. I am so grateful to have you along on this journey. I hope you are enjoying the book and the study.


Last week we learned the importance of taking time to grieve through our losses and changes. I’ve been chewing on that chapter all week.

This week we are learning to “let go”.

Easier said than done.

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It’s so much easier for me to look back and give God thanks for what He’s done and where He’s taken me in my life. It’s another story to look forward, sometimes…most of the time blindly and trust God. Even though my heart reminds me that God has great things up ahead for me, my mind often wonders if I will ever arrive at my destination.

I have been reminded this week that I am still holding on, wanting control over a future that only God is fully aware of yet. He invites me to sit back and enjoy the ride, but all I want to do is bump myself into the driver’s seat and hurry onto the next thing.

This season of change is hard, but do I trust Him enough to bring me through it?… Click To Tweet

I look back at the road and am reminded that when we are confronted with difficult change, time doesn’t heal all wounds–time with the Healer does. Time with him spent giving up what I think I want for what God knows I need.  Yes, I have to learn that sometimes giving up is the right thing to do. We give up by believing in faith that sometimes we are asked to sacrifice good things so God will give us best things. – Kristen Strong, Girl Meets Change

Time doesn't heal all wounds--time with the Healer does. #embracinglifestransitions… Click To Tweet

Even though we can’t see the end from the beginning, and the middle is sometimes murkier than ever, can we trust that, when we have the faith enough to let go, God will give us even better things?

I was really impacted by the part of this chapter that talked about having a flexible spirit. A flexible spirit does not hold onto a lost dream or try to control the outcome of change. A flexible spirit freely gives the dream back to God, trusting for His best in the process.

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A flexible spirit freely gives the dream back to God, trusting for His best in the process.… Click To Tweet

When seasons of intense change loom around us and shake us to our core, we remember God can’t help but keep his promises. His character reflects it and his history proves it. With a more flexible spirit and a strengthened outlook, we see that the change sitting in front of us is not our stumbling block to contentment but rather on of the stepping-stones toward it. – Kristen Strong, Girl Meets Change

So I’m giving up. I’m letting go and embracing a flexible spirit. Care to join me?

 

8 In Book study

Embracing Life’s Transitions // Week Three

I want to thank you for your grace and patience with me last week. I got behind on my reading, and then life happened, and then I completely forgot to finish the chapter and put up the post. In order to stay on track with our completion date, I will have a reading assignment during the week of Christmas. The good thing is the chapters are short and you shouldn’t have to spend more than an hour or two reading. I hope you are enjoying the study!

My heart really connected with this chapter. I found myself shaking my head a lot, whispering “ain’t that the truth” and shedding a tear or two. This chapter is so rich in wisdom and truth.

God wants us to lament. Complaint doesn’t see the goodness of the character of God. Lament is authentic about the feelings but knows the goodness and benevolence of God. – Ann Voskamp

This quote really stuck out to me. I realize that much of my hard season of change over the last four years has been spent complaining. Complaint doesn’t see the goodness of the character of God.  God gives us permission to lament over our losses.  Lament allows us to experience real feelings, but understands that God is still good.

It’s easy in a season of loss to shift our focus on to all that is wrong, or all that we feel is wrong. Change will either move us towards God, or away from God. #embracinglifestransitions… Click To Tweet

I’ve told myself countless times to “just get over it”. And I’ve heard the same from some very well meaning friends of mine, or so it appears. After all, if I accept the truth that God has great plans for me and guides my every step, then why is it hard to accept the loss associated with change as a good thing? I should be able to just get over it, right?

Nothing could be further form the truth.

Change brings loss, and with loss comes upheavals and upsets. We are annoyed at ourselves for not being able to totally move on and see things clearly when in reality we can’t because we stand in the blur. – Kristen Strong, Girl Meets Change

We resent our humanity and weaknesses and do our best to hide them, and in the process we blow off the state of our own hearts and let the hard stuff change brings simmer in our souls. We don’t allow ourselves time to grieve the loss of the way things were before.Kristen Strong, Girl Meets Change

We all grieve differently. Whether you are grieving the loss of a loved one, a marital break up, a wayward child, job loss or something else, we must give ourselves the grace and space to reorient ourselves in the unfamiliar blur.

When we had to sell our house back in 2010, my life was a blur. I never thought I would ever feel at home in a rental. It took about two years until I was able to stop grieving and start looking toward the future. I will admit that at certain times and in certain ways that loss still stings a little. I may not yet be fully healed from it, but I’ve come a long way.

We must give ourselves permission to be angry, and to allow the tears to flow. God understands our feelings and we might as well express them to Him, being upfront and honest, so that the healing process can begin.

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Losing A Dream Hurts In The Deepest Places

We all have dreams. And when those dreams come crashing down and are no more, it hurts. Deeply. I am so thankful that God does not put a timeline on our grieving. He is patient, loving, caring, and grieves right alongside of us over our losses.  I love what Kristen shares about how we all have our own timetable of grief and healing. And although we don’t want to sit and mourn our losses until we go to heaven, we have a patient God who walks with us through the transition.

We must be patient with ourselves. And we must be patient with our fellow change-grievers too. – Kristen Strong, Girl Meets Change

I think I am hardest on myself. Sometimes the depth of my sorrow over lost dreams consumes me. I question God. I question myself. I question the choices of others. I get frustrated because I can’t seem to move on into a place of joy and living again. Knowing that God understands my sorrow and allows me time to mourn is a great comfort.

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When the loss change brings leaves you in a blur, don’t just get over it.

Get through it by asking the difficult questions out loud.

Get through it by giving yourself grace amidst the blur.

Get through it by acknowledging the hard feelings while holding on to God’s truth.

God will hold you through the transition. Make sure you hold on to Him too.… Click To Tweet

5 In Book study

Embracing Life’s Transitions // Week Two

I’ve learned the hard way that change can push us, pull us, rebuke and remake us. It can show us who we’ve become, in the worst ways, and also in the best ways. – Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet

Kristen opens chapter two by telling the story of her cousin John, and how his 6.5″ would intimidate those who crossed his path.

Are you intimated when change crosses your path? #embracinglifestransitions #girlmeetschange Click To Tweet

We can try to run from it, but we can’t hide.

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I don’t handle change well. I like routine, for things to look and feel the same. I get comfortable with a part of my life and I want to hang onto it for dear life.

I will admit, change invokes a certain fear in my heart — even the good changes.

But what if I were to choose to not give in to the fear that change brings? What if I, as Kristen so beautifully pointed out, chose to walk toward it with an assurance of safety. What if I could really acknowledge this change as God’s next best for me?

We can open our arms towards heaven knowing that this change, no matter how intimidating, is approved by a good, gentle and gracious God who desires us to see and feel him in our every day lives.” – Kristen Strong, Girl Meets Change

 Just how God gives us a fresh, new and different sunrise each day, so our lives are made of moments that differ and change with the wind, all to bring depth to our story.

Outward Change

I am so quick to look at my surroundings and my circumstances and think that’s it. I’ve lived the best part of my life and it’s all down hill from here. But the story doesn’t end just because my circumstances change.

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I love how Kirsten shared the story of Joseph. This man, full of hope and promise, thrown into prison.  Boy did his circumstances change! But he chose to believe that God could use him there, in that dark and desolate place, and that God would somehow bring him into His purpose. Wow!

Joseph’s story did not end with him low in the pit. And it won’t end for you there either!

Inward Change

If anyone had reason to be unsettled due to an inward change, it was Mary. Imagine being visited by the Angel of the Lord in your young, teen years and being told you, a virgin, were to give birth to the Christ child. Mary had every reason to turn and run. But instead, she simply said “yes”.

I am the Lord’s servant…May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her. (Luke 1:38 NIV)

Mary said yes to this change and was willing to face ridicule because of it. She truly believed that nothing was impossible for God.

I have a long way to go in accepting change as Mary did. Instead, I mumble, groan and complain and want to throw a giant, “why me!” pity party. I’ve been known to ask God to find a way for me to escape the change, but in His wisdom and love, he reminds me that the only way out of change is through it.

The only way out of unwanted change is through it. #embracinglifestransitions #girlmeetschange Click To Tweet

Sometimes God brings us into a difficult season of change to grow and mature us. We often will not see the purpose behind it until we’ve come through it.  All the while we must remember that change is not the end. God’s grace and goodness are.

Kristen reminds us that just as God did for Joseph and Mary, He will use the change to carefully and purposefully weave His blessings into our lives.

What are you battling with the most? Inward or outward change?

How has Chapter Two impacted you? I would love for you to share in the comments below.

16 In Book study

Embracing Life’s Transitions // Week One

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The first line of the first chapter stopped me. I had to sit and ponder. And then I had to ask of the Lord. “Really? Are there really far better things ahead than what I’ve been asked to leave behind. Because really, Lord, I thought what I had was pretty good.”

“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” – C.S. Lewis

How about you, my friends. Did this quote stop you and leave you pondering or questioning your current season?

Sometimes the pain that change brings is unbearable. You can almost feel it from the inside out as your heart cracks open and your gaping wound is exposed. At least for me, that is the way I’ve felt through long seasons of change. Some changes are welcome with open arms and hearts, yet I’ve kicked and screamed my way through, wondering where God was in all of it. Why is it necessary? And if it is His plan, why does it hurt so much.

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I can imagine the life Kristen had dreamed of, and yet, she was no sooner married then she was asked to pack up and move cross-country.  As if being a newlywed and married to an air force officer wasn’t enough. Kristen had to fasten her seat belt and prepare to meet change head on.

Have you found yourself asking these questions of the Lord in your season of change?

“How am I supposed to make room in my heart for the new realities change brings when I want nothing more to do with change in the first place?”

“How can I live my life well when life feels completely unfamiliar and foreign?”

Where do I find contentment in the middle of this messy change? #girlmeetschange Click To Tweet

For me, contentment (or the lack thereof) has been a huge part of my long season of change. From the time my husband lost his job over 4.5 years ago (thankfully he’s employed now), to the time we had to short sell our home of 16 years, to having to sell cars and jewelry just to eat, to my most recent layoff and having to settle into a new job — in all of it I realize I’ve been searching for contentment.

It's not that I didn't know how to be content. I didn't want to be content with change. Click To Tweet

Acknowledging that God wants to be in our lives more than those things we hold onto is the first step to acceptance, and the first step to contentment.

When your life is suddenly turned upside down by change, you have two choices: accept or reject.

“It takes time to maneuver the rough textures and shadowy shades of change that dips its fingers into all parts of our lives. It takes time for our hearts to accept it. But when we do learn to accept it, we see how God uses it to take us from the (Arbuckle) wilderness to our own (beach) paradise.” – Kristen Strong, Girl Meets Change

I don’t now about you ladies, but I’d much rather be sitting on a beach in paradise somewhere than wandering around in the wilderness unsatisfied with where I am in life today.

How has this first chapter impacted you?  What stands out to you the most? I would love for you to leave your thoughts in the comments below. You can also visit me on Facebook.

Next week we will discuss Chapter 2 – The Way Change Moves.

17 In Book study

Embracing Life’s Transitions – Week 1 {Introduction}

I’ve been anticipating this book study for a while, and I am so glad that you are here. Whether you will be reading along with me, or just reading blog posts and interacting through comments when you can, I am so excited you are here. If you haven’t already liked my Facebook page, I would love to have you visit me there as well. I will be sharing insights and quotes there a couple of times each week.

This week’s post is introductory in nature and I hope to leave you a few nuggets to chew on as we head into our first full week of reading.

EmbracingLifesTransitions_week1This quote from the Forward hit me square in the face. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been kicking and screaming against certain changes in my life over the past few years. God is so patient with me. I can almost see him standing in the corner, with His arms folded, with a smirk on His face as He reminds me that when I’m done having my fit about my circumstances, He is right here.

Change is seldom easy. It’s hard to adjust to moving in a different direction when you’ve been walking along the same path for years. And then suddenly, everything changes. Perhaps God is calling you to move to a different state away from family and friends. Perhaps He’s calling you to change jobs, leaving behind what has become familiar and safe for many years. Perhaps you are going through the heartache of a broken relationship. No matter the change you are facing, know this:

“It is possible to thrive even if the change looks like the exact opposite of the path you’d prefer.” – Kristen Strong, Girl Meets change.

And that, my friend, is how we will learn to embrace change. We will choose to believe that God will bring us into this new season not to merely exist, but to thrive!

We do not walk alone. God will hold our hand until we come through to the other side. Click To Tweet Our job is to trust Him. But first, we must surrender this season of change to Him and believe that He is working all things in our lives out for our good.

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I am so excited that you have come along on this journey. My prayer is that we will learn to accept our current circumstances as a gift.

Join me next week as we discuss Chapter 1.