Transitioning with Grace
A year ago, we would have no way of knowing that our world would look the way it does! As we move with the changing times in global and personal ways, do you ever feel like you're going through season of transition? I sure do! It’s such an encouragement to know that God is ready to walk with us through every bend in the road, even when we aren’t sure what’s around the next corner.
For me, this year has offered a handful of massive, hair-pin curves in the road that I never saw coming. After my father passed away in January, I moved across the country, planted a ministry in Texas, restored a log home... new relationships begun and old ones resurrected. I’m sure you have a story for this season too… and the COVID-19 pandemic has added a whole new measure of challenge to the mix, right?!
Here's a few tips on how to walk through seasons of transition with confidence and faith. It’s not always easy to navigate the future, but God is with us in the PRESENT to supply everything we need to travel ahead with him.
-Be honest. It’s easy to smooth things over when we’re feeling a little ruffled. Sometimes we just need to be honest with ourselves and God that life is a little harder than normal. In those moments, it helps to find a safe friend to talk through the challenges of the season with. A listening ear and a heartfelt prayer can make all the difference.
-Be aware. Sometimes the enemy of our soul tries to take advantage of our vulnerability during transition. Realize that if you are feeling especially anxious, frustrated, or if your relationships are a bit crazy, there may be spiritual warfare involved. Pray Psalm 91 and Ephesians 6:10-19 out loud, even daily when needed.
-Be connected. When one area of “normal” is in transition, recognize the safe relationships in your life that are strong and are not changing. Spend extra time being thankful for those people in your life, and take a few moments to tell those people you appreciate them.
-Be fluid. Chances are, you’ll need to do a little growing in the season ahead. Recognizing the need for tools, ideas, and priorities will help leverage your ability to succeed. Stay teachable and coach-able, knowing that the Holy Spirit will offer new opportunities for you to grow in fresh ways.
-Be thankful. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the drama of the moment – remember to pause and thank God for all of his goodness in your life! Make a list of a few things you’re thankful for, helping you stay in a position of gratefulness during life’s unavoidable changes. It’s a good time to practice this verse:
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true,
whatever things are noble, whatever things are just,
whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely,
whatever things are of good report,
if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--
meditate on these things.
No matter how the season changes, God is faithful! When we draw near to him, he is able to lead us through life, each step of the way.
Prayer: Father, thank you for being with me during this season. Help me to focus on you, trusting you to lead me each step of the way!
During this season of cultural pressure and concerns, many people find themselves in a “holding pattern” in life, as they wait for travel, work, and schools open after the COVID-19 outbreak. Additionally, social distancing has made the practice of healthy community very challenging. It's a difficult season, right?
Through it all, God still moves. He weaves his threads through the warp and woof of our lives, undaunted by the chaos of our broken world.
waiting for His whisper
to rise above
the clamor of every other voice.
We shut our ears
to the noise,
stilling our souls,
'til his words
drop like stones into a still pond:
filling our world
with ripples of his goodness.
As we listen, our ears become acutely attuned to the one-on-one counsel he gives. For many of you, he may not be giving a life outline for the next five years, but does bring counsel for the week... day... moment.
Sometimes discovering God's next step for our lives means listening for his heart moment by moment during the day. Its both uncomfortable... and very intimate.
He pulls us close to hear his voice. And each day, we follow -- aligning our heart with his, as he provides each step we need.
Just as Christ draws near to offer hope during difficult times, I encourage you to find ways to reach out to others. I've heard many sad stories from my single friends about how they haven't received a hug in months or how no one from their community is checking on them.
Obviously, each one of us should respect the medical authorities and personal convictions of ourselves and others. However, there are so many ways to show the care and love of Christ, especially in this difficult season. While the world is self-isolating, maybe it's time to practice "social nearness" in healthy ways.
Recently I chatted with an elderly couple who felt very isolated, yet they were experiencing incredible kindness from others even while social distancing. A man who is a public entertainer reached out -- they had been instrumental in leading him to the Lord several decades ago. When he learned that the husband had recently been diagnosed with dementia and the wife had become his full time care giver, he began driving an hour across town twice a month to bring fresh groceries to their front door. No health or safety boundaries have been violated, and this dear couple receives the comforting care they need during their especially trying time.
Maybe you have a neighbor who could use checking up on. Or perhaps there's a single person in your neighborhood who needs a helping hand or just a friendly word. Finding creative, healthy ways to love can be an incredible way to share the heart of Jesus during these times!
Prayer: Father, please help me to silence my soul and listen for Your still, small voice. Tune my heart to hear your guidance for each step of the journey. Give me creative ways to love others, even during this time of isolation and fear, knowing that your light shines brightly when the darkness is thick. Thank you for being close to me, even during these tumultuous times!
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