Today is the one-year anniversary of moving into our home in Birmingham. Now, that doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, but this past year has been a huge transition. In July 2018, within a two-week span, 1) we moved into our first home (in a new city!), 2) I quit my full-time job to stay home with our daughter, 3) my husband graduated from his graduate program, and 4) and my husband started his first full-time job. Add a four-month old to the mix for a bit more craziness!
You might think from that story that I love change—you would be wrong. I struggle with change. I have always had a hard time moving on from one season of life to another. My false hope that I can control a situation is completely shattered in times of transition. However, it is when any semblance of self-sufficiency is gone that God has taught me the most. Going off to college, getting married, starting my first job after graduate school—every time I “lost” the control I never really had, God revealed something about myself and about him.
Here are a few things transition this past year has taught me about myself, those around me, and God.
Know your Limitations
Our first night in the house, our washing machine flooded. The new floors were ruined, and we began the long process of replacing them. Thankfully, we had insurance that covered most of the cost, but any notion of getting quickly settled was gone. I couldn’t unpack anything in the rooms where the floors would be replaced—half the house! For a girl who loves order, passing piles of boxes day after day drove me a little crazy. I felt like I wasn’t in control of my own house, and I remember whispering to my husband late one night, “This doesn’t feel like home.”
Through those difficult months settling into a new house, job, and community, God taught me that He is enough, even when I am not. When I can’t plan the perfect move, he is there to sustain and provide for us. When I don’t have my house and life in order, God is still in control!
Hannah Anderson reminded me in her book Humble Roots, that “When we disregard our natural human limitations, we set ourselves in God’s place.” God designed us with limits, and that’s good! Because we are limited, we can rely on the One who is limitless. Where our strength and knowledge fail, he provides himself! The past year God has showed me that I (and my planner) am not enough, and it has made me rely on myself less, and lean on him more.
Find a Community
I longed for our old friends; longed for a conversation that didn’t have to start with basic biographical information. While I would say I’m an extrovert, constantly meeting new people took a toll on me. I didn’t have any girlfriends nearby where I could curl up on their couch with coffee and be vulnerable about my struggles.
During this time, I learned to value the people we said goodbye to in Auburn. I became more intentional about staying connected to them by texting and calling, and we tried to visit more. Though I always had valued those friendships, they became even more precious to me in that transition.
But I also learned the importance of being a good friend. If I wanted to make new friends, I had to be a good friend to them first. So, I was first to sign up to bring meals when someone had a baby. I volunteered to host class parties and showers. I set up playdates and went to library times. A community was not going to fall into my lap; I had to work for it. As we left lunch this past Sunday with other couples in our class, having laughed hard and eaten many tacos, my eyes filled with tears. It had taken a year, but God had blessed us with a community we could not have even imagined.
Praise God where you are
I didn’t like the “in-between” stage I was in. I was in-between jobs. I was in-between houses. I was in-between churches. I wanted to skip the transition stage, and just reap the blessing of our new environment. But God doesn’t work that way. His timing is perfect, and he wants to teach you something as you wait for his good gifts.
I learned that God is a God who provides. He does the impossible, greater than we could ever ask or imagine. I learned that he invites us into his work through our prayers. I learned I needed his grace even in the mundane moments. I could go on and on at how God has grown my faith this year; and it would never have happened if I had stayed safe in my little apartment in Auburn.
If you are in transition today, waiting to be at the next stage of life, look up. Take this time to behold the God who has carried you this far and will carry you further. Don’t rush through this time; savor it—the hard, the sad, the joyous, the new. Remember that in this season, too, God is faithful, merciful, and good. Your hope is in him and not your surroundings.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.Lamentations 3:22-25