Her advice was simple, her definition of grace even simpler:
“Put change at the beginning, middle, and end of your life – and then you’ll really find Life!”
I stared at her, head slowly nodding as my mind rapidly tried to process the weight of her words. Sipping my tea, I asked her to repeat herself again, and then a third time, so I could truly hear what she was saying, so I could write it down in my notebook, so its simplicity could sink into my bones.
You see, my husband had just been offered an incredible promotion – two states away. Like a jumbled pile of puzzle pieces, the idea of relocating held possibility: most of my family lived there, along with a good handful of friends. The cost of living was cheaper, the pace of life slower, the possibilities for growth outstanding.
All of it looked good on paper, but paper doesn’t necessarily reflect the heart.
And paper certainly didn’t reflect that I had no desire to pack up our house, move eight hundred miles north, and deal with all the newness moving brings along with it.
You see, we’d just moved eighteen months earlier. There were boxes we still hadn’t unpacked and paintings that sat dormant in the basement, still waiting for a permanent spot on our walls. But even more than that, we’d fallen in love with our neighborhood, our church, and even our preschool community.
And the last thing I wanted to do was let go of a place that felt so profoundly us, for a place marked by change and uncertainty and unknowns.
I think that’s why my friend’s words felt like a sucker-punch to my soul.
I needed to be reminded that change is inevitable – and, that if I go into life with an expectation that change is going to come, then I’m already ahead of the game. But just as fall leaves change color and blue skies give way to crayon-box shades of gray, I needed to be reminded that God is present in the midst of it all.
The more I hold onto my need to control and fight to keep things neat and tidy and without the upheaval transition brings, the more I neglect to see Christ. When this happens, I neglect to see the one who is the source of all life, still in the center of everything.
So, I don’t know about you, but for me, I’m bookending my sentences, my expectations, and my world with change – so I might hope to see Life in the midst of it all.