I’ve never been a girl to embrace change.
In my 9th grade year, my parents bought an empty lot and had plans drawn up for a new house. It was across town and meant I’d have to go to a new high school. Before they ever broke ground, they made sure I was okay with moving to the new high school.
How hard could changing schools be? I’d still be in the same town. No problem, I told them. So house building began.
As 9th grade came to an end, I told my friends I’d be moving to the other high school. I signed yearbooks recalling all the crazy fun we’d had together. We took pictures and hugged and promised to keep in touch.
That summer, our family moved into the new house and all was well. Until two weeks before my 10th grade year.
I went to my mom and broke down crying. “I don’t want to change schools. I want to stay with my friends,” I sobbed.
What a gem my mom is. She began to make phone calls, we met with principals, and the week before school started, I got permission to stay at my old high school.
While I was able to skirt that transition, I’m facing one unavoidable change after another next month.
May kicks off with the college graduation of one son. Two weeks later, he’ll marry his high school sweetheart and they’ll move 1,000 miles away. A week later, another son graduates high school and we’ll begin packing him up for college. And one week after that, my oldest and his wife are expecting my first grandchild.
So much change could undo a girl like me.
But instead of resisting this new season, I find myself eagerly embracing it.
Because a few years ago, there were days I wondered whether I’d ever smile again. Life was so raw, I questioned whether I’d ever again feel true joy. My husband had passed away suddenly and I was reeling from my own wrenching pain, the daunting responsibility of seeing seven children through their own deep grief, and the horrible unknown of an unwanted future.
In those first few weeks, someone shared her own grief experience with me. She said that after her deep grief, she never again felt the lowest lows or the highest highs. I couldn’t settle for that. I didn’t know whether I’d ever feel exuberant joy again, but I determined to fight for it.
I have prayed for it. I’ve pressed through gnawing loneliness and bleak sadness clinging to the hope that God restores. That God delights in giving us abundant, heart-splitting, explosive joy.
And He is doing it.
Yes, this May holds a lot of changes. But these changes are so much more. They are celebrations. They are affirmations that God restores and that He delights in bringing us into lavish joy.
Maybe right now you’re clinging to hope that God can restore.
Maybe you’re praying for a relationship that’s been broken to be restored.
Maybe you’ve got a God-given dream on hold you long to see restored.
Maybe you’re walking through pain and need your joy restored.
If we will trust God with our broken, He delights in restoration.
Come May, there will be tears for the one we miss. But there will also be sweet tears of soul-filling joy for the abundance that is – for new love and new life and new seasons.
I cannot wait to embrace every bit of it.
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When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed.
Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’
The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. (Psalm 126:1-3)