One of my all-time favorite quotations is, “Change is fun . . . you go first.”
My readers are smart, so I know that you picked up a vibe from my last post, “Growing Up”, (and most likely, posts prior), and saw this one coming from a mile away.
A fellow parishioner, a young mother of three, approached me one Sunday morning and apologized for not calling me yet about the curriculum I’m selling. That’s how our exchange began. I surprised myself by telling her, “You know, it’s the middle of October. School should be well underway by now but we’re done. I don’t know what to do with myself. Being a mother/teacher has been my life for over the last 20 years. If you think of me, pray for me. This is like a major career change.”
That’s when it hit me. God did call me to educate my children. I hope to continue to inject wisdom and knowledge into them for the rest of my life, but our formal education, our pattern and habit of learning, is done. Totally over? No. While I am at this moment writing, the three of them are sitting at the table singing Christian songs and assembling Lego block kits. Not long ago, I was talking on the phone with a friend and needed to break for a moment to answer a question.
“I don’t care what you do,” I answered the girls, “so long as I don’t have to clean up the mess.”
When I returned to the conversation with my friend, I said, “They’re making chalk.”
“They’re making chalk?” I could hear the amazement in her voice.
“Yeah, school’s out but we continue to experiment and learn.”
“They’re making chalk,” she repeated in awe.
Yep, stuff like that is still going on. But it’s not the same.
I feel their wings stretching. I feel them reaching beyond these four walls. It’s frightening and exciting all at the same time.
And me? I don’t know.
It feels like too much, this transition with my children coupled with a mile-marker birthday. Why do the decade markers feel so ominous to me? My husband says, “I don’t understand what your problem is. It’s just another day.”
But it isn’t.
I keep on wondering. Where do I go from here? Is anyone else out there feeling it too? Maybe you’re a parent for the first time, maybe you’ve lost someone that you never imagined you could live without, maybe a health issue has blind sided you, maybe you’re beginning new employment or find yourself going back to school, maybe you have been slammed with the sudden realization that you are parenting your parent. Whatever it is, you find that you are with me in transition, change is knocking at your door, but you’re hesitant to open it and discover what’s on the other side.
Maybe, like me, it isn’t the mere wondering about the future that’s getting you but the pondering of the past. Like me, maybe you’re asking yourself, What have I done to amount to anything? I think it all boils down to this: I want my life to matter. Don’t you?
Perhaps because I’m a book person, I like these two quotes:
“You can’t change the past. You can’t even change the future, in the sense that you can only change the present one moment at a time, stubbornly, until the future unwinds itself into the stories of our lives.” ― Larry Wall
“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” – C.S. Lewis
Sometimes it’s difficult to quiet the fear that comes with the voice of change, but it must be done to keep one’s sanity. I find it best to cast my cares upon the LORD, ask for direction, pray in the Spirit, and return to praise . . . often. That’s the only way I’m going to conquer this season of change in my life. That’s the only way I’m going to conquer anything at all.
The quotation from Larry Wall especially speaks to me. I hear “habit” written all over it. I came across this cute yet profound thought: Habits — you are what you repeat. And then this word of wisdom: It’s not what you begin that matters, it’s what you finish. That reminds me of the scripture verse from 2 Timothy 4:7:
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:”. . .
Writing this has been my therapy. I believe this new chapter in my life is to introduce productive habits into my daily routine so that I will finish what I have begun and, sad to admit, I have many unfinished writing projects. Yes, I hear you, Bob and Denise. Even more so, I hear You, LORD. Habits aren’t formed overnight but I am willing to be shaped by You. I thank You in advance for Your long suffering and patience and guiding me every step of the way.
Dear Reader, if you have found yourself in a place of transition, then perhaps you will look at this verse from 2 Timothy 1:7 with me:
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
What I especially wanted to focus on is “sound mind”. It translates to discipline, self-control. Fits like a puzzle piece into our quotations about habits, doesn’t it?
It makes me think of what I consider to be the mother of all scriptures when it comes to shaping our lives:
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2 KJV
Renewing of the mind doesn’t happen overnight but little by little. If we are consistent and persistent we will think like Father God and do as He would more and more. We’d have an abundance of the fruits of the Spirit if we’d condition ourselves God’s way. Difficult? Yes, especially at first. Impossible? No. Worth the effort? Definitely!
I hope you will continue to join me on the ultimate transition from planet earth to Heaven. If this has encouraged you, please let me know and share. Let us strengthen one another.