Sometime ago, a couple of big changes clobbered into me, knocking me clean over. When the first change was thrown at me, I thought resolution would never come. But it did, and at that time, I celebrated like it was my job with champagne, hugs, and high-fives.
That celebration brought gloriously good feelings that lasted one whole month, and then the second thing knocked into me in such a way it made the first hit feel like a simple poke in the ribs. Believe me when I say the second change was an ordeal with a capital O.
That second change dragged on and on and on. And while I went about taking care of my family and home by stirring the pasta sauce and buying the birthday gifts and doing the next thing that needed to be done on a particular day, I didn’t have the same joy I had before. I felt guarded and suspicious and so, so tired. No, I felt haggard. Even after positive resolution finally came (thank you, God!), my heart couldn’t shake that worn-out feeling. Grateful? Oh yes, infinitely so. But joyful? Not so much.
So I carried this heavy feeling that wasn’t depression yet wasn’t my normal self, and eventually I mentioned it to my life (and business) coach. I told her how confusing this period was because much of my circumstances had returned to normal-ish. “Why can’t I snap out of it,” I asked? And while I had family and friends who gave me safe, helpful places to process all the events, it was she who helped me name the message I’d somehow internalized inside:
If I become happy, something bad will happen again.
If I become happy, a difficult change that’s worse than the others will do me in.
Now, in my head I know I don’t have the power to control what happens beyond my own actions. Yet this lie-imposing-as-truth message pushed into the soil of my heart, and it grew and grew, watered by fear and a false sense of control.
At that moment, I realized I stood at a fork in the road: Was I going to believe that any change threatened to knock me outside of God’s protection and care, that He gets a kick out of pulling the rug out from under me? Or would I be able to rest in what I’d said to be true — that God is always for me and all that He allows into my life is for my benefit because He loves me?
I prayed and prayed, and one day the Lord gave me this message in my heart:
I move from abundance, not scarcity. Look at all the ways I’ve been faithful in the past, and know I’ll be faithful in the present and future.
I knew He wanted me to know that whatever changes come, He would not dole out crumbs to me. He doesn’t dole out crumbs to any of us. His Son Jesus is proof that He moves behind the scenes to set us up for the abundant life — even when what stands in plain sight seems anything but.
When I wrote my first book on the subject of change in 2014, I knew I’d already lived through a lot of transition. As a longtime military wife, change was the name of the game. And when my husband, David, retired from active duty, he and I continued to meet change in entirely new ways. We both lost our dads within six weeks of each other. Our relationship with our kids evolved as they grew up and out of the house. We’ve met health struggles and marital strains. We’ve watched loved ones fight uphill battles that might as well have mowed down our own hearts with our John Deere tractor.
And this says nothing of 2020, the year I tapped out most of When Change Finds You, when the pandemic became the undercurrent jostling so much change, tiny and tremendous.
A while ago, I drove to Denver to record the audiobook for When Change Finds You. And after reading that thing from top to bottom, I cried for two reasons. First, I cried because I believed in my bones that this book delivers what it promises — that God delivers good things through change. And second, I cried because I sensed real joy in my heart.
Difficult change that I didn’t want or ask for still affects me today. But I can see how the change of the past has grown good things, and I can know that present and future change will grow good things, too.
When we come to a fork in the road that asks us whether or not we will trust God to use our difficult change for good, may we know God is believable and His promises in the present are proven by His faithfulness in the past.
God moves from abundance, not scarcity. He will use this change for good because His presence — and His love — are here to stay.
May you and I persevere as we see how our hard change is written into a good life story along the way.