My daughter’s bloodcurdling scream ricocheted from the garage up to where I sat in my office on the second floor.
I shot out of my chair and sprinted down two flights of stairs. I threw open the door from our mudroom to the garage, calling with no small amount of panic, “Faith! FAITH! Are you okay?!” My bare feet landed on the doormat sitting just inside the garage, just like they’d done a thousand times before. And that’s when I noticed a texture under one foot that in no way resembled the doormat. It was soft, kind of squishy. I looked down and in short order let out my own bloodcurdling scream as I realized I had just stepped barefoot — barefoot! — on a long snake.
I jumped backward, hollering like I was on fire, and shut the garage door between me and it.
After taking a couple deep breaths and giving thanks to God that the creature didn’t bite me, I simmered down enough to collect my wits and slowly, gingerly opened the door again. The snake remained in its same position, folded back and forth on the mat like some kind of sadistic ribbon candy. I called for Faith again, and then I saw her waving from the driver’s seat of the car parked in the garage. Faith, who had been outside, explained that she had proceeded to walk back toward the house through the same garage door before laying eyes on the snake. That’s how she ended up screaming — as she jumped into the car. I looked back at the snake, who hadn’t moved a muscle. As riled up as Faith and I had been about it, it seemed completely unfazed by us.
After double-checking the snake wasn’t poisonous, I began laughing hysterically. Faith, still shut up inside the car, said she wasn’t coming out till the snake was long gone.
Dramatic or not, I totally understood that life decision.
Sometimes I view the difficult change in my life — the kind I don’t want and didn’t ask for — like I viewed that particular snake. I’m walking along, minding my own business, and then this terrible change pops up where I least expect it, and my heart immediately drops to my ankles. Or maybe I did expect the change — after all, some difficult change is expected but still unsettling. When that’s the case, it can still bring unanticipated surprises. It may also bring anything from dread to a good scare to major harm. It may bring instant panic or simmering stress. Either way, its unwelcome presence can spin me up and my anxiety right along with it, and it’s been doing so since my childhood.
Prone to many an anxious thought as a kid and teen, I can still feel my daddy’s arm slung around my shoulders as he’d say, “Now Kristen, just simmer down, honey. Don’t you know God is with you right here, right now?”
I might’ve been studying for a math test or waiting on the dentist, and he would recognize when I began to panic. My daddy’s kind presence reminded me of the Father’s kind presence and helped my breathing to slow, my heart rate to calm, and my mind to clear. When I remembered God was near, my anxiety simmered down.
Of course, as the dad of three daughters, he sometimes also told my sisters and me to “simmer down” out of exasperation as we fought over Barbies or baby dolls or who got to sit in the highly coveted front seat of the car. But more often than not, “simmer down” became a gentle touchstone that turned me from the toxic train to truth — and helped my emotions do the same.
I’m forty-seven now, and how I wish the most anxiety-inducing event brought on by change was a cavity or a pop math quiz. But you don’t get to be my age without encountering change that devastates you physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
The writer of Hebrews tells us, “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible” (Hebrews 11:3).
If God created the universe from what was invisible, then He can create something beautiful from what you can’t yet see in your own life. Don’t see how anything good can come from the hot mess you or your loved one is in? Can’t make heads or tails of what in the world you’re supposed to do next? Well, then, you’re in prime location to see God make sense of the senseless that sits in your lap.
The road you’re traveling may very well have a snake or two stretched across it, and the shock of its discovery may make you scream or run and hide. But hear the Father whisper, Don’t you know I am with you right here, right now? He is as next to you at the dining room chair or the snoring husband or the too-empty space at the other end of the couch. And He gave us His Son to be with us till the end of time.
Let that speak the message to simmer down your anxiety. Dear one, God will resurrect and refashion your devastation into restoration.
Change may come out of nowhere, yes. But wait for the invisible to become visible — it may very well come out of nowhere too.
When Change Finds You: 31 Assurances to Settle Your Heart When Life Stirs You Up is an inspirational and practical book that helps us think and feel differently about change on the inside so we can live and love differently on the outside. We’re excited to give away FIVE copies! Just leave a comment telling us about a time God saw you through a change.
And join Kristen and Becky Keife tomorrow, 10/20, at 12:00pm central on Facebook for a conversation about When Change Finds You!
Here’s to acknowledging our change, giving our anxieties over to God, and abiding well in the days to come — no matter what transitions life brings.
Years ago my husband and I made a move to a town that I didn’t want to live in, even though I knew that God had opened the door for a job there. Thirty six years later, I know that God’s plan was perfect, my fears never came to pass, and that living here was where God wanted to grow us and plant us. I still don’t especially like change, but have learned to trust God to make a way when I can’t see the way. This book sounds like a great encouragement for the times we are living in!
Kristen Strong says
Judy, I can relate to everything you said here. And I especially love this: “I still don’t especially like change, but have learned to trust God to make a way when I can’t see the way.” Amen!
Leave a comment telling us about a time God saw you through a change:
Years ago when my son was 7 I “finally!” became pregnant again. While I was happy about that, I was nervous too, to start all over again with a newborn?! Sadly I had a miscarriage, which devastated me. I was convinced I caused it, that my fears were too much and God was punishing me. 6 months later I was pregnant again and this time happily gave birth to my daughter. God was with me throughout, and continues to be with me, helping me every day.
Kristen Strong says
Wow, Nancy, what a story mingled with heartbreak and celebration. Thank you so much for sharing it with us today. xo
Kim Pojman says
My daughter developed CRPS, a pain disease, when she was 12. It is the highest pain on the pain scale. Trying to find help for her was a 2 year ordeal. Everytime we were told there’s nothing we can do for her by yet another doctor and were referred to another doctor in another field of medicine, it really tore at my faith. How could my God let my child go through all of this? I broke down more times than I can count. I had just too many doctors tell us sorry that I went to my preachers house one evening unannounced and said I need help. We talked and prayed and I felt a calmness come over me. She is now 26 and is almost completely bedridden. We are still fighting this disease and trying to get her back walking again but I still feel the calmness from my Lord. I don’t know the answers to why but I know we can handle it with Gods help
Kristen Strong says
Wow Kim, you bowl me right over with your story here. While your answers remain elusive, your faith does not, and it encourages my own heart. Thank you for sharing here. Sending love!
Ruth Mills says
Due to uncontrolled glaucoma even while under the care of a specialist I have lost enough sight that driving in the rain or at night is no longer possible for me. The need to be taken places rather than go on my own has chafed but God has given me some surprising chauffers & a peace that missing certain things is really ok. He fills the gaps when my ride falls thru.
Kristen Strong says
Ruth, I’m so sorry ~ it must be so hard to lose a measure of freedom such as that. I love your perspective on it, even as parts of your journey must be difficult. Sending you lots of love and gratitude for sharing this part of your story here.
This year has been nothing but changes for me. At work and at home, I have had many things come my way that I didn’t expect or want. I can certainly relate to the analogy of treating each circumstance like a snake. It has been tough, but I have tried to cling to the Lord each day. And He has gotten me through. He is always there. And for that I am so very grateful. Thank you for sharing this encouraging post!
love this… I would have screamed loud too!!!! and do sometimes for some of the surprises that have come out of the blue… change. resisting to look, accept or step forward. Thank you for the reminder that God is always here/there in the change. Walking with us in and through the change, working all out for good, for my good, for His glory!
Lynne Molyneaux says
I am nearing retirement in my career and waiting on God to direct the timing. There have been what I feel are signs He is giving me, but I’m also a planner and want to know what’s next. He’s teaching me to trust Him in the waiting and perhaps step out in faith before He reveals what’s next.
Evelyn Woodhurst says
Right now i am going through a change. I am in the midfle of a horrible devorce. It seemed one day i was married the next, after 33 years, not married. My husband was telling me i just needed to leave, “take what you want and just leave”. This year i had to move my mom into an assisted living as well. So many changes. I know God will see me through.
Brenda M. Russell says
Good morning Everyone, Change is more outstanding since I got married at age 21 years young. Now I have been married 41 years. I suggest all couples embrace Pre-Marital Counseling before they say “I Do” and after they say “I Do”. This advice along with much Prayer is the best “balm” for hurts and wounds in relationships of Marriage.
Change visited me in November, 2018, Breast Cancer. Then a Bilateral Masectomy on January 3, 2019. Oh I can barely remember all the steps to this Change. But my outcome is “No more Cancer” and I am a much more compassionate Wife, Daughter, Mother and Friend. No, I didn’t know that I would become a more balanced Christ Follower but I am on a new Journey of Listening Better to others as they pour out of their hearts a need to be seen and heard.
It’s so important to realize that we are All made in the Image of God, our Creator. This doesn’t mean we all have arrived to being Disciples in the Making. Let’s keep our priorities where God is first in our hearts then the needs of others. We are called to love one another.
God bless your steps and your decisions.
Thank you for your post. I love that your wrote the snake was “unfazed”. I find that I get so upset about hurts inflicted by people who remain “unfazed” by the damage done. I should instead side step the “snake” and say a pray of thanks that I am mindful of my the intentions behind my words and actions.
Melissa M caddell says
Just recently my world crumbled with a loss. My dreams were shattered But God was there. He gave me peace and loved my brokeness
We are waiting for news that may potentially change our lives. While we wait we pray and have faith it will all work out and have faith that whatever it may be, God will guide our next steps.
Going through a very tough season of change physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Some days anxiety threatens to drown me, some days I wake with dread deep in my stomach, some days hopelessness threatens to overwhelm me but God has been faithful, holding me and keeping me steady in Him and I’m so thankful for the gift of His presence with me always. He is indeed a faithful God. I would really love to read this book
God’s seen me through so many changes its hard to pick just one. I think one change for sure was my going from being super fearful about everything to slowly learning to work through the fear and be willing to put myself out there. God was always with me and I have a very dear friend now who I may not have had had I given into the fear I had of speaking to people.
Melissa Ens says
When we moved to Peru and then moved back to CA 2.5 years later, God loved us through each pain, stress, and grief filled step. I’ve always remembered He got me through those years, and He will get me whatever’s next, too.
Carol Garwood says
Our family had to sell our home after being in it 13 years due to husband work relocated- almost 2,hours away-leaving all my family then in that area moved 3,more times
Renting moved back to home town area closer to family
Jesus is my Sustainer and Provider Shepherd
Keeper I have gone through a lot of changes
Change. That unbelievable transition between having someone you love beside you, to never hearing their voice again. That moment that only the promises we believe are seen by our own eyes, not through the glass darkly, but Face to Face once again!!
When my father passed away, not from Covid, but from isolation because of Covid, I realized for the first time I was alone, I was an orphan at 65. My father who adored my mother, simply died of his broken heart in a nursing home, lonely, alone, but still believing the promises of scripture! I like to imagine for the first time in her lovely life, her being able to speak first, as she showed my father around glory! (My father in life was quite boisterous, my mother not a bit)
The changes of this uncertain life are very sure, but so it the God of Faith, the Father of promise, the resurrected One!
Our purpose in this life is to shine for Him, for all He represents, for those loved ones who hold a cheering section in glory for us as we proceed through this world!
Jackie Morris says
Submitting, releasing, surrendering my daughter to God when she was in a dark place and all I could do was love her, be patient and Know God was working and answering prayers of many. He loved her even more than I did and He would be with her and walk along side her or carry her through ….. and me too! ♥️
Anna Gibson says
What a wonderful reminder that God is with us through the tough changes! This summer, I needed reassurance as my son went off to college. I had imagined helping him set up his dorm room, taking pictures, gently settling him in. However, a storm required us to leave him early, boxes stacked in a motel the day before his move in! God really comforted me in the midst of my mama tears. He gave me Psalm 139, reminding me that He is with my son, He has a plan for my son and that my new role is to pray for him. It was so good to be reminded that though I can’t see my son in this season, God is there with him.
My family is dealing with heartbreak due to the death of my grandson few months ago, and some days it’s hard just getting out of bed. Watching my family go through unimaginable grief and loss, and feeling so helpless, all I can do is cry out to my Heavenly Father to bring comfort and His presence near to my family. With the holidays coming, this will bring change to my family, but I must trust that God will be near to us. I would love to give this book to my daughter. Thank you. ❤
My heart and my prayers go out to you and your family, Mary. I hope you can feel God’s loving arms around you.
Andrea C says
God is seeing me through a change RIGHT NOW! I left a great corporate America job to start my own company, something I dreamed about for years. Our family needed more flexibility and all the pieces seemed to fit together at the same time. I’m grateful I was able to make a switch but the transition is still happening and I feel like I’m running scared in a new direction. I know God is faithful and he continues to show up everyday with me and guides me to the next things!
Andrea, having just left a job for more flexibility and family time, I understand the stress of the change. I pray that you will stay strong in your confidence that God is with you through it all, the joys and struggles. Wish you well.
God has seen me through many changes such as job changes, raising a child alone, health issues, etc. right now I am waiting for God‘s message in the next change, having left a job of many years and trying to discern what Direction God wants me to go next. Please pray for me.
Sherry Chatham says
God was with me & restored me after I was in a coma, & left unable to swallow Or move. I was told I would not survive the consequences of heart failure, but God had different plans & walked with me through months of therapy all the way back to the ability to live independently & share Him & His miraculous love with others. Praise the Lord! I had been very depressed & God filled me with Himself & His love, peace & joy!!
Laura Domingue says
I am an elementary teacher and had been working at a low income school for many years and I knew in my heart I just couldn’t do another year. God saw me at the end of my rope and provided a job out of the classroom at the brand new school opening across town (closer to my house) with much less stress than what I had been experiencing and JUST what I needed!! I am so thankful He sees us and knows our needs. I am not praying for an answer to another dire prayer but I am trying hard to remain faithful in prayer until He chooses to answer. Thank you for the chance at the drawing!!
Thank you, Kristen, I needed to hear these words today, and most days lately. Wow, what a year it’s been (death, surgery, fire, disease and theft). I’ve told my Husband that if God creates beauty from the ashes and has good plans for us (no matter what), I’m really looking forward to seeing what God’s doing because it’s going to be spectacular! Although my faith has not waivered, my joy has been drained from my body and soul occasionally; trying to be a light ALL THE TIME can certainly be a challenge, but God, by His grace and strength, has sustained my Husband and I with so many snippets of joy as we’ve clung to each other. I love your words of encouragement, “Dear one, God will resurrect and refashion your devastation into restoration.” Anyway, thank you again. Joyfully, Rondee
Mearla VanDenBerg says
A huge change for me happened in 2013, when my husband of 21 years died, leaving me alone. Very quickly, I realized that God was my only true source of love, comfort & provision.
I am now recovering from compound ankle fractures requiring surgery, almost 3 months on 1 leg & now, a 2nd surgery. When you are totally alone, when no one else seems to care or be available to help, God is your Healer, Comforter & Provider, giving you strength & courage.
There have been too many changes during this last decade to count. From a divorce, moving out of state that most of my life from 5-30 was spent in, to changing many jobs and finally landing somewhere that I love but that isn’t the highest paying job out there, it’s been quite a struggle. A new decade starts a week from today and I keep telling myself I am so ready. The past decade has been filled with loss, sadness, and struggle, but it’s also been filled with tangible reminders of God’s faithfulness as well. It’s easy to forget that when things are hard. I have wanted to read several of her books for a while now, so thank you for the opportunity!
Pam S says
We were evicted from a farm that was my home since I was a little girl (by the new owners). It was a horrible chapter of my life that I wish to never repeat. But God was with my family and I through this BIG change in our lives. He was there when we lived in a tiny apartment for 6 months because it’s all we could find in short notice. He was there when a beautiful little hobby farm came available by a former classmate from high school, so we now have a wonderful piece of paradise right here on earth! He was there through it all! Amen and thanks be to God!
This change I thought was sure to do me in permantley. Think what is the most previous thing to you besides your faith and spouse ( or family ). Our adult son passed July 17 and was in and out of the hospital for 6 months. He was put in an induced coma, feeding tube, and a string of operations. Other things were not functioning.
We were on our way to finally see him and he died before we got there.
So basically , the God provided transportation, hotel, cremation, Griefshare, a couple friends here and our support from where we moved from 2 years ago.I am leaning into Him, because it’s hard losing another child.
Wow! This was good. I’d love to share whether for a chance to win or just for community uplifting. When my husband & I got laid off the same day, from the same department it was so difficult to see why or what the Lord had in store. Looking back on those dark moments of fear now we are able to see how he positioned us for opportunities much more suited to our abilities and strengths, placed us in areas where we could share our faith with new coworkers but the most beautiful of all was seeing, feeling and knowing his continued provision for us. We were able to shine his light for friends and family to see Gods goodness while finding such sweet comfort, mercy and grace for our own hearts, home and marriage in our Heavenly Father. Thank you for the opportunity!
Elaine Pool says
God is walking with me through a possible (huge) change right now. SO scary, but every day, I am reassured that He is with me – all the time. This post was perfect timing for me – thank you!
Sarah McCurdy says
God saw me & my family through many changes but the biggest was when we left our life & ministry in Costa Rica follow God’s leading to Mexico City.
Marie Chan says
Thank you for sharing your story Kristen. It reminded me of how God faithfully provided for my family when we moved across the country and that God was with us in the midst of this major change.
Wendy R. says
When my dad passed away many year’s ago. Due to alcholism, thru the year’s as I got older I understood more and better.
Tina Ursin says
My husband lost his job twice in 2 years so yes we’re going through changes as well. We’re getting into our middle 50’s and change can have you up thinking real hard. Especially since we’re Grandparents of twins this season this September. We’re holding on to the Lords hand in this new change as I was watching my Granddaughter so we’re both not working right now at the moment. Of course the uncertainty is harder on my husband as he’s looking for work in all the weird places. I need to continue to surrender this to our Lord. He knows what’s ahead.
Maria Trebino says
Seven years ago when my husband and I got married, I was working full time and enjoyed everything about it, except the commute which was about 4 hours round trip. Sitting in traffics I would listen to worship music or Christian podcasts. Shortly after our wedding, I found out that I was expecting our 2nd child. That same week, my job was doing lay/offs and I got the call to pack my belongings, it was my last day at work. After being with the company for almost 10 years, I was devastated, not knowing that God had a better plan for me. I am now a stay at home mom and love raising our 3 kids. God has been faithful in providing and I can rest assure that He’s taking care of me and my family.
Ken Lupton says
When I was going through depression, the,Lord sustained me and brought me through to the other side more like Jesus.
Linda Floyd says
My Mom was just killed from Elder Abuse and I feel like I stepped on a slippery snake for the devil himself only needed an inch and he got in and took the most precious priceless gift from me. My beloved Mother, friend, cheerleader, the one who supports my Ministry and who would give a big yahoo every time she heard another young lady or young man accept Jesus as I talk with them on the other end of the phone line. She knew just because I am on oxygen and in a wheelchair I can still reach souls for Christ and get out there! We were best friends and roommates for 22 years and now this home is so empty without her I know I would be at peace if she just died in her sleep, or because of one of her health issues but because of the way she was brutally taken, I am just waiting for my Attorney to give me the go ahead to speak freely about the chain of events that lead to her death. I know she’s in glory waiting for me, and that gives me the peace of God that passes all understanding. It is keeping my heart and mind through Christ Jesus. I won’t let that snake win. Jesus always wins! I put the battle in His hands and get back to work for the Kingdom, and know that Mom is yahooing in Heaven and cheerleading for me there! And when the battles over we shall wear a Crown! I am just trusting God one day at a time for His divine intervention and peace.
Linda Floyd says
My precious Mother was recently the victim of Elder Abuse and is now with Jesus. I couldn’t believe she wouldn’t be coming Home with me. She was SO MUCH MORE than just my precious Mother! She was my roommate for more than 20 years. my cheerleader, my Best Friend, She supported my Ministry! Every time she heard me lead someone to the Lord, you would hear a big Yahoo from the Living Room (my dear friend just reminded me of this during her Memorial Service!). My Home is SO quiet now! The grief has been more than I could bear at first! I really had to learn to surrender my will and the grief over to the loving care of God and say, “Thy will be done.” So I experienced just only healthy grief, and didn’t give that snake an inch to get in! He already got in, and came to “steal, kill and destroy,” my precious Mother, as (John 10:10) says, I am not about to give him an inch to destroy me, or my relationship with the Lord, or my Ministry, and every precious thing my Mother has taught me, and what my Christian Education has taught me, what God’s most precious powerful Word has taught me. That, “He came to give me life, and that I have it more abundantly!” And even though it most definitely “Does NOT FEEL” like the abundant life, without my precious Mom here in the family home, I know she is in Heaven, being my Cheerleader, and each time I lead a soul to Christ, I am sure she is Yahooing with the Angels as they ring the bells in Heaven. I am just going to walk by faith and not by sight and trust the Lord with all my heart, and lean not unto my own understanding right now, and know that He shall direct my paths while He leads me along the paths of righteousness and meadows green until this grief passes and I will just praise Him in this storm, and know He will carry me through the flood and through the fire, and I won’t even get burned!!
Beth Williams says
No one likes change. Unfortunately life moves on & transitions happen. We go through various seasons of life. Some changes are welcomed as children graduate HS/college or get married. Then there are the numerous unwelcome changes. Job losses, moves, divorce, health issues, aging parents, etc. The only constant through all of life is that God is walking this journey with you. He will create something beautiful from that change.
My major change happened in 2016 & 2017. I had to put my aging dad in geriatric psych hospital. I was nervous the first time not knowing what to expect. After one month in hospital God healed my dad better than before. My faith & trust muscles were strengthened immensely. I didn’t want to put dad back into the hospital again. But I knew that God is running this universe & He will bring about an end to this trial. Now my motto is “God is in control & He’s got this”-whatever the trial may be.
Change is usually met with resistance… recently my work life has been a roller coaster of changes… thankfully with God’s help I have been able to pause and not just react, knowing He is my source and all is in His control.
I’m in the middle of a change- we moved to a new area about a year ago, my husband went from pastoring to a sales job, and my oldest just started high school (we homeschool and this is challenging me as well!) God is continually faithful to bear with me through my anxiety, fear, and struggle.