I have not written a blog post for over six weeks. Change has come to our household, and seemingly it has come quite suddenly. In a month, my wife’s mother passed away, her father was diagnosed with dementia and needed around-the-clock care, and as a result, my wife has retired from her hospital chaplaincy position. In the last few weeks, we have mostly lived out of my in-law’s house as we tried to take care of things and adjust to the change that has taken place in our lives. There is still much to attend to and, Susanne is free to take care of matters.
Like many of you, we have plans for our lives, and many of you have experienced plans fail because situations came that you would not have chosen. Change is something we thought we understood; we have lived in five states, multiple homes, and had the opportunity to experience a lot of wonderful things; there have been trials but so many victories. I have used the familiar quote, “If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans!” Not all change is good, but neither is remaining the same. Through all of the ups and downs and dealing with decisions that needed to be made on the fly, we learned once again that God is faithful.
Lessons learned when change comes unexpectedly:
- Be prepared. I know that sounds illogical. If unexpected change is coming, how can you be prepared? One way to be prepared is to know that someday it will happen. Something unplanned will happen. In reality, you may need to remind yourself that life is not a smooth-running glide path, but at times there are bumps and even detours.
- Breathe As soon as you can step back and take a breath and realize that you will get through this, it may take a while. Though you have no idea how it is going to work out, never forget that God loves you.
- Lean on your faith. I am assuming you are a person of faith. There were moments when we had the feeling of assurance that God was helping us; we could feel the prayers that were being prayed to give us strength.
- Take some time for self-care. I know that when you are in the midst of this kind of a crisis of change, you are most likely to be running on adrenaline, still sneak in some quiet time. Make time for prayer, sleep, nutrition, exercise, etc.
- Allow others to minister to you. Often the first reaction, when you are going through an unsettling time, is to withdraw. Certainly, this is understandable and, at times, necessary. Do not push away those who care about you and are interested in being of service.
- Never forget: that this will pass. I am not intending to say the hurt goes away instantly or that you ‘move on. I would say the intensity will subside, but the reality you are facing will travel with you.
I have learned a few lessons traveling this season of our lives:
1 God is always there!
2 Friends and family matter.
3 There is power in little things. I have come to appreciate small and sincere expressions from others.
4 Live each day.
5 Pay attention to what is happening in the lives of others.
6 Keep spiritual disciplines
7 Remember your own mortality and the frailty of life
Thank you for your kindness expressed to our family during this time, you are loved and appreciated. Remember change will come, and you can count on the Lord