Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Transition of Rest

Photo by Michelle Marie
Transition(s).  Bridging the gap between experience and what we don't know yet.

It's a verb I know all too well.  It's a noun I actually welcome.  It's a lifestyle I've lived for over 10 years. 

And now I am resting.

I went to WCC's Adorn Event tonight where the recently retired Dean of Students at Multnomah Seminary spoke to us about transitions throughout the seasons of life.  She's been a counselor, a pastor's wife, a professor, a dean, a mom, a wife, you name it!  She's recently retired, so she's going through her own transition currently.  Can I just say what wise, Godly, simple advice she bestowed on all us gals.  I am so blessed to call WCC my home. :)

There were single, married, divorced, remarried, retired, unemployed, working, mothers, wives-- every kind of woman there could be-- was present.  There weren't a gazillion of us either.  Maybe 40 total or so.  All at different stages of life, all navigating through or resting from some kind of transition in one way or another. 

The only thing we can be certain of (besides our heavenly father) is that life. Will. Change.

As we were nibbling on cheesecake and sipping tea (us girls just never do get away from tea parties, do we?!) our small table of girls shared and chatted about our own transitions throughout the past few years.  Our table happened to be mostly gals in their mid 20's, and it was interesting to see how normal change was for all of us.  Maybe it's a generational thing, maybe not, but interesting to say the least.  As I reflected on my own transitions, I was kind of surprised to think about how much change I have experienced over the last decade, especially how many times I've moved!

  • Went to college in Washington (1)
  • Moved to Florida to finish out school (2)
  • Graduated from college which brought about a move from Florida back home to California (3)
  • Got a graduate degree.
  • Got my own apartment, first time living by myself (4)
  • Got a new job.
  • Fell in love and got married.  Moved in with my new husband (5)
  • Got a new job.
  • Moved to Washington (6)
  • Got another new job.
  • Moved to Oregon (7)
In the past 10 years I have moved 7 times.  Yikes!  I don't know about you, but I feel like that's a lot of transitioning, just in changing where you lay your head at night!  Not to mention starting new jobs and getting married.  And sometimes I think I want to have a baby soon?! 

Rest.  Just rest.  In Me. 

I hear God's voice tugging at my heart.  No, I've never heard it in an audible tone.  But I hear him just the same. 

Rest, Rachel.  Rest in Me.  In My timing.  In My plan.  In My sequence.  Root yourself in ME.

So how can us gals navigate through the transitions we face and rest in God's purpose?  I am by no means an expert on this.  These were just a few things I learned by listening to this woman's "wow" advice.

Your circumstances may be changing, but you are still YOU.

The toughest transition I've endured was moving to Oregon.  Leaving behind my friends, family, sunshine, and work weren't easy.  I was thrilled at the adventure ahead of us, but as soon as I was cooped up in the dim walls of our apartment I began romanticizing about our life in California and missing it.  I dwelled on my unemployment and my lack of network, friends and church.  I missed my mom and sister.  I missed my bestie Michelle.  I missed going for runs in the sun.  What I failed to realize was I hadn't changed one bit- my circumstances and scenery certainly had, but not me.  I got off my butt and went out for coffee with new friends.  I interviewed for work.  I learned that I love to cook.  I looked through the litteral rain and spotted blue sky.  It's true there is blue sky in Oregon every day- but you have to look for it!

Recognize what's normal and anticipate what's coming.

It's normal to feel homesick during  a transition, but are you making yourself ready to grab onto the new opportunities ahead of you?!  If you see a change coming, what can you do to make yourself prepared?  In my own experience, being aware that I was walking into a Field Traveler's Wife situation made it easier to know what to expect.  The other FTW's told me it would be hard.  They advised I would miss my husband with him being gone so much.  I would be desperate to go out when he got home but he'd probably want to stay in.  I'd love house hunting.  I'd love him coming home.  When these things actually did happen, it was normal for me to feel the way I did.  Even though it was sometimes sticky mitigating through those feelings, I was aware I was not alone.  That in and of itself was a blessing!

Decide what and who you need to say good-bye to and do it intentionally.  Then-- let go.

Saying good-bye doesn't mean you have to forget.  It doesn't have to mean the friendship is over or the memory is gone.   I hate good-byes.  My freshman year in college my mom wrote me a letter and put it in my hand as she hugged me before she left me at the Regents dorm at WSU.  My eyes welled with tears as I read the first line, "Today is the first of a lifetime of good-byes..."  It is so true.  We will constantly say good-bye to people, things and places and hello to new friends, keepsakes and experiences.  Give yourself intentional time to grieve and process, to say good-bye.  Then chin up and let go to allow yourself to let in what God has made room in your life for.

I am in a season of life where I don't expect much change in the very near future (well, at least for another year).  I am in a season of rest.  It is odd to be at this place and know I am here.  Indefinitely.  It's hard for me to rest.  I'm just like my mother; I want a new horizon or a project or an exciting transition.  Yet God is allowing me rest, because the next transition we'll walk through will be one that will change our lives forever.  Kids will do that to you, so I better enjoy this rest before that time is upon us. :)

How do you navigate the transitions throughout the seasons of your life?

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