Last year when my sister and I began to explore writing together about transitions, a friend advised, “Don’t write anything on a page that God has not written on your heart.” So this is where we began, we took a posterboard and listed all the things we had personally learned or experienced in the major transitions of our lives. It was powerful. This blog is not just theory from a textbook. These writings come from our stories and journey, what we’ve lived and learned over the years.
Our family has certainly had its share of transition and upheaval. Our combined journeys have included a father with mental illness, parental divorce and remarriage–three times, a spouse with cancer, chronic health issues in the form of autoimmune disease, a child with chronic illness, death of a parent, substance abuse, international relocation, numerous broken bones, church splits, and multiple job relocations. With two husbands, seven children, six dogs, two cats, three guinea pigs, a quail and the usual hormonal ride found in the life of women in mid-life we have covered a lot of territory.
Additionally, my primary work is at a wholistic care center in Southern Spain which provides counseling, training, healing prayer, and spiritual care for missionaries and NGO workers. The bulk of the people we work with are in some form of transition: moving cross-culturally, making vocational changes, seeking healing for all types of brokenness, navigating major conflicts in their work, and/or dealing with theological boxes that have been busted open by the suffering and disappointments connected to their work.
More than anything, they just need to be told they are NORMAL. At any given moment each of us is transitioning in some area of our lives: vocational, life stage, relational, spiritual, health, etc (see my post on “What type of transition are you in?”), and most of the time we have multiple transitions going on.
This blog is designed to be a resource for people in transition. For you. For your family. For your friends. For your co-workers.
If you currently find yourself in transition, I hope to impart to you…
PRACTICAL COUNSEL in bite size chunks. If your life is in major upheaval, the last thing you want to do is read a whole book. You may be lucky to make it through a movie without falling asleep. But you are probably desperate for practical advice. This is a resource blog. I am attempting to distill my learnings and experiences into conventional wisdom that I hope will help you during your transition and/or connect to the links or resources where you can read further.
EYES TO SEE THE BIG PICTURE of what is happening in your transition. Very often in upheaval, our way forward becomes covered with fog; we lose sight of the path and become disoriented. Sometimes our life path has been blown apart by a major crisis (a divorce or death)…and there IS no way forward on the old path. Other times the terrain of your path slowly changes over time– new longings surface, subtle invitations toward a new way of living are extended and you decide to more formally leave the familiar path (as in a career change or desire for a new way of relationing to someone). Either way, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture in our disorientation. I hope to be a resource to keep pointing you back to the big picture trajectory of transition and how to “cooperate forward” on a new path.
UNDERSTANDING OF THE THEMES OF TRANSITION, to orient you to this season of your life. Predictable themes arise. While there is certainly a wide range of “normal” feelings and experiences, some of the most common themes include:
GRIEF for the losses inherent in every transition, whether happy (getting married) or heart wrenching (death of a loved one.)
Letting go of patterns that you have outgrown and moving on to NEW PATHWAYS.
Identifying places where you need emotional, physical, or spiritual HEALING.
Growing awareness of unresolved LONGINGS.
DISORIENTATION, one of the primary emotions in upheaval can lead to confusion, paralysis in making decisions, and increased anxiety.
Discovering NEW ROLES that better fit how you are wired and your passions.
Deeper INTEGRATION of your person into the image of God and to more fully become the person were created to be.
DEEPER CONNECTION TO A REFUGE AND SUPPORT IN LIFE’S STORMS. There is no way I can venture into the topic of transitions without mentioning faith. Upheaval has a way of bringing us face-to-face with our core beliefs about God, self, and others. The fragility of our life’s framework may suddenly become apparent. Our understanding of God may be rocked. Our theology may be challenged. Our familiar pathways of connecting with God may grow stale. In the chaos of change, I hope to point you to the heart of God–the safest place to seek refuge in instability. Ours is a God who is open to questions, strong emotions, and human frailty.
May you receive hope and wisdom from this blog as we journey together,
If I am not writing on this blog... I am either doing a power consult with someone about what they should do with their lives, desperately trying to avoid the chocolate in my kitchen drawer, sitting on my terrace drinking coffee with God, talking a teenager down from the ledge, giving my husband "helpful" insights about how to run our team, or taking a Spanish siesta.