Transition: Arrived!

This is Part 3 of the series on transition.

showers of blessings

It’s been awhile since I have written because I have been happily nesting in our new home. And, yes, there is a crazy story about finally getting here because we are NOT in the sadly neglected house mentioned in the previous article about transition. So many lessons learned during this amazing (and amazingly stressful) transition that I can’t think of a single title that begins to cover them all.

It has been a year since my mother passed away and my transition into a life without a living parent began. During this year, I managed to survive settling her estate and moving into a much larger house to accommodate my adult son. Jay is intellectually challenged and really needs a space to call his own. Sam and I thought we had found a house that would suit all of us. It was a gorgeous old girl, but it needed lots and lots of expensive work.

Finding a house that would work for us all, that we could afford, wasn’t easy. So we felt really blessed when our bid was accepted. But then things started going crazy. The closing date kept being moved forward because, unbeknownst to us, the sellers were in bankruptcy. I grew more and more anxious as time rolled on until finally, after another night of tossing and turning, I completely disrupted our plans by calling our agent and asking if we could look at some other houses. It was the call she had been waiting for apparently, because she immediately canceled our pending contract (we got our earnest money back) and set up appointments to view other properties.

This all happened without Sam’s knowledge. He had gone birding (shorthand for bird watching) with some of his buddies, leaving me alone long enough to hear from God without interruption. (I live in a busy, noisy house. Even my two cats are noisy … and opinionated). As soon as I made the call to our agent, the peace of God came crashing back and resumed its rightful place. I had missed that peace.

So what was Sam’s reaction to my high-handedness, you ask? He was profoundly relieved one of us had made the call. Because, you see, he thought I had my heart set on that house AND I thought he had his heart set on that house. We wanted to please each other so much that we ignored our anxieties, forgetting that we are supposed to seek the peace of God … not satisfy the whims of our spouse.

Lesson Learned! Seek the peace of God, stupid! I mean really! How could we have forgotten that? It is so very basic. And if you are tempted to correct my confession, please don’t. Just don’t. Nothing is more stupid that a human doing their own thing. Let’s be honest about it. That is why we need the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).

Lesson Learned! God will yank you back from the ledge if you will show just a little bit of gumption. The day before I cancelled our contract on the grand old lady, I was overcome with the oddest sensation. I felt like a bride conflicted about her upcoming wedding. I really didn’t want to marry my fiancé, but didn’t feel like I could back out because of all the time and money invested in the ceremony. Plus, I couldn’t disappoint everyone or bear the embarrassment! I felt trapped!

God had nailed how I felt about marrying that old house. But I still had to make the call. I had to risk missing out on a wonderful house. I had to risk disappointing and upsetting Sam, Jay, the sellers and our real estate agent. I had to risk following God.

Lesson Learned! Following God is worth the risk. Two days later we found our house! It’s not perfect, because nothing is this side of heaven, but it is near perfect for our needs. The moment we walked through the door, all three of us felt the presence of God and his assurance that this was it! We moved in about three months ago and I have been busily nesting ever since. So fun!

But what if I hadn’t followed God? We would be spending our little bit of money putting on a roof instead of buying an awesome sofa. We would be having a HVAC unit installed instead of kitchen counters. God would be patiently walking us through the challenges of fixing up a sadly neglected house on a budget. In other words, we would be learning our lessons the hard way. And one day, down the road, we would face another risky decision that required us to choose between following God or following what had been set in motion.

Let me pray for you (then I’m going to paint my new – found it on the roadside – coffee table).

I pray that God will give you the gumption to follow Him, no matter the risk. And I pray that He will give you ears to hear clearly when He calls you to those kinds of decisions. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

And remember! Seek his peace!

Hugs and blessings to you all,
Susan

thepool@thepoolministries.org
205.556.4555

(Leave a message when you call. So many spam calls these days, we don’t answer unless we recognize the number. So leave a message).

And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

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Transition: Are We There Yet?

showers of blessings

I will cause showers to come down in their season; they will be showers of blessing. Exekiel 34:26

The wife of one of my long-ago pastors told a story about her rude and cranky neighbor. After a run-in with this neighbor, she reported being shocked at what had poured out of her mouth, finishing up her story with these wise words: You don’t know what is in your bucket until someone kicks it over.

Transition is good at bucket kicking. That in-between stage of “one foot in what will be and the other stuck in what was” is a stressful place. Uncertainty, impatience and anxiety spills out of our inside bucket, sometimes in a flood; sometimes in a trickle, but out it comes during times of big change.

My mother passed away in September 2017. Being without a parent has been a difficult emotional transition for me. There is no way to describe it except to say it is a very odd and disconnected feeling.

Settling my mother’s estate has been a long and challenging process, requiring me to meet and interact with relatives, lawyers, stockbrokers, real estate agents, estate sales managers, auction house movers and so on. Then, when her house sold, the closing date kept shifting around. I felt like I was chasing a broken egg across the kitchen floor. All my prayer appointments became maybes. (Thank you to all those I pray with for their patient understanding). My settled, predictable life became very unsettled.

When my mother’s house finally closed, I grieved it, unexpectedly. I had no idea what that house meant to me until I walked through it one last time. This was the house where I had visited my mother for 30 years. The house she loved. The house she died in.

So what did Sam and I do in the midst of this life transition? We bought a house! A big beautiful, sadly neglected house that we could in no way afford unless it had been sadly neglected. And guess what? That closing date is shifting around! AND the sellers are in bankruptcy, which was NOT disclosed at the time we made our offer. So, we don’t know for sure when we will be moving or even if we will be moving. And there is an enormous amount of expensive work to do on our new house. What were we thinking?!?

So here I am suspended in transition, painting the windows of our current house, getting it ready to go on market. And like a tired cranky child riding in the backseat on a too-long road trip, I’m asking the Lord: Are we there yet?

Here is how I’m handling TOO MUCH transition. Heads up: it’s not pretty.

  1. Panda Fun got my take-out order wrong. I cried.
  2. Sam stepped in front of me to use the sink while I was cooking, I bit his head off. (Not as tasty as Panda Fun).
  3. I’m spending too much time on Facebook.
  4. I’m restless, unfocused and sleeping poorly.
  5. I’m worrying about the new house. Did we follow the Lord? Have we made a mistake? What were we thinking?!?
  6. I even caught myself watching a mental movie of the previous day’s social interactions while the devil provided a nasty commentary. I haven’t succumbed to that kind of self-hating nonsense in years.

What’s going on besides transition?

  1. The Devil. The enemy requires negative emotional energy (the dark stuff) in order to have any kind of power. He sees transition as an opportunity to amplify any fear of the new and unknown. Fear is negative emotional energy.
  2. Unresolved Historical Pain. Past issues stored in your bucket (the heart) surface during times of anxiety. That unresolved emotional pain mixes with, flavors and amplifies any present-day uncertainty.
  3. The Fall. We live in a fallen world. This means that we are surrounded by fallen people acting in fallen ways. They are afraid and uncertain, too. We feel their distress and add it to ours. Ugh.

Help! Is there help with transition?

  1. In the midst of my distress, the Lord posed a question. He said: “If you were in heaven and I gave you a challenge, like the one you are facing with your new sadly neglected house, would you be afraid?” I answered, “No. I would not be afraid because I would have all the resources of heaven to call upon to help me.” The Lord responded: “You have all the resources of heaven now. It just doesn’t feel like it because you are in the Fall.” I remind myself of this when I’m scared.
  2. It has helped to read the books of Proverbs and Psalms.
  3. Worship is helpful.
  4. If you have unresolved historical pain, work on it. If not, but the enemy is trying to take you back to resolved pain (what was happening to me), recognize what is going on and tell him to get lost.
  5. Sending my angels to bring in the help I need to accomplish the task at hand.
  6. Reciting the Lord’s attributes in my mind (so that I don’t give in to worry). He is kind; He is willing to help me; He is eager to guide and advise me; He wants to share His wisdom with me and so on.
  7. Remembering to be kind to myself, being my own best friend, the friend I always wished for has been helpful.

Let us pray together as we grow together, that our buckets will contain less and less of the nasty stuff and more and more of the good stuff. Because, while we are in this fallen world, our buckets will get kicked.

This time of big transition has been emotionally upsetting AND beautifully humbling. Any notion that I was a spiritual big shot full of faith and confidence is long gone. I still need a savior. And I have learned that when the challenge is big enough, what is in my bucket is going to spill out.

I bless your journey wherever you may be.

Hugs,
Susan
thepool@thepoolministries.org
205.556.4555
(Leave a message when you call).

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