This post was originally part of the Facebook Cultivating Home Series.
My garden is getting ready to make a shift. The flowers are bursting forth in color and the vegetables are full of life. Birds flit regularly amongst the drying sunflowers and honeybees are taking the last sweet tastes of summer.
The rosemary is standing tall. The zinnias and dahlias are reaching for the sky.
But sadly, my garden doesn’t know what is coming. It is about to be shifted, withered, and uprooted. The weather is calling for rainy days and a fall-like weather pattern in the next week.
While we often bemoan the change of this weather in the Pacific Northwest, I know that life in my backyard will find a new rhythm over the coming months.
When Transistions Come
Life can be a lot like this little pad in my backyard.
We feel all settled in, ready to keep growing and reaching new heights, and then something unexpected rocks our world.
Something or someone precious is lost.
We face uncertainty, doubt, or fear.
Test results await.
A child is wayward.
A marriage partner is unfaithful.
We change jobs or prayerfully wait to find another.
It doesn’t take much to shake up what is grounded.
The pain that comes with these transitions is real. The ruts we find ourselves in can become deep and we can feel as if the earth that once held hope and promise will swallow us alive.
As women trying with all might to be the gardener and caretaker of our home, what do we do when the ground is uprooted, the weeds are taking over, or a drought seems to have settled over our claim?
How do we regain ground when it feels like we can’t catch a foothold?
My family spent a good part of a decade in a series of consistent life transitions.
We had untimely deaths, health diagnoses, and household moves. They left us wobbling, slipping, and sliding. I struggled with frustration, anxiety, and feelings of defeat.
As we moved through these, I was eventually able to establish three routines and thought patterns that helped in correcting my path.
I pray that these will provide encouragement for you today, wherever this life currently finds you.
Do Not Allow Guilt or Shame to Creep In
Just like a nasty weed, guilt has a way of weaving its tentacles through our lives when we are struggling. Even in the “good”, we can feel that we have not done enough or get stuck in the “what if” trap.
Why didn’t I….
What if this….
Worry and fatigue coupled with shock can send us into a spiral of unsettling depression or at the very least a loss of joy.
Combating these feelings with prayer and the promises of God’s word alleviate the mud that the enemy tries to sling at us.
Remembering that God is Sovereign and that we are “…engraved on the palms of His hands” (Isaiah 49:16, ESV ) brings a place of rest when life feels turbulent.
As we move through the transition replacing the phrase “What if——” or “Why didn’t—”with “God is good because—helps to shift the focus and defeat the feelings of guilt and shame that threaten to take over.
Take Care of your People First
When life throws a curve, I have often had to stop in the middle of the crazy and ask who are the people I am immediately responsible for?
This can be a difficult question to answer, especially if the circumstance involves one of our very own.
However, this is an important question to help maintain focus and balance. By remembering that my kids or my husband, dear friends, or whomever God has under my care are my priority, I am able to graciously say no when needed or bring them along with me to provide support.
When my family was in the middle of a crazy move, circumstances didn’t line up as they were supposed to. My husband and I had to make a conscious effort to pour into our kids who were confused and uncertain during this time.
They were our people and we couldn’t allow the “outside stuff” to take away from their needs.
A counselor once told me that no one wants you or your family to suffer because you were too busy helping others navigate their problems. There is a lot of wisdom in this.
God does not send circumstances into our lives to destroy what He has already established.
His good is chasing us and He wants us to remember the people we have been blessed with in times of change.
Keep Perspective as You Find a New Rhythm
Just like growing beautiful flowers or a plant that can’t be harvested immediately, change takes time and patience.
Use this time to ask God the lessons He wants you to learn. Spend time listening and watching for ways you see Him working.
When nurtured, growth naturally comes with change. Everything eventually grows and blooms as time ticks on. It may not look as you pictured, but change will produce roots that are firmly established as the season of time passes.
It has helped me to remember that pain is a part of the growth process. We must work through this pain to find what the new normal will look like.
Life Transitions Are Natural
Shortly after my dad passed away, in the midst of fresh grief, I remember wondering if the pain of that change would ever subside. Over time it has. I still grieve the loss, but we as a family have learned to adjust to his absence.
Find systematic ways that will help you in times of stress or change. Making lists, keeping a routine, and scheduling self-care time are all ways I have found that alleviate some of the stress. Discover and experiment with whatever works, and remember, no guilt if it doesn’t. Just keep trying.
Transitions are a part of life. They can be pathways to helping us grow and learn to love deeper.
We will mature in our faith and in wisdom.
What are some ways you have found helpful in the busy changes?
Are there areas that you have found guilt creeping in or resistance to a new rhythm?
As changes come, what can you do differently to ease the stress and continue to remain a wonderful caretaker of the garden God has entrusted to you?