On December 21, 1989, when my husband proposed to me, he said, “Things are going to get busy for a while.” He wasn’t kidding.
In the last 25 years we have lived in eleven different homes, parented four children (giving birth to three within three years!), earned three Master’s degrees, taught hundreds of students, driven thousands of miles, attended dozens of churches, …phew…I’m exhausted!
We have experienced lots of change. As individuals, and as a family. At first, I braced myself for change and tried to ‘get through’ it. It didn’t take me long to realize that change is our constant. We are continually changing. In fact, early in our marriage, my husband really enjoyed changing around all the furniture in the house. He would get an idea to switch all the bedrooms — all in one day! The master bedroom would become the kids’ dorm. The girls’ room would become the den. It would be an all-day project. I know it sounds like lots of work, but we always liked the outcome — a fresh start, a new perspective.
When the kids were in elementary school, we spent many hours investigating and discussing before we decided to move them from a parochial to a public school. One school was not better than the other, but they were very different. It was a huge change. My husband and I felt it was the right decision, so we acted. It was a huge transition for the kids, and you would have to interview them separately to see if they think now that it was a good decision. Each of them would probably answer differently, especially since the very next year, we not only switched their schools again, we moved them to an entirely different state! A different time zone! A different, sweatier, climate.
That move meant not only a change in school, but a change from the only church they had ever known — where they were all born, rocked, sung to, cuddled. We all looked shell-shocked for a couple of years. No kidding. It was a lot of change.
While there, in Missouri, we made so many deep friendships. I would not trade that time for anything. But, at times, it was like living through a deployment. And I would even say that we endured a few injuries, none life-threatening, but some life-changing.
Change changes us.
I am not the person I was on December 21, 1989. Thank goodness!! Neither is my husband. Thank goodness!! (Little joke there, kids.) All of this busy-ness, all of these changes, have grown us up.
When we were at one of our first congregations, with all our babies, a dear friend said, “I see you guys as a diamond in the rough–the outside is being chiseled away to reveal that beautiful inside.” I may have been a little offended at the moment, but I now treasure the fact that she saw some potential under the rough exterior that we wore back in our twenties.
I’d like to think that the changes we have endured have chiseled away some stubbornness, some judgmental attitudes, some close-mindedness. But we aren’t done yet. Change is our constant. I embrace the change, because I know that I will come out of it a different person, hopefully closer to God’s design.
And in this change, “I will keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken” Psalm 16:8.