I hate change. To clarify, I hate unwanted change that comes without notice and carries pain. In my earlier years, a few terrible events altered life as I knew it and forced me into uncharted waters.
Change and its accompanying angst also gave me impetus and invitation to grow. Without the uninvited disruptions, I would have missed opportunities to be flexible, learn new skills and become more passionate in my faith.
Change that brought an unwanted move from our Nottingham Lane home four years ago still stings today. Though it wouldn’t make my “worst things” list, it has affected me profoundly. I look back, still convinced our move was the right thing to do because of how we approached Tom’s job dilemma. Realizing a job change was needed, our prayers together each morning went something like this: “Lord, we want to stay in Wilmington if at all possible. Our whole family is here, and You know Dawn and Mom need us. but,” I choked out, “if there’s an assignment for us elsewhere, we want your will more than ours.”
Tom’s resume found its way to Columbia, SC and quickly translated into multiple favorable interviews and a great job offer. It was affirming, but also dreadful. We’d promised God that we’d go where He sent us, while I begged Him to keep us in Wilmington. Buckets of tears ensued. Tom accepted his new job and it was a positive experience right away. At the large hospital in Columbia, he found a supportive work force and affirming leadership in a role where he could impact others. It didn’t take long to see that this was the best job he’d had in his 35 year-long career.
Comforted by the assurance I sensed from the Lord, I began my transition to Columbia a year after Tom moved. That last year was spent making memories with my roomie, AKA my baby girl, as she readied herself for marriage. After Katherine’s wedding, I continued packing and preparing for the new home. I bawled and worked in disbelief that I was actually leaving my beloved home and community. I prayed a lot. Through painful times it’s comforting to sense you’re in God’s plan.
I finally moved into the home we’d bought and began my new life. Where would I start? I didn’t recognize myself in this foreign place. Everything was different; it required a re-wiring of my brain.
Neighbors came to mind first. After all, they were a few steps from our door. It was late November so I invited the lady next door over for tea and pumpkin bread. I wouldn’t know then that this would be the first of many times we’d share laughter and food together. I didn’t know she’d start a tradition of leaving little “treats” in my mailbox and I’d follow suit. We both loved dark chocolate which was fodder for many of our tiny gifts. Once she left a huge navel orange; the best I’d ever put in my mouth. I’d share magazines to inspire her as she painted.
After the tea and bread occasion came neighborhood lunches and other gatherings. Tom and I extended an invitation to the entire neighborhood to join us for soup on a chilly night. When Christmas came I brought cookies to our cul de sac neighbors, with surprised and suspicious looks from a few. They may have thought I was weird, and probably picked up on my nervousness, but at least I got to know them.
When I sat in Wilmington and begged God to not make us move, I didn’t know about Debbie H, Debbie A, Anita or Kelly. I didn’t know I’d join in with a growing group of young women who were passionate about Jesus. That I’d cross the threshold in fear the first time I was invited, knowing I’d instantly be the mom (grandma?) of the group. I didn’t know they’d invite me to speak at their conference and mentor them because I had more life behind me than they did.
There were dark days when depression clouded my countenance and outlook. I wanted to go back to my former life. But it was obvious that there were purposes for me in Columbia. I prayed for God’s direction. I asked Him to identify the roles He had for me in the new season. When a role went on my list, I’d ask, “Please show me how to live intentionally in these areas.”
First on my list was wife. I wanted Tom’s experience to be great in Columbia and for him to feel affirmed professionally.
He introduced me to the area and helped me navigate on my own. We went on lots of adventures together. We had home-cooked suppers by candlelight many nights. Some nights we’d snuggle on the sofa with a favorite series on TV.
My writing quickly rose in importance on my list. Accompanying my hours on the keyboard came a deep dive into God’s word and good books. I wanted to write life lessons in concert with absolute Truth, as best I could understand it. To live biblically strong and encourage others in the same way.
The people I’ve befriended have enriched my life forever. I found out I have something good to offer women from all my years of walking with Jesus. Tom and I have become closer as we’ve spent time together and we’ve learned more deeply what it means to love each other.
Writing a blog, being closer with my husband and engaging with new friends have changed my life. I guess it would be safe to say, that dreaded entity called change has changed my life.