Monday, March 10

Transition Well

Dear Jacob,

As the mother of three and wife of one my life is ever only one-fifth mine. Everyone else takes their own generous chunk of me. And in that one-fifth I carve out time for exercise, reading, writing, conversations over coffee, time with friends, ministry that gives me life, and pursuing new relationships. That one-fifth gets stretched to the brink very quickly.

And recently, I've added more to the mix. I've taken on not one but three part-time jobs. Each of them is something I love to do.  I have a passion for each of them and they fill me in different ways.  

But it's been years since I worked for someone else and I'd be lying if I said this is easy for me.  I have been a homeschooling mother for eleven years, starting when you were three. In that time I crafted lesson plans, researched materials, hunted down curriculum items, and figured out experiments and field trips and co-op classes.  It was my full-time job and I was filled and challenged and so very stretched by it all.  But I didn't answer to anyone or meet anyone else's expectations but my own. 

I stopped homeschooling very abruptly and not in a manner that I would have chosen, but I'm encouraged by what has come my way vocationally.  While it doesn't make us very much money, I feel like I'm starting to build something and everything we build has to begin with a foundation. I hope that in a couple of years all of these jobs will morph into something else new and exciting, but at this present moment I'm just grateful.

No doubt, this is a transition time for me.  It's a vocational shift, a mothering shift, an identity shift.  I don't really know what it's supposed to look like, but the definition of a transition is a process of changing from one state to another so I know that what it looks like right now isn't what it is going to always look like. 

Transitions are rocky, unstable times where you only have portions of the skills, information and confidence you need.  They are tough for everyone, but transitions have always been hard for you in particular. There are attention shifts, environmental changes, endings and beginnings. Grasping hold of something new, be it an idea, a new pair of pants, or a schedule change means you have to let go of the old idea, the old pair of pants, the old routine.  There's that comforting feeling of "being settled" that you feel less often and of course there's that fear that you'll never feel it again.

Transitions require trust.  And we can't exactly trust in ourselves because, like I said, we don't have all the skills and information and confidence we need.  So that trust has to come from outside of us.  You're lucky because as a young person you have parents and adults around you to give you guidance.  When you're an adult you find that you'll make these transitions all on your own (which is why it's important to make really good friends so you have to do it by yourself less often).  

But the best place to put your trust is in the fact that God knows what he's doing with your life, that your life isn't an accident and that you have the opportunity to inject good into the world by restoring something because that's exactly the business God is in.  But the best place to start renewing something is with ourselves. I'm in that process right now; taking on new jobs, practicing forgiveness, exploring things in counseling, learning what it means to be a church planter, a neighbor, and a friend who isn't also a pastor's wife. Tons of things about me are being made new. 

With every test you take, and every project you complete you know something new; a piece of information, a skill, a coping technique.  You'll leave tenth grade a very different person than when you entered.  This was a pivotal year in many ways that might have seemed horrid and hurtful. But it's growing brighter and it won't always be the way that it is.  Transitions aren't our destination, only the car that takes us there. 

Expect Change. Transition well. 

Love, Mom