I want you to know that you are not alone.
Back in 2005, we loaded our Chevy Tahoe to the roof, buckled in our four-year-old son and six-year-old daughter, and began the 4500-mile journey from South Carolina to our new life in rural Alaska. We were following God’s call to the mission field, and I remember the first glimpse of our new home like it was yesterday. We confidently faced the challenges—we were exhilarated by them! New people, a new landscape, a new life ahead of us.
Fast forward 13 years. It was a few weeks after our family Christmas together. Our daughter was returning to college, our son to high school, and our youngest to homeschooling. I was suddenly overcome by the sadness of these weeks together ending—the empty place at the table, the silence of the house. What lay ahead looked anything but exhilarating. In fact, the excessive quiet overcame me.
Life is never static; it’s dynamic. As women, we can potentially go through dozens of changes as we move through life: from college to new career; newly married to the mother of little ones; mother of teens to empty nester. We experience different seasons: moving, divorce, caring for aging parents, retirement, or health challenges—just to name a few!
Whether we find ourselves embracing what lies ahead or resisting the inevitable reordering of things, here are a few ways we can all move through change with grace and confidence.
Surrendering to God takes place on many levels, but maybe the most difficult is surrendering to God’s timing. We often rebel against the steady march of time. Some days we want time to go by quickly, “this too shall pass—and hopefully fast!”, as we endure toddler tantrums, job insecurity, teen rebellion, and rocky relationships. On other days, however, we want time to stop completely so we can slowly savor the extraordinary moments: holding a new baby, experiencing a father and daughter wedding dance, hearing final words of love as a parent passes to eternity. But time is indifferent; it will neither be hurried nor halted.
Every season has its own amazing, wonder-filled days as well as tough, hang-in-there times. These are our moments. And as time marches on, we must surrender to live in all of our moments, trusting in God’s timing. Proverbs tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight” (3:5-6).
Stumbling blindly through our days and months and years will not yield the thoughtful, peace-filled lives we want; we must listen wisely. Listening to God is a learned skill. It takes quiet time in His presence and His Word to contemplate how He may be intertwining the stories of our pasts, present, and futures to His glory and our good. We can ask Him to make us more aware of how He’s created us and how He might be using this time to make us look more like Him.
God is always teaching us something. If we ask, ”What is God teaching us now?” and then listen carefully, we may see the lessons of this season of change. As we consider what we’ve learned in the past, our faith deepens.
Let’s confidently say with the psalmist, “He renews my life; he leads me along the right paths for his name’s sake” (23:3). We can look ahead and listen with hope, anticipating the good of God’s plan for the future.
We all have in common both the joy of life and the pain of it. There are very few situations that someone else has not also faced. When we share our circumstances and how we’ve surrendered and listened, God can use us to reassure others going through similar challenges. We are able to say, “You are not alone. I’ve survived this, and I’m here for you.” God allows us to help shoulder the load of big changes. And then, others can encourage us as well. Ecclesiastes counsels, “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up” (4:9-10).
As we share, we also have the opportunity to process what we’ve been through and acknowledge how the Lord has helped us each step of the way. We can clearly see the strength He’s given us during unsettling times, and we can share that with others.
Finally, in whatever changes you are facing, remember that you are never alone—He is with you. Surrender, listen, and share. God is your Lord, but He is also your helper—He walks with you every step of the way.
“I am at rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.” Psalm 62:1
Originally from the Deep South, Natalie Hall and her husband along with their three children, served twelve years in the Far North of Alaska with SEND North. They now continue their work with SEND from the much warmer state of Texas. True to her southern roots, she loves sweet tea, front porch rocking chairs, and a strong cup of morning coffee. Natalie frequently writes about her many Alaskan experiences and has a passion for sharing with others how they can step out in faith to be a part of God’s plan in the world—whether near or far.