Most of us do not do it well, but the reality is life is in a constant motion of change. Sometimes, it is so subtle we do not recognize it.
Lately, I have been reflecting on different seasons of my life.
It has been very strange the different memories that God has brought to the surface. Memories that have been buried for so many years, memories that I did not even realize were tucked away into a file box in my head somewhere.
At this present time, I feel like our family is going through some major transitions. With transitions come expectations, at least in my head. I have this idea that all things will go back to as they were. We just hit the pause button and now we are back and pushing play. Not so.
This seems to bring feelings of discontent, defeat, and discombobulation which leads to frustration. I cannot seem to get back into the groove of routines and I feel like life is slipping through my fingers. We are behind on school, behind on chores (what chores??), and I cannot seem to fit in the things that I want or even need to do. Crafts, sewing, field trips, and even simple trips to the library seem to be a distant memory.
Over Martin Luther King weekend, I volunteered to cook up at a Bible camp that I grew up attending and working. Camp had been an integral part of my growing up years. I loved everything about camp as a camper. But even more so working as a Summer Missionary as a teenager and young adult. I LOVED it! I have such fond memories of every facet of camp. I was growing in my relationship with the Lord, serving the Lord with all my heart, being held accountable by godly adults who poured into my life, and having fun while doing all of that.
Now as a mother, I long for my children to experience those very same things….and they are. Praise and Glory to the Lord!
But as I was preparing to return to camp as a cook, I had some fears and was a bit nervous. It had been 20 year since I had worked in any capacity at camp, although my heart has longed to go back and serve with my children there. I had never been a cook and I knew it was hard work, as I remember my mom and Aunt Linda cooking when I was young. What if I did not like it? What if camp had changed? I did not want all those fond memories to be skewed by my present perception. I prayed almost every day for two weeks leading up to the Winter Camp weekend for God to prepare my heart.
God blessed my socks off! I LOVED it! Everything about camp I remember, I got to experience on a new level. As a parent, I was privileged to observe my three oldest and their friends engage as I had once done as a young person. I was able to connect with another cook who once was my cabin leader over 30 years ago (fruit to her account). I reminisced with people who are still working there after all these years and I met some new friends.
Thank you Lord for preparing my heart.
Camp was different because I am different. I need to remember different is not bad. As I look back on all those years of camp, I now realize now that every year brought new changes. New staff, new peers, new campers, new ideas, but every year brought a new me as well.
As I watch my teenagers walk through these experiences, I see the parallels a bit more clearly. They have been struggling with the transition of new staff members. They do not do things the same way. New peers. The older youth leadership kids that they looked up to and made camp come alive to them are now moving on, going to college, getting jobs, and even getting married. Now, my girls are the ones the younger workers and young campers are looking to as the ones who make camp special. I am seeing that these transitions are unsettling to them, but they are growing through them.
As I travel through my day to day life, I am noticing expectations that are creating some discontentment. But now, through my Winter Camp adventure, I am seeing that everyday life is no different. We all have seasons of our lives that are filled with fun and enjoyment, but with the good times also comes seasons of hard circumstances. There are times in our lives that we are just going to have to push through. There are times where our transitions are merely living through the unknown.
Whether we want to admit it or not, we never go back to how things used to be. That is a lie from the pit and truly an impossibility. We change. I look back on how things were before my husband worked out of town for the week. Now, that he is back home my expectation is that everything goes back to “normal”, but it can’t because I am different, he is different, and each one of our six children are different. We now have to create a new normal. Normal is a facade. My wise Aunt Linda once told me normal is merely a setting on the dryer. How true!
I remember the days of mothering young children and longing to get it together so we could leave the house. Now, I fight trying to stay home. Some days I long for the days of play group parties and all the activity of young children at home, but the truth be told I love the stage that my older kids are in. I love watching them navigate through each day and being part of the growing into a young adult processes and adventures. But now much of our activity takes place outside our home. Funny how things change.
The real question is how do we transition through the times of change.
- Be flexible! You will more than likely have to do things that are not your normal routine. Go with it. It’s kind of funny because God has brought me full circle on this. I used to be a fly by the seat of my pants girl. At times, I was even called Elasta-girl, but with each subsequent child, I became less and less flexible. Life became easier with a solid routine. Not to mention trying to get four children, four and under, into the car and buckled into car seats makes mama not so flexible. 😉 Now with the onset of teenagers, I am trying to get back into the flexible mentality and my routine driven inner mama is fighting it.
- No expectations! The longer I live the more I realize that expectations are my demise! If you need some help with getting rid of expectations you can read my post here. http://thejourneyofasteward.com/7-ways-to-get-rid-of-expecation.html My own expectations create chaos.
- Dump perfection! Things will never be perfect. Your home will never be perfectly clean. You will never have the perfect homeschool day. There will always be some hiccup along the way that is just life. Perfection can be so debilitating and it often drives our procrastination and leads to failure. As Hannah Keeley says, “Sloppy success beats perfect failure”. Perfection does not exist it is a mirage!
- Think ahead….this one is a tough one for me. Do you know that your husband and children want to eat dinner every night? I know, crazy huh! But yet I still struggle with dinner every night. The days I think ahead are so magical. It is so much easier for me to be flexible if I think ahead.
- Do things when you can control them! I learned this valuable little lesson from my wise husband. Try to get those little things done that can make for disastrous circumstances later. Here is just a small example, have you ever been in a hurry, you are running behind and you hop in your car to leave and your fuel light is on? Do you risk being even later and stop and put a couple bucks in just to get there? Do you take a chance and just go and hope you do not run out of gas? Are you completely oblivious that your fuel light is even on? Get gas when you are in control of your time, you get to decide how much you will pay, and where you will get gas. This concept has saved me a lot of grief in so many areas of my life!
The first step in transitioning through change is simply realizing change is the constant. That is just life….
The rest is just navigation!
Blessings my friends!