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The Bridge of Transition

04 May

The Bridge of TransitionAs my youngest child was getting ready for school, I had an e-conversation with my sister-in-law. As I often do when I am reading someone’s story, I tried to imagine what it’s like to have one child graduating high school this year and another one doing the same a year later. I could picture it, but it was surreal to me. It’s not my current transition. But it is hers.

My whole year has been an extended transition: One child entered high school while one started middle school. Every day, I switch gears between fellow high school-er parents talking about student drivers and SAT prep and the typical middle school concerns of “mean girls” and safe texting guidelines. Meanwhile, I’m still in the “playdate” phase of raising my third child.

Some days, all I seem to do all day is transition: at-home responsibilities, writing, arranging appointments, taxi driving, counseling the one quickly approaching adulthood, and navigating the social wrecking ball that is middle school. (I’m convinced that once you survive middle school, you have the thick skin needed to go directly into the military or a career in psychology!)

As I write this in the early morning, coffee half-consumed, my iCalendar keeps popping up with new band performances and rehearsals. It’s comforting to “hear” from my oldest son, if even through a brief data entry about yet another place I have to drive him.

Maybe this title should be about interruptions and not transitions, but wait!

Aren’t they often the same thing?

Just like my sister-in-law has a child leaving the nest and the years of younger children needing her full-time attention are over, I am almost ready to go back to full-time work but have a child with special needs that are best met right now by me. I am making a transition from full-time mother to career, but I’m not at the end goal yet.

And that’s okay.

Ultimately, new chapters in our lives come with interruptions. It isn’t usually a smooth glide from one chapter to the next. Just like a well-written novel, the last few pages of a chapter must guide the reader to the drop-off where the story picks back up again with a turn of the page. If one chapter ended with a cliffhanger: “and he jumped,” to the start of the next: “but landed on a pile of bushes,” wouldn’t we want the author to fill in some of the blanks for us, at least after the fact? We would feel cheated if we didn’t experience some of the in-between and before moments. What made him jump? Why was there a bush there? Did anyone see it happen?

These shifts in life stages are interruptions in our plans. They are the in-between moments.

For me, it’s not time to work 40 hours outside the home again. That dream is interrupted by another one: Motherhood. I didn’t know that as we launched the last child into school, we’d uncover areas of concerns that would send me to five specialists. My plans were to start earning funds for the one heading to college in a few years.

Five specialists and two regular therapies were not in my plans.

They were not wanted interruptions.

But they did get us ready for whatever comes next. I can multitask like a fiend now! I know when to slow things down. The right job will be there when I need it—and my son will be in a better place to manage his own care as he grows.

I’m not sure we’re meant to abruptly depart something old to engage in something new without some processing.

That’s why transitions are to be embraced, why interruptions ultimately serve us.

Not only do they make us more flexible, but they pave a way for what is next. They give us some time to get a grip.

After the death of Moses, the Lord spoke to Moses’s assistant Joshua.

Joshua 1:9, ESV, the Lord speaking to Joshua

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” 

Um, what is He saying here? To be strong, courageous, unafraid, even hopeful (not dismayed). Why? Because God was with him and wasn’t going to leave him. If you know anything about biblical history—even if you’ve watched The Ten Commandments or The Prince of Egypt—you know Moses was a big deal. Imagine the emptiness upon losing his leadership. After receiving God’s commandments, living through the plagues in Egypt, participating in a mass exodus, and wandering in the desert together, suddenly Moses was

gone.

The void was palpable.

How about years later when the Israelites were in exile in Babylon? Exile is a pretty significant interruption. An unwanted move. A transition to a different culture even.

Jeremiah 29:1-2, ESV, Jeremiah the Prophet speaking

These are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders of the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.

This was after King Jeconiah and the queen mother, the eunuchs, the officials of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the metal workers had departed from Jerusalem.

But God responds: “I’ve got this. There’s a plan ahead for good things.”

Jeremiah 29:11, ESV, Jeremiah the Prophet speaking

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Let’s be honest: Transitions always need a few moments of mourning what was so we can move on to what is. If we skip the mourning part, we get stuck.

Are you crossing a bridge of transition (job, relationship, season of life, geographical move, etc.)? Have you taken the time to mourn properly?

Does it help you to know there’s a plan and purpose to your interruption and that you are being prepared for something just ahead, something perhaps still covered by fog, not completely visible?

Can you embrace the process and trust the One Who wants to walk you across that bridge? He has “plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Will you trust Him?

*This blog is a featured column at Your Tewksbury Today.

**It has also been shared at Mom 2 Mom Monday Link-UpMake a Difference Mondays, Simply Inspired Wednesdays, Grace & TruthA Little R & RRaRa Link-UpDance With JesusBlessing CountersCoffee & Conversation, Saturday Soireeand Christian Mommy Blogger.

More anecdotal stories about faith, family, and relationships can be found in Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day (includes Book Club Discussion Questions).

 

 

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14 responses to “The Bridge of Transition

  1. aladyinfrance

    May 4, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    We are in a transition phase, and honestly it’s hard. I am having trouble being patient and waiting for God to work out his plan. Also – sometimes we also have to mourn what will never be.

    Liked by 1 person

     
  2. Bonnie Lyn Smith

    May 4, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    That’s a really good point, Jennie. We do a lot of mourning what will never be in this life, don’t we? Very true! Praying for your transition. Thanks for coming by “Espressos of Faith”!

    Like

     
  3. Mary Collins

    May 4, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    I am going through a transition and it is very difficult and scary. My faith is really being tested but I am doing everything I can to stand on His word.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      May 4, 2015 at 5:37 pm

      Oh, Mary, I am reminded to pray for you today. Thank you for coming by “Espressos of Faith”! I can appreciate that some transitions are way more significant than what I touch on here. Some punch us in the gut. I do believe these trials and transitions we go through prepare us more for the future, strengthen our faith and reliance on God, but some are so incredibly painful and difficult. Lifting you up in prayer.

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  4. TheMomCafe.com

    May 4, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    I get this… and i love your insight into a hard area in anyone’s life. When I made the decision to leave my career to stay home with my kids due to their chronic medical issues, it was difficult to realign my priorities and my identity. God had a plan though… and I look back and see all that I learned and how He grew me to be the woman I am now… and the blessings were and are still sweet and nourishing from that experience. Like you, I chose motherhood. And I’m so glad I did!

    What breaks my heart are the women who have a husband leave the marriage and ultimately the family, to force a transition BLOW to their hearts and their lives. Can you imagine? The constant blur of attempting to process and plan and adapt and grasping for ways to adjust to so many changes all at once- along with an aching heart. Oh, how so many women have to rise to this challenge. So far I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to process and find peace in making those transitions on my own timeline.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      May 4, 2015 at 5:34 pm

      You’re so right, TheMomCafe! This blog post doesn’t really address the “forced transitions” directly. That is a completely different story. I was thinking more of the ones that are interruptions in our plans in a more minor way, or ones that come on us but don’t necessarily rock us completely and make us do an about-face. Some of the same concepts still apply, but you’re right…some transitions require more processing, more time, more mourning, and much more strength and grace from our Father. Sometimes I touch on the deeper stuff. This one only really pulled back one layer. Good food for thought! Thank you.

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  5. Lux Ganzon

    May 7, 2015 at 1:50 am

    Why I have similar view on this. Amazing that I actually wrote about feeling good despite everything going wrong just last night.

    Glad to know another brave soul continues to battle on regardless the interruptions. 🙂

    Beautifully written, dear.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      May 7, 2015 at 8:47 pm

      Thank you for your sweet, encouraging comments, Lux! I really appreciate you coming by “Espressos of Faith”! Interruptions refine us, don’t they? One way or another, they do. Blessings!

      Like

       
  6. karrileea

    May 7, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    Ah yes – such great advice – to properly let one season fully end – and grieve a bit if necessary – or rejoice, whatever is needed! – before jumping in to what is next! We are Empty Nesters as well – and god would not allow me to just jump right in to the next. Instead, He slowed me and quieted me, and made me (or let me) feel all the feels first. On this side of it, I am so thankful for that time! Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      May 7, 2015 at 8:39 pm

      Oh, I love your comment “feel all the feels” first. That makes a lot of sense. Thanks, Karrileea. It’s good to hear your perspective. Thanks for coming by “Espressos of Faith”!

      Like

       
  7. Erica @ Coming Up Roses

    May 13, 2015 at 10:47 am

    Bonnie this is SUCH a great post. So eloquently worded and just so inspiring. I’m definitely not a mother (and won’t be for quite awhile!), but I can only imagine exactly what you mentioned above. The constant string of it all! I’m entering my senior year in college, and I’ve felt like my own personal transitions were sometimes far too abundant (wrote about it here!: http://cominguprosestheblog.com/talking-transitions/), but now I couldn’t be more grateful for them. You’re right…it’s about capitalizing on those moments in-between!

    cominguprosestheblog.com

    Liked by 1 person

     
  8. Bonnie Lyn Smith

    May 14, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    Erica….I really feel encouraged by your comments. Thank you for stopping in and leaving some thoughts! Blessings to you in such an exciting (and transitional) chapter of your life! I’ll have to check out your blog site again!

    Like

     
  9. hollythewoo

    May 14, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    Thank you so much for the encouragement here, and for linking this up with us at Grace & Truth!

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      May 15, 2015 at 1:47 pm

      Hollythewoo: Thank you for stopping by “Espressos of Faith”! Blessings on your day!

      Like

       

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