Change. It’s inevitable. It can be exciting, for a moment. It can be scary, especially as it approaches. It can be exhausting, almost always. And yet we rarely talk about how to maneuver through it.
Weeks ago, when I was in the crazy of finishing my book manuscript I had a number of friends who released their own books. As the books arrived on my doorstep, I’d jump up and down and think “This one. I want to share THIS one.” I had visions of every Tuesday sharing about a new book for weeks on end. And I might have indicated such a promise. Well then the deadline and the edits and the laundry. So I’m giving you these reading recommendations at a pace you can actually read them (see how I put the old PR twist on my own inability to meet my own promise?) and will be sharing with you a bit at a time.
I am overjoyed (really not exaggerating here) to introduce you to my friend Kristen Strong. In real life she towers over me (she got the long legs I’ve always wished for) but never makes me feel small. She is a sweet spirit and lives just down the road from me in Colorado Springs. I decided not to tell you about her book Girl Meets Change: Truths To Carry You Through Life’s Transitions, but to let her tell you. Here is what I asked and she answered.
A: Can you share a story of how you faced change?
K: Sure! I haven’t always faced it well. As a girl who grew up in the same home surrounded by ever-present extended family, marrying a military man meant living a lifestyle of change in a “baptism by fire” kind of way. Because we moved 1,000 miles from the only home I’d ever known, I had to start over in many ways, especially in forming new friendships and relationships. And since my husband often traveled, I also had to figure out how to be by myself—a foreign concept to me at that time. In my early marriage, I thought each new change was going to be the end of me. But with time, I discovered change is not the end of my story but simply a part of it. When my family and I look back over our history, we discover how with each new move, God has faithfully brought us to a better place than where we were before. That doesn’t mean we have always loved the places we were stationed, but rather we loved the growth in our family and the ways we’ve felt and seen God’s presence throughout.
A: What hope can you offer the woman who resists change?
K: First, I would say I completely identify with that woman because I’ve been that woman. Girl Meets Change was written for that woman too.
God is in every change that crosses our path. When he brought change to Abraham’s life by telling him to pick up his family and move to the place he would show him, God also provided him with his promise of blessing (Genesis 12:1-4). What’s true for Abraham is also true for the change-resistant woman today: If God is sending her to a new place (literally or figuratively), he’s sending her with a promise of blessing. The change she faces is never the end. God’s grace and goodness are. Change is just the next step to his next best thing for her.
A: What 3 things can every woman do that will help her with the change she is facing today or in the near future?
K: I love this question. One powerful way each woman can see change in a more hopeful light is to count what she’s grateful for in the midst of it. 1 Thessalonians 5: 17 says we are to give thanks in all circumstances. There is always something to be thankful for, and sometimes our gratitude is what needs to show up before things are going exactly as we hoped they would.
Second, I would encourage her to make her questions surrounding the change work for her. I’m a big question ask-er, so when change lands in my lap, questions want to tag-a-long with it. I haven’t always directed them in a God-centered, for me way. For example, when my husband and I couldn’t easily start a family, my questions looked like Why can’t I get pregnant? and Doesn’t God think I would be a good mom? Instead of focusing on the outcomes of my questions, I needed to reframe them to focus on the purpose of them. So better questions for me to ask would be What else does God want to give me? What else is he working out in me through this situation? Then I could dwell on healthy, truth-based answers rather than answers based on my feelings.
And third, make an intentional choice to enter into the presence of Christ. Many of us know spending time with Jesus through the Word benefits us, but we don’t always realize how much Jesus truly enjoys our presence too. He delights in us. Once we start to get a taste of that, we know the hardship brought on by change is still very much within the care and concern of Christ. So we are better able to know that God intends to use the difficult change in our lives now to bless us later.
A: There you go. This is just a taste of the wisdom you’ll find in her book Girl Meets Change. Order it today. (And a great Christmas gift for someone facing some change in 2016).