Hitting the curve balls: struggling to cope with change
I am going to be honest here and tell you that I have always seen myself as handling change well. Change has been a big part of my life. We moved fairly often until I was a freshmen in high school. I attended 3 different colleges, one of them overseas. And then I got married and things really got crazy. In the 7.5 years Paul and I have been married we have lived in 4 cities (5 if you count the brief stint with my parents), been separated for a 3 month training and then 2 deployments and added 4 kids to our family. It is more change than most people experience in their lives but it is also a staple of being a military family and feels surprisingly normal.
But in reality the normality of those changes is what makes them so easy to deal with. I know we will be moving next year and again the year after that. Will it be sad? Sure! But expected. I know Paul will deploy again in the next couple of years. Will it be hard? You better believe it! But survivable. I am hopeful we will have another baby. Am I crazy? Probably. But we already knew that.
To me, those are the fast balls. I don’t think that kind of change bothers me because it follows the overall pattern of our life and therefore makes sense to me. It is the completely unexpected change that I struggle with. The change that I didn’t see coming or the feeling of needing change but not knowing what to do next. The fog of the unknown.
The curve balls.
There our times in my life I can see this pattern clearly. I didn’t cope well with finding out the gender of each of our children. I had always wanted girls and so the first boy was a bit of a shock… but 4 boys. Wow! I definitely wasn’t expecting to have all boys, much less 4 of them. With the addition of each little guy to our family I had trouble changing the picture of how I expected our life to look. I also really struggled when Paul’s last deployment got extended midway through. I was prepared for the initial plan but when I was told he wouldn’t be home in time for the birth of our 3rd son I was a wreck. (Thankfully he ended up making it home with 3 days to spare!). Those were curve balls.
I feel like we are in a season full of unexpected change right now.
The last 18 months have been very smooth for us. We are living in a city we LOVE. Somedays I feel like Charleston was meant for me and I know it is going to be very hard to leave. Paul is home every night and has a very flexible schedule. I feel spoiled to almost never be apart and we are enjoying the ability to go on regular dates, plan vacations, and just be normal. We haven’t added a new baby in the last year and have settled into being a family of 6 quite nicely. We have grown close to our core group of friends and are truly starting to feel established. Things have been quiet…
And it is because of all of that that I think I am having such a hard time with all the curve balls in our life right now. This was supposed to be our 3 years of stability and rest. This was supposed to be our season to feel and look like a normal family. But lately we have been presented with lots of change and I am STRUGGLING.
I am struggling with homeschooling. I always thought homeschooling would be an easy constant for us through all the moves and changes, but it is HARD! And with the added responsibilities of my business, I know I am not doing well as things are now. We need a change. Whether that means a nanny/housekeeper or a new plan, I don’t know. But that’s the problem, change is going to have to take place but I don’t know what that will look like.
I am struggling with the changes in our church and relationships. Our church has gone through a really big change the last couple months, causing changes in our community and friend circles and making us wonder what step to take next. The church has always been vital for us to plug in and find community quickly. It is our safe haven and the source of the majority of our relationships. I never expected to have to process major change a year before we are going to have to move and start all over again.
I am struggling with the major changes in my parents lives. I have always viewed that church and house as “home”. While I haven’t lived there in a long time, when you move constantly losing “home” is hard. Harder than I expected.
But the reality in all of this is that God is still faithful even when we experience unexpected change. His plans are better than our plans. He sees the big picture inspite of my desperation to cling to the constant. He can guide us to the next step.
God has called some of us to lives full of fast balls. He has equipped us for those. But He also uses the curve balls. He uses the unexpected change to mold us and shape us to be more like his Son. He shows us our lack of faith, ability, and need for growth sometimes. He uses change to highlight areas we need to strengthen.
Do I think it is ok for me to be confused, sad, angry even sometimes when I experience change? Absolutely. But my prayer is that it would bring me to my knees to seek His wisdom and guidance for the future. That I would trust his plan even when it completely blows my plans out of the water. That I would allow God to use it to equip me for the future and to encourage others around me that are walking similar paths.
Even though I struggle there is such peace in knowing that God is the one ultimately calling the shots.