Everyone experiences change. Change can be a good, much anticipated thing – like a wedding and a marriage, which is prepared for and fussed over. Change can be sudden and unexpected – like a job reassignment or change can even be tragic like a terminal diagnosis or the news of a divorce. Change – whether good or bad, anticipated or unexpected, is hard.
When I got married, I had a very clear idea of marriage in my head. I knew what my happily ever after would look like. I can say after evaluating the good and bad, the anticipated and the suddenly unexpected of marriage that it has been nothing like what I initially imagined.
That’s not to say it’s negative. As I said: Change is hard.
I assumed marriage would be generic perfection. My mind was filled with a world of fluffy pastels floating around: married life would surely be dreamy. I’m not saying it isn’t, but what was a vague romantic notion in my head was quickly and rudely grounded in New Everything.
A new continent: Europe.
New country: Scotland.
New city: Edinburgh
New job: Digital Marketing in the Tech Sector
New church: Bellevue Chapel
New friends: (Who will remain anonymous – for now).
This isn’t even touching on the grief I’m still experiencing in leaving the US behind. In trading in one long distance relationship with my husband, I quickly gained 20 more as I try to keep up with the goings on of my family and friends. The changes of finally being in the same physical location as my husband and embracing every new aspect of my life at once – this included a new dentist and a new doctor, a new hair stylist and a new coffee shop – these changes had the effect of being overwhelming, frightening, confusing, frustrating, agonizing and, overall, unrelentingly intense.
I also never considered that I would forever be foreign in this strange, kilt-wearing, bag-pipe-playing land. Nothing was familiar or comfortable. Nothing was “home.”
I was incredibly lonely. As I was the only one experiencing the outcome of this specific formula firsthand, my loved ones could only empathize and understand so far. I really appreciate their continued efforts.
I wrestled with God a lot. I still wrestle. Like sometimes I think: “What the heck, God? Why does everything have to suck and be so hard all at once? Why can’t I understand a Scotsman speaking English? We do speak the same language.”
These trials really tested my faith and made me consider how we, as humans and children of God, handle it.
We’re all called into a new land of some kind at some point. We move houses, we change schools, we lose friends, we make new ones, we switch jobs, we switch careers… There are so many pieces of our lives that can change and do change. There are so many ways we, as people, change in our souls, too.
When God changes us: our lives, our circumstances, or our hearts, He calls us to step out in faith and trust Him. It’s easier said than done.
It’s like what He did with Abraham in Genesis 12:
The Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great and you will be a blessing.”
Abraham didn’t know where he was going, whether he’d enjoy the journey, or whether he’d even like what God would show him when he got there. It’s easy when we’re facing change to be afraid and to avoid the journey altogether.
The problem with that is if we hide from, ignore, or reject the change, we miss God’s blessing. We miss a land of milk and honey. We miss what’s ultimately better for us. And we miss the opportunity to bless others.
And that’s why change, no matter how grievous and hard, is worked for our good. I can honestly say that any increase in faith, patience, and calm in my life is a result of the changes that shook it up. And there has been a lot of shaking.
Sometimes change is heartbreak, an earthquake in the soul, a cleanse, an uprooting. Sometimes it’s literally moving to a foreign country. Whatever form it comes in, I believe it is truly, completely, unwaveringly good.
Like a crucible refines gold, so our spirits are refined by the fire of change.
Romans 8:28 says:
And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Have courage, take faith.