The Pain of Change

The moment I have been slightly in denial about for the last several months finally happened this morning.

My pastor’s family loaded up the van and left for their 14 month furlough. Yes, they will be back and, yes, a year seems to pass quicker than one can bat an eyelid, but I know how much a year can change things too. And selfishly I’m sad to say goodbye to my family, because here they are my family and closest friends.

I thought I managed well. The dam of emotions didn’t actually burst until I closed the gate behind them, in hopes of not making their departure any more difficult.

Change can be a pain.

It is that time of year here in the city and at church. Over the next several weeks, we will say goodbye to a lot of individuals and families who have called Kiev and International Christian Assembly home. Some are just leaving for the summer, but others are on to different journeys, whether in America or elsewhere in the world, and there is a possibility that our paths will not cross again.

This is one of the hardest parts of being part of an international community. It constantly challenges you to continue being vulnerable and to continue investing in people knowing that in 6 months or a year those you love and care for and consider your family may leave and go elsewhere.

It hurts to open yourself up to deep, meaningful relationships and then have change occur. It makes us want to self protect, to put up our barriers and maybe even become defensive. I know I’ve done it, even in the past few weeks. I sense the change and the pain and I put my hands out and push away hoping that it will somehow hurt less. God never promised that loving others wouldn’t cause us pain. After all, Jesus suffered excruciating pain so that we could each have a relationship with God the Father.

But there is also excitement in these seasons because growth doesn’t occur without change. 

I love stability and knowing that such and such will happen every week on a certain day at a certain time. I enjoy knowing what to expect and the safety and comfort it brings. But my safety and comfort aren’t supposed to be in schedules. My stability doesn’t come from my knowledge and so I think God finds great joy in mixing things up and making it uncomfortable.

I wish I could say that I lean into time with God and seek Him as much on days that are filled with daisies and sunshine as I do in the days filled with storms and chaos, but I don’t. He is changing us. He is changing me. And it is good, though it makes me squirm and reach out for the comfort of the familiar.

Is God shaking things up in your life? Are there transitions and changes happening that make you uncomfortable? If not, should there be?

The worm crawling on the ground has no idea what it is created to become. It has to go through extensive change to be transformed into the colorful butterfly that bring so much joy and delight.

If God is initiating change then it can only be for good, though our feelings may scream otherwise.

I went through a lot of tissues today and will go through more in the upcoming weeks, but I know that God is working in me and in those I love that are part of my church family at ICA. I trust that He is in control and all things will work out for good and for His glory.

Do you trust the changes that God has brought or is allowing in your life? Will you trust him with the pain and believe that His way is the best?