Sometime ago, a couple of big changes clobbered into me, knocking me clean over. When the first change was thrown at me, I thought resolution would never come. But it did, and at that time, I celebrated like it was my job with champagne, hugs, and high-fives.
That celebration brought gloriously good feelings that lasted one whole month, and then the second thing knocked into me in such a way it made the first hit feel like a simple poke in the ribs. Believe me when I say the second change was an ordeal with a capital O.
That second change dragged on and on and on. And while I went about taking care of my family and home by stirring the pasta sauce and buying the birthday gifts and doing the next thing that needed to be done on a particular day, I didn’t have the same joy I had before. I felt guarded and suspicious and so, so tired. No, I felt haggard. Even after positive resolution finally came (thank you, God!), my heart couldn’t shake that worn-out feeling. Grateful? Oh yes, infinitely so. But joyful? Not so much.
So I carried this heavy feeling that wasn’t depression yet wasn’t my normal self, and eventually I mentioned it to my life (and business) coach. I told her how confusing this period was because much of my circumstances had returned to normal-ish. “Why can’t I snap out of it,” I asked? And while I had family and friends who gave me safe, helpful places to process all the events, it was she who helped me name the message I’d somehow internalized inside:
If I become happy, something bad will happen again.
If I become happy, a difficult change that’s worse than the others will do me in.
Now, in my head I know I don’t have the power to control what happens beyond my own actions. Yet this lie-imposing-as-truth message pushed into the soil of my heart, and it grew and grew, watered by fear and a false sense of control.
At that moment, I realized I stood at a fork in the road: Was I going to believe that any change threatened to knock me outside of God’s protection and care, that He gets a kick out of pulling the rug out from under me? Or would I be able to rest in what I’d said to be true — that God is always for me and all that He allows into my life is for my benefit because He loves me?
I prayed and prayed, and one day the Lord gave me this message in my heart:
I move from abundance, not scarcity. Look at all the ways I’ve been faithful in the past, and know I’ll be faithful in the present and future.
I knew He wanted me to know that whatever changes come, He would not dole out crumbs to me. He doesn’t dole out crumbs to any of us. His Son Jesus is proof that He moves behind the scenes to set us up for the abundant life — even when what stands in plain sight seems anything but.
When I wrote my first book on the subject of change in 2014, I knew I’d already lived through a lot of transition. As a longtime military wife, change was the name of the game. And when my husband, David, retired from active duty, he and I continued to meet change in entirely new ways. We both lost our dads within six weeks of each other. Our relationship with our kids evolved as they grew up and out of the house. We’ve met health struggles and marital strains. We’ve watched loved ones fight uphill battles that might as well have mowed down our own hearts with our John Deere tractor.
And this says nothing of 2020, the year I tapped out most of When Change Finds You, when the pandemic became the undercurrent jostling so much change, tiny and tremendous.
A while ago, I drove to Denver to record the audiobook for When Change Finds You. And after reading that thing from top to bottom, I cried for two reasons. First, I cried because I believed in my bones that this book delivers what it promises — that God delivers good things through change. And second, I cried because I sensed real joy in my heart.
Difficult change that I didn’t want or ask for still affects me today. But I can see how the change of the past has grown good things, and I can know that present and future change will grow good things, too.
When we come to a fork in the road that asks us whether or not we will trust God to use our difficult change for good, may we know God is believable and His promises in the present are proven by His faithfulness in the past.
God moves from abundance, not scarcity. He will use this change for good because His presence — and His love — are here to stay.
May you and I persevere as we see how our hard change is written into a good life story along the way.
Such heartfelt words. And do I ever get it. It seems as though for me,too, the last few years have been a roller coaster ride of very difficult life changes. And for such a long while I have felt stuck in the mire. But I realized the only reason I am here today, I have what I have is by the grace of God. So thank you for the reminder that it is ok to celebrate and if some other difficult situation comes around, I am not alone and I can persevere with God’s help.
Kristen Strong says
I couldn’t have said it better myself, Madeline. Thank you so much for sharing here!
Lynne Molyneaux says
Thank you Kristen. Needed this today. God is trying to tell me the same thing- look how faithful He has been in the past and trust Him for the future.
Kristen Strong says
With you, Lynne! May we both look back and see all the ways His faithful follow through will continue to be with us today and tomorrow!
Beautifully written, Kristen. Thank you. God is indeed faithful. I have come to see that the most growth in my life has been in the difficult times. Not that I welcome them, but it helps me to remember, by looking back, that God is for me and that He will see me through. Praying joy over your day.
Kristen Strong says
Praying the same for you, sweet Cathy. A hearty “yes!” to everything you said here. God will be faithful to see us through.
Thanks, Kristen! This hit home and was a much-needed reminder.
Kristen Strong says
Thank you for being here, Tonya! xo
Michelle Stiffler says
I know that lie, too, as well as its claim of protection. Sadly, it ends up protecting me from joy, hope, and all of God’s goodness. I needed this today, Kristen. Thanks for pointing me back to Jesus.
Kristen Strong says
You’re so right–it does end up protecting us from joy, hope, and God’s goodness. Beautifully said and beautifully encouraging to me, too. Thank you, Michelle!
Thank you for these words, these reminders of God’s promises. God is a way maker out of no way. God is!!!Thank you and may God continue to keep you, bless you, and let your light shine for others. Amen
Kristen Strong says
Same to you, dear Olivia! Sending love.
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
Kirsten. Thank you for sharing your heart. When difficult change makes you scared to be happy again. I loved that you were being honest of how that time made you feel. You learnt from it that God is with and has been. Sometimes he takes us through theses hard times. To show us he was there all along. That he never left us. God showed showed you in your difficult times. That you could trust him no matter what. In his perfect timing he came through for you. To be happy again. I don’t know we’re I go this saying it says it all. Especially when we are going through difficult times. We find it hard to be happy again. The saying is “Don’t worry about tomorrow God is already there” That is sure true. In our difficulties. God goes ahead of us to path the way for us to put our trust in him. That we don’t need to worry. God is already there. Taking care of it. So we can smile again. I found that when I was 4 years ago next month going for my hysterectomy. I found it difficult before the operation. To smile and be happy. As I knew I had to have the operation to get well again. It was not because of Cancer I was having it. To get rid of periods for good. That caused my hormones to go up as I say the left for years before that. That I take seizures. So I found it hard to smile. Plus trust God when I was having my periods they throw me into a seizures. That he was right beside me and he never left me. As I took some bad seizures. Because of this and did myself harm. But through it all. When I look back at those days now. I can see God was with me and he projected me. That I never once broke a bone. As I take the seizures without any warning. Time I fall down the stairs. Because we had dog and my Husband was away walking it back then. The dog has since passed away. I be upstairs doing something. Then my Husband could come back after walking the dog and find me at the bottom of the stairs. How I go there I don’t know. So in all that I never broke a bone. God was so good. He projected me. I used to get annoyed when it came to my periods each month as I knew the seizures would happen. They were not nice. Then my Doctor of what I call The Well Woman Clinic. Said to me the only way to stop my seizures was to have a hysterectomy. To stop me having periods. That through my hormones up the left that made me take seizures. So I agreed. As I could not go on living like this for my entire time. Every month. Until I reached Menopause. When they start to stop for good. As I go it into my head. I going to take a seizure some day and brake a bone. Which I am 50 and I never have. So when the date came for my operation. I was scared. But knew God saying Dawn I am with you be ok. You have to go through it to get better. Then I found that saying. “Don’t worry about tomorrow God is already there.” I felt after reading that the day before my operation. As I knew then in my heart of hearts. God had been with me all the time. When I was having my seizures. Because of my periods. That he projected me and did not let anything happen to me. The day of my operation. I was not scared. I went through the operation with ease. It was nothing. God was with me the whole time. 4 years later I am here to tell the tale of having the operation to change my life. As I have only had one small seizure since. After the operation. Because my body was getting used to not having any periods. That throw me into seizures. I have been seizure free ever since. That is 4 years ago next month. So I can smile today. As I better. But then I couldn’t. I used to say God why me. Why because of my periods before my operation. Why why is it me. So it taught me. God was there all the time. Like he was for you. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little keeping you all incourage in my prayers. Xx
Yvonne Nieto-Benavides says
I think so many women believe this lie, including myself. Seems like the middle of 2020 til today so much change has been coming my way. One right after the other and I think, good grief will this ever end? The Holy Spirit quickly reminds me that He is with me and will hold my hand through it all. Change is difficult, sometimes catches you off guard but God has promised me that He is making all things new in my life and the life of my family. That promise calms me and assures me that I am not alone.
Thank you for this encouragement.
Nancy Ruegg says
I’m old enough (72!!) to be able to affirm from experience: “Hard change is written into a good life story along the way.” Such an important truth to keep in mind, breathing hope, strength, and stamina into our souls. Well done, Kristen!
My family has been through a series of huge changes. Heavy losses of loved ones, serious injury, accidents and illness. We barely come up for breath when yet another punch to the gut comes out of the blue.
This post is so timely.
I know God meant for me to read it. Thank you for expressing so articulately what I have a hard time putting into
But how can I translate this to my children, ages 9-14 who are terrified to feel anything good?
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Beth Williams says
God said we would have trials & tribulations down here but take heart for He has overcome the world. Trials & change are never an easy pill to swallow. We have a great & mighty God who goes along & guides us through these circumstances. In the midst of each change/trial He is molding us into the person He wants us to become. For me dealing with my aging father’s psych/dementia issues taught me patience & grew my faith & trust muscles. Now when new trials come I simply turn to Jesus & ask what good thing do you have in store for me or what shall I learn from this.