By Alli Bauck
Dictionary.com defines a transition as “the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.” As we acknowledge the anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic in America, I’ve been reflecting on all the significant transitions that have happened in my life during the past year.
Some transitions are cyclical: like the arrival of Spring or the celebration of Easter. You can’t plan these changes, but you can anticipate them and participate in them. Last week I packed away my penguins (essential winter décor in my house). The weekly temperatures are hovering in the upper 60’s and my windows are getting a workout as I welcome in the sun-soaked air, freshening up our home. As God’s creation orchestrates a vibrant rebirth, I also remember the transitions our Savior endured to restore our relationship with Him and I rejoice in the Easter morning promise of new life!
Some transitions you can plan for: like toilet-training a toddler or taking steps to go back to in-person worship. You see the goal and you try navigating the best path to reach it. For potty training a 3-year-old I have sought advice from fellow mamas of littles and parenting books. For preparing to go back to our (socially distanced) pew in church, I have talked to my husband, trying to communicate through our differences of opinion. Often during these me-led transitions, I forget to ask Jesus for direction.
Some changes you aren’t aware are coming: like learning to abstain from physical contact with friends and family, or wearing a mask in public, or suddenly working from home. March 15, 2020, we gathered with family to celebrate our son’s 2nd birthday. We planned a surprise reveal to tell our loved ones that William would soon be a big brother! However, amidst the joy of the day there lurked an unforeseen enemy ready to launch a surprise attack on our lives.
As I write this post, my son, William, has just entered his 3rd year of life. He is eagerly anticipating moving into his “big boy” room. My youngest son turned half a year old last week. Many friends and family members did not even see me pregnant, because of the pandemic. Some of them have still never seen Levi in person. My husband also marks a year of working from home.
Even though our family encountered many adjustments and challenges in 2020, I also noticed a constant and beautiful theme through it all: God’s faithfulness.
What transitions have you walked through this past year? How have you processed them? I’ve found it helpful to take some notes, look for Jesus in my transitions, and share my reflections with a friend. We follow Jesus better when we follow him together, so maybe invite someone to run this small faith experiment with you.
My Transitions Experiment
- Make a list of transitions. What has changed for you and your family this year?
- Consider the positive. From your list, choose one positive change and reflect on where you saw Jesus in that experience.
- Consider the challenging. Next, choose a change that challenged you. How did you see Jesus active in that transition?
- Consider your present. What transitions are you seeing in your life right now? Are they cyclical, planned, or unanticipated?
- Invite Jesus into the process. What ways can you include Jesus in the transitions you are walking through as an individual? Where is God’s Word speaking to the changes your family is going through? Keep your eyes open for a promise from Jesus that speaks uniquely to each of the transitions on your list.
- Add those promises from Jesus to your list as you find them. Need help? That’s what friends are for!
Every transition requires many steps of trust as we move from the “norm” or “known” into the “new” (or “new now” post-coronavirus). Even if we’re stepping back into a cyclical change we’ve traveled before, we can still invite Jesus along with us. Walking into planned and unexpected transitions can also be a chance to experience growth in our relationship with a faithful God whose love for us never changes.
Transitions aren’t easy. Some are sweetened with joy or relief while other changes are painful and uncomfortable. However, in every situation we face, there is opportunity for growth. Take some time to invite Jesus into the transitions you are navigating, large or small, light-hearted or heavy. You might find the help and healing you didn’t know you needed.