I’ve experienced more than my share of transition over the past 6 months. I said farewell to life and ministry in the land of Turkey. My oldest daughter was married (I gained a super son-in-law by the way.) Our son recently moved away to college. Our youngest daughter started her high school career in a new town. A new home, church, and community. While many of these life events give good reason to celebrate, they are nonetheless big changes to navigate, and especially all at once!
It wasn’t easy saying goodbye to full time cross-cultural ministry. After all, it was some of the most rewarding and fulfilling 20 years of my life. Someone recently asked me what it was that triggered such a big transition. I couldn’t point to just one thing. Transitions are strange in that way. Feeling under-utilized, not challenged, restless – there were a number of indicators over a long season before the actual transition took place. God has his own way of getting us ready for change.
Transition is a process of letting go, grieving the losses, celebrating the past, and moving forward by faith into a new season of life and ministry.
God has used transition, in its many forms, to shape my character, re-align me with His purposes, and get me ready for the next assignment. And he’s not finished with me yet.
I recently came across a devotional about the life of Joseph. You may have heard about the multi-colored coat he proudly wore in his youth, the “coat of many colors” which his doting father gave to him. But there is something much more enduring than a coat: his character.
In other words, no amount of difficult transition could get the best of Joseph because he gave attention to personal character formation. Prolonged and difficult transitions can be fertile ground for character transformation, thus a great time to work with a life coach, mentor or counselor.
As a family, we’re starting to recover and regroup from all the transition. We’ve settled into our new abode (new for us), a 1960’s era home in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Northern California. I’m back to building fires in the woodstove, raking up loads of pine needles, and a bit of hiking and hunting – all activities that were not part of life in the big city of Istanbul. These are things that renew and energize me. Well, maybe I could do without all the yard work!
Transition has taken its toll on me emotionally and spiritually. Thankfully, God has given me the gift of time and space to breathe. I’ve been reminded of who I really am in relationship to God. I’m kept in the love of God and sustained by Him through intimacy with Him, not merely by what I do for Him. I’m passionate about coaching, but I want to be more passionate about God. I need this reminder from time to time. I always will.
From a coach's perspective, I’ve learned two valuable lessons through this season of change:
- Working with a life coach is a vital part of processing and planning through a transition. For me, it’s practicing what I preach.
- For you coaches out there, you don’t need to have your own transition all figured out to effectively coach others. God can and will use us to serve our clients well even when, or maybe especially when, we are navigating our own transitions.
Finally, I’m thinking of the global scope of this blog readership. I consider God’s promise to Abraham, that through him and his seed (that’s us) all nations will be blessed (Genesis 22:18). May prayer for each one of us is to be shaken like salt and dispersed like light among the nations, in order that God’s promise to Abraham might be fulfilled, to the ends of the earth.
Peace on Earth,