- a) a change or shift from one state, subject, place, etc. to another
- b) a period or phase in which such a change or shift is happening
Change is inevitable. Everything changes. Some changes are easier to weather than others. We change when we age but most years just blend one into another. There are only a few that are truly significant and impact our lives in important ways. Change is a constant fact of life. If we aren’t changing, we aren’t growing, and if we aren’t growing, we’re dying.
The process of change is the difficult part. It isn’t a quick progression from point A to point B. That transition period is affected by many factors. How easily I embrace the process. How quickly I am willing to trust that this season of change is for my good. I have been finding my ability to do both of those to be easier the past few years, which speaks tremendously to the work I’ve done in learning how to trust Father in small things so that the big things become less daunting. However, I still have not reached the point where I don’t initially balk at the prospect. He knows me. And I can’t count the number of times He has graciously given me a heads up about change coming so that I would be prepared when I stared it in the face. I wish I could say that I embraced those warnings and bravely launched into the transition. That would be a lie. I still balk when it is before me, just for a (slightly) shorter time than I once did.
When my boy was 16, Father spoke to my heart and told me it was time to begin transitioning from parent/teacher to counselor/advisor. I needed to let him start making some of his own, more serious, decisions and allow him to do so while still safe under our care. As a codependent, that was hard enough, but I did recognize from my own experience how important it was for him to have the freedom to make mistakes while he was still within the shelter of home. With a plan in place of how I would manage this, I proceeded to do exactly that. I stepped back and let him begin to make big decisions. If he asked for my advice (and even sometimes when he didn’t), I would give it, but other than that, I was learning to let him be responsible for himself. That was especially hardest to do when I knew his decision would cause him pain, but I also knew my head-strong boy needed to learn some lessons on his own. This was the hardest when it came to letting him learn the hard way about not taking his anti-seizure meds. It took a few years, and a couple of seizures, for him to learn those lessons but learn them he did. In our state, the law is that an epileptic must be seizure-free for an entire year before they can get their driver’s license. That year was over the end of 2022, and after jumping through some bureaucratic hoops, he finally got his license last week. I am simultaneously thrilled and terrified by this prospect. I am so happy he will finally be able to experience some of the freedom and independence he has longed for (for three years longer than his peers). He has gained a great deal of wisdom, and he has some very wise people speaking into his life, so I am not overly concerned about really bad decisions being made. My main concern will always be the specter of epilepsy. This is the hardest to let go of. Will he remember to take his medicine? What if he has a seizure, and I’m not there? What if he has a seizure while driving? So many things I cannot control. Things I have already been letting him manage for quite some time, but it was easier to do that when I was his sole source of transportation. Even when he was with his friends, they knew and were extra cautious. Now, it is time to cut the strings and let my baby fly. And though I have been preparing for this season for almost four years, now that it is here, I am having a really hard time just letting go. I know what this means. I know the changes that are immediately before my family. He will get a job. Eventually, he will move out. And I know these are all good things and necessary for HIS continued growth (and mine, I know). But I’m struggling with the fact that this will change our family dynamic. He won’t be there at home with me for much longer. With very brief exceptions, he has been with me every day for the last almost 20 years. Soon, all those things I’ve been so used to, that time I was able to spend with him, will fade as he pursues the future Father has for him. And I know this is good, and I am thankful he has such a good relationship with the One who made him. At the same time, I am left trying to figure out what this means for me moving forward.
Which brings me to the next big change. I have spent the past few years preparing for this time. I’ve learned to pursue my own interests and have sought the path Father has laid before me. I’ve had some stops and starts along the way. Fear of failure is a beast to overcome. But He has been patient with me and has lovingly pushed me to take small steps of faith, one at a time. My first sponsor once told me that it is normal to be afraid to embark on something new, but that the more I grow in competence, the more I will grow in confidence. I have found this to be a true statement. I am still overcoming the damaging core beliefs of unworthiness and incapability, and most things I’m faced with trying, those are the leading beliefs, and I have to allow Father to talk me through each one, to speak truth to me in the moment so that I can keep replacing those lies I’ve believed with TRUTH. Unlearning is probably the hardest part of recovery, and I have a lot to relearn. He led me to take a step of faith in accepting a position with more responsibility than I have ever had before. I confess, I am terrified of messing up, of failing at this. I recognize that it is a great opportunity to learn more in preparation for the next big change coming later this year, and I also know I’m not alone. There are others I can rely on and turn to for help. And I am thankful, both for the opportunity to learn and also for the faith others have put in me. It’s just a lot of change all at once.
Maya Angelou once said, “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” I think of the caterpillar, ensconced in its cocoon, its body dissolving into slime and wonder that somehow, that formless goo comes back together to become something truly beautiful. I guess I feel like I’m in the cocoon again. I wonder if the caterpillar knows what it will become? I am so thankful that the One who designed it to form that chrysalis knew exactly what that larva was destined to become and built into it the insatiable desire to fulfill its destiny. No fear of change for the butterfly. I seek to trust the One who created me for a unique purpose, one that He alone sees, and continue to work on surrendering completely to that vision.