Tag Archives: Change

Musings

It is hard for those who have lived a life of saying “yes” to learn how to say “no.” For those of us who have been consistently referred to as leaders, who have consistently overcommitted ourselves and always, always been there for others, it can be nearly impossible to learn how to be there for ourselves. It can be strange, even terrifying, to ask someone else to be there for us.

Removing a mask is a scary process. It leaves us raw and vulnerable, at a point where there’s nothing else with which to hide. This is me. Here I am. I can change nothing else. We attend seminars, take notes, read our Bibles. We teach ourselves, piece by scary piece, how to be vulnerable. Maybe the guard comes down late one night with a roommate or friend. Maybe someone taught us, without us even realizing it, through walks in cornfields and late night hugs.

Slowly, we find our identities beginning to change a little. No longer are we “a leader in my home church,” or “mentoring several middle school girls.” Instead, we’re searching for a church as different as possible from the one where we grew up. We’re the mentored instead of the mentor, crying into coffee and eventually signing up for counseling. We’re trying to figure out who we are, apart from those things that defined us.

We learn how to be weak. We get lots of practice telling people we aren’t okay. We buy new clothes and learn how to blowdry our hair. Journals, once gathering dust on the bookshelves, are filled with scribbles of this new thing called feelings. Some of our stubborn corners begin to wear off, and black and white start to fade to grey.

Questions that were once deemed controversial or scary now fill our conversations. We push back on the theological boundaries of our upbringing. We lie awake at night, begging God to prove Himself and crumpling into tears of awe and gratitude because He always does. Every time.

It’s such a process, that we don’t wake up one day completely different. Little by little things change, until we realize that we would no longer define ourselves with words like “leader,” or “strong,” or “role model,” but rather with words like “learning,” and “trusting,” and “receiving grace.”

Always grace. So much grace.

We’re still there for others. But now, others are here for us. We still like to lead – after all, it’s a spiritual gift. But now, we are learning how to be led. The process hasn’t ended. We are still being transformed. Grace is still being defined in every moment of our lives. We’re learning when to say yes and who we should be vulnerable with. The process isn’t perfect.

Yet we can feel Him. He is working in us, transforming us to be more like Him. Breaking our hearts, piece by piece, for the things that break His. He is molding us into something we have been all along: His precious children.

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A Weird Fall

This has been a weird fall, if I’m being honest. It has been a weird fall in so many ways, for so many people, that to even begin to try to explain the intricacies of the pain and joy interwoven in this tapestry called “life” would take pages and hours. My heart, the hearts of my friends and family, ripped and torn and bruised and beaten and healed and helped and dropped and kicked and restored – sometimes switching from ripped, beaten, bruised; to healed, helped, restored; and back again; within the span of a day or two. Faith, relationships, friendships, boys, girls, dogs, Alzheimers, school, pride, homesickness, in-laws, abuse, inadequacy – it seems everyone close to me is dealing with one of those in some big way, whether positively or negatively.

It’s been a fall of learning. Learning to love, learning to let go of love. Learning to embrace doubt without a ceiling, knowing that God is bigger than any doubt. Learning to step out and initiate new friendships, to invite the new girl to dinner or coffee, to stop being judgmental. Learning how to put up the necessary walls to get through a day of work or class. Learning when and with whom to take down those walls.

It’s been a fall of 8 page text messages, fingers tapping the screens of cell phones rapidly, urgently, as if typing fast enough can make the pain go away. It’s been a fall of honesty and confrontation, of putting the cell phone down and meeting in the plaza or at the beach or at Union Station to discuss in person. It’s been a fall of learning to admit feelings, to admit wrong, to admit to being hurt. Learning to stop sweeping everything under the rug. Learning to stop BEING the rug, letting everyone walk all over me.

It’s been a fall of ups and downs, rapidly, sometimes three or four in a day. Rejoicing with one friend then sobbing with another, in the same hour. Calling in to work because I just can’t get out of bed this morning, I’ll be in this afternoonThe kind of hysterical laughter that only comes when it’s been way too long since happiness from deep in the gut. Like a roller coaster, climbing and climbing then plummeting with no warning whatsoever.

Up, up, up, cornfields and new church and family reunions and journaling and long walks in the city lights and making up and new friends and late night nachos and perspective and surprise visits from Jocie. Down, down, down, endless headaches and misguided conversations and trying to make my own plans and crying in the car again and maybe not going back to Peru and things changing and Lady dying and nursing home conversation and doubt. Up, down, up, up, up, down, down, down, down, down, up, up, up, up, up.

{Have there been more ups than downs? Of course. Is God still faithful and in control? He is, has been, and forever will be.}

It’s been a fall of long-sleeve-covered hands wrapped around mugs of Peruvian mate de coca. It’s been a fall of new coffee shops, popcorn every night, How I Met Your Mother, apples, considering tattoos, and appreciating my roommate more than ever before. It’s been a fall of trips back to the Mitten almost every weekend, of avoiding journaling because I just can’t right now, of new musical tastes, boots and scarves, of solving other people’s problems alongside my own.

It’s been a fall of realizing how stinking blessed I am. A fall filled with moments where all I can do is whisper, “thank You,” because I don’t come anywhere near deserving the abundance of blessings God has heaped on my head. It’s been a fall of being selfish, forgetting how blessed I am just moments after my awe-filled “thank You,” demanding, “more, Daddy, more,” like a child. It’s been a fall of grace, of Him giving me more and more and more even though I ask for it selfishly. A fall of Him prying open my tightly closed fists, then wrapping His hands firmly around my now empty palms, showing me I’m not alone.

It’s been a weird and difficult fall, yes. But when I look back on my life, the seasons that were the “weirdest,” or “hardest,” are the seasons where God has taught me the most. The seasons where I’ve cried the most have been the seasons where I’ve also grown the most. It’s been a fall of leaves changing colors, falling to the ground, and being trampled on. The trees will freeze soon, but that won’t be the end. Soon enough it will be spring.

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My Only Constant

It goes without saying that the college years are, almost by definition, a time of great change. Whether attending community college, state school, a liberal arts college, or a Bible college; whether staying home, staying in-state, moving out-of-state, or traveling abroad; college ushers in a season of change for all of its attendees. Thus, it will come as no surprise to you when I state the following:

It seems like everything in my life is changing.

There are, of course, the obvious things. My zip code changed from 48746, to 60610, and back again, in the span of nine months. I went from living in a dorm room to living in my room at home. The label of “best friend” jumped from one person to another as my friend group at college grew. I took up journalling and learned to like coffee and spinach. The list goes on and on.

And then there are the not-so-obvious changes; the ones that don’t face every college student. The house I’ve lived in since fourth grade is up for sale. When I moved home from college, I deep-cleaned my room with the purpose of making it easier for my parents to pack it up and move it to Saginaw in the fall. My baby brother is going to high school in the fall, ending the era of St. Paul Lutheran School for the Hobson family.

I’m at my grandparents’ home in Hillsdale for a few days; my beloved farm #inthecornfields. With each visit, Nana’s Alzheimer’s is worse, and I see the changes in her almost daily. The house I grew up playing with is now outfitted for the senior citizens my grandparents have somehow become, complete with guardrails on the basement stairs and bars in the bathroom.

We spent last weekend at Piatt Lake, the place that has been my summer home since before I was born. Surrounded by friends from camp, I laughed from that deepest place inside of me… but even Piatt Lake has changed. As I’ve grown older, I’ve become aware that the place I once thought entirely perfect is, in fact, marred by sin. The place where I have heard God’s voice the loudest and most clearly is also the place where His children have hurt me the most deeply. The waterline is receding, the buildings and footbridge are aging. Where we once spent our summers happily disconnected from the world, we now have cell service on the beach and in splotches around the cabin; and our WiFi will be hooked back up this summer.

As a control freak, I’ve never been a big fan of change. In fact, if asked to list my biggest fears, “change” would top the list every single time. Yet change presses in from every side. Change doesn’t care about my plans, my control. Change takes charge and pushes me aside.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about change since I’ve been home from school. As I thought, cried, prayed, journaled, etc, God pointed me to His Word. I looked up “unchangeable” in the concordance in the back of my Bible, and found these two verses.

But He is unchangeable, and who can turn Him back? What He desires, He does. For He will complete what He appoints for me, and many such things are in His mind. -Job 23:13-14

See, in the midst of all of this change, it’s easy for me to get caught up in worrying. It’s so, so simple for me to fret about my plans and purposes. Change is scary, especially knowing that we can never go back exactly to the way things were. Yet in the midst of my fear, I heard the quiet whisper of my Savior: “I am unchangeable.”

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

He was the same when He spoke the world into being. He was the same through the Exodus, through the time of the Judges and throughout all of the prophets and kings. He was the same when He watched His Son come into the world one busy night in Bethlehem. He was the same when He watched that same Son being killed, so that I may have a chance to know Him. He was the same through the beginning of the church, through Paul’s imprisonment, through the Reformation.

His character has not changed throughout all of history. Though kings and presidents have passed away, my Savior has remained steadfast. Though wars have been fought, won, and lost, He has not been moved. Though laws have been passed, He remains the same.

My Jesus is the only thing that’s constant. Though my life swirls around me, He is the same. Though I may not come “home” next year, He is the same. When Nana doesn’t know who I am, He is unchanging. Throughout the fluctuations of friendships, He remains steadfast. When His children mess up, He is the same. Whether I am on staff at Hiawatha or serving in Pucallpa, He is the same.

Are you getting the picture yet? My heart is screaming, and if I were talking to you face-to-face, you would see the wild look in my eyes, hear the tremors of relief in my voice as I realize the full depth of the meaning of this. I need not worry, I need not fear. For in a world that is filled with the one thing I fear most, change,

He has not changed.

He does not change.

He will not change.

For all eternity, my Savior is steadfast.

He is my only constant.

Hallelujah.

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