Monday, August 6, 2012

What to Do When Change is Difficult

Perhaps you're one of those creative souls who is constantly thinking of new ways to rearrange the living room furniture.

My mother is like that, ever imagining new ways to turn the area rug, position the La-z-boy chairs, hang the picture over the sofa.

Growing up, I never understood why she couldn't just leave it all alone.  Why couldn't everything be simple and stay the same? 

Then, I left home and came to the grown-up realization that remaining static wasn't possible.  People are just like the plants in my yard--they grow or die.  Even the seemingly forever oak tree must fall.   

Clinging to lack of change is just an illusion, a comfortable quilt of self-deception.  

Still, we "grown ups" are supposed to just deal with it.  And we're supposed to raise children who can go with the flow, who can live through whatever flux life throws at them.

Honestly, I have never known how to do this.  My heart was created for eternity where there is no loss, no partings, no yesterdays or tomorrows.

I was made in the image of an eternal God who never changes, so, how am I supposed to just embrace something that isn't who I was created to be?  I'll admit--I don't have that answer.

Ironically, I birthed three children who are carbon copies of me--they all abhor change, thrive on consistency, and need a running start to get used to any change that's about to happen.

When they were babies and toddlers, our house would slowly change to and from Daylight Savings' Time a week in advance, fifteen minutes every day so the shift wasn't so debilitating.

Now that they're older, we're turning back the clock already to prepare for the start of school.  We also try to provide the comfort of consistency in the form of weekly routine activities like worship at our church, story time at the library, mommy going to Bible study, prayer walking through the neighborhoods, and enjoying movies and popcorn at Oma's on date night.

Then, there are the little sprinkles of excitement thrown in to mark major changes. 

Over the past two years, we've started having small get-togethers to mark the seasons' change--nothing fancy, just family and friends roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over an open campfire.  While the children refer to them as "parties," in reality, they're a way to prepare our household for what is to come.

The idea of celebrating change began with my oldest, Wyatt, reading in a children's book about an "Autumn Harvest Festival" to celebrate the first day of Autumn.  That was shortly followed by another book about a "Berry Blossom Festival" celebrating the First Day of Spring.

Considering how long and oppressive the summers are down here in Louisiana, it seemed like a good idea to look forward to a more appreciated season.

By the second year, Wyatt was creating his own theme for each party, and this mother was sending e-vites, putting up a few handmade decorations, and making simple craft projects for the children.

With Wyatt heading off to school in a little over a week, I decided to add a third party to the annual rotation, this one to celebrate school's starting.  The theme?  Fireflies.

The problem was it had been dripping hot last week.  On Tuesday, the heat index was 110, and with the intense humidity, nobody could stand outside without melting into a large puddle. 

What else was there to do but pray?  And we did--for clouds, for cooler temperature, for a breeze, a sprinkle maybe, but no heavy rain.  Yes, we were that specific.

An hour before the party, the thunder clouds formed all around us, and it began to sprinkle, then stopped.  The temperature dropped from 87 to 78, and yes, there was a cool breeze every once in awhile.

God had shown up for our little party in a big way, blessing us with everything we had prayed for.

Nine little children bounced and romped, took turns swinging and eating their fill before heading indoors to make a glowing firefly with an Easter egg and also painting glow-in-the-dark paint in Mason Jars for make-believe fireflies.

In a stressful season of life, it was fun to take a step back.

When change is inescapable, when it is difficult, choose joy.  Kick up your heels, invite some good friends to join in with you, and pray for God's blessing on it all.

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