I’ll never forget the day, seven months into my husband’s deployment in Iraq, when he called and said, “Plans have changed. We’ve been extended two more weeks.” I was devastated, my kids, ages 4 through 11, were devastated and as the only adult, I had to choose how to communicate my sadness to four kids who had been anticipating their dad’s homecoming. My attitude would determine their view of how I supported my husband and the life that we were all embracing together. Yet again, a couple of years later, he called to say that his WestPac deployment had changed from six to eight months. Little did I fully understand when we entered the Navy 18 years ago that change was not only a possibility but rather an expected reality of Navy life. After multiple times of lamenting plans that could never come to fruition; missed birthdays, holidays and any number of sports events and family gatherings, I finally made the decision to embrace a life full of change, lament what would not be, and look for the opportunities hidden within. To be clear, I have in no way mastered this, but just making that decision has brought about contentment and joy that I would have otherwise missed. Opportunity almost always exists within change, it is just a matter of whether or not we decide to have eyes to see it.
Having an attitude that embraces change as an opportunity has brought about some awesome adventures. Due to changes in orders, my husband was here to celebrate our 20th anniversary which entailed dropping our son off for college in Phoenix. Not an ideal anniversary location! But getting to spend that momentous day with our son was precious. Then a year later, due to further changes in orders, we got to connect halfway around the world and spend our 21st anniversary enjoying the beauty of Bali. What a gift!
One of the most exhausting parts of change occurs when the changes pile up. It’s not that hard to prepare for a single change, but one on top of the next!? Circumstances changed where we were going to live three times when moving back to San Diego county. Yet again, God had a plan; and the final change landed us walking distance from EFCC.
During this COVID season, one of my favorite passages of Scripture has been Isaiah 43:18-19, “But forget all that – it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”
God is not saying, “forget all that” because he really wants the Israelites to forget his faithfulness in the past. In fact, he just spent 17 verses reminding them! No, he’s saying that what is to come is so glorious that the past will pale in comparison! The opportunities are endless. Change is hard and it requires lament, but once we have grieved what isn’t, we then get to choose to look for and celebrate the opportunities God is presenting in the future of what is.
Director of Care & Counseling