Driving in Colorado

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I’ve written much about the transition that my husband and I are currently experiencing. Change and transition are indeed a theme of my days right now.

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Recently I received a note from a good friend who had felt impressed to pray for me. BTW…Can I tell you that I have had several notes from good friends with this message?  I’m thinking that will be another blog post one day. What a gift it is to know God impresses others to pray for you? Humbling, to say the least.
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Anyway…back to the note from my friend. Her words:
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“I know this note may seem to be a little strange, but I was impressed to remind you of something you wrote for August 30 in The Yellow Ribbon Devotional. (Don’t you hate it when your words are said back to you?)
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Seriously, I read them, and they spoke to me and I thanked the Lord for them. Almost immediately I thought of you and your husband and the changes you are going through. I felt like I was to remind you of God’s faithfulness and the wonderful way you wrote it. Here it is:
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‘When we find ourselves in a situation that seems to be overwhelming, that is the time to look to God for help, strength, courage, and guidance. He has promised over and over to help us when we are overwhelmed. In His strength we can step out to do those things that, when we look back, we’re amazed by what we were able to do. We can know it wasn’t anything we did on our own, but rather the grace of God that was at work in and through us. God can help us win battles that seem insurmountable.’”

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I’m so grateful my friend took the time to remind me of my own words. I already have stories of God’s faithfulness during this time of transition, and I know there are more to come.
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Have you had those times when you looked back and were amazed at God’s work during a time you felt overwhelmed? I’d love to hear your stories of God’s faithfulness!
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©Brenda Pace, 2010
I put a dollar in one of those change machines.  Nothing changed.  ~George Carlin
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One thing in life that can be depended upon is that things will change. I recently read that change is fast, but transition is slow. Can I get an amen?
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When my husband began the process of transitioning from the military we both read the classic book on the topic, Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes by William Bridges. Bridges defines transition as “the inner reorganization and self-redefinition that you have to go through in order to incorporate change into your life.”
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Bridges divides change into three stages:
1)   Endings
2)   The Neutral Zone
3)   The New Beginning
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It sounds like double speak, but Bridges points out that any change starts with an ending. Ending in this case does not consist of a final moment, but rather, signifies the beginning of a transition. This period will include emotions that are similar to the stages of grief: denial, shock, anger, frustration, stress, and ambivalence.
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The danger for any transition is getting stuck in the Neutral Zone. It’s easy to hold on to the past because it is familiar and feels safe.

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Consistently looking back at ‘the way it was’ doesn’t help in the process of moving toward a New Beginning; rather, this period needs to be a time of reorientation and letting go. Healthy navigation through the Neutral Zone will propel one toward steps in the New Beginning process. While it may begin with skepticism, the uncertainty can be followed by acceptance, importance, hope and enthusiasm.
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Obviously, the goal in any transition is a New Beginning which “requires an understanding of external signs and inner signals that point the way to the future.” Bridges presents a convincing premise for the necessity of learning how to end things well in order to learn how to have a positive and hopefully, successful beginning.
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True confession: Transitions have always been challenging for me. Thankfully, I have learned that in order to embrace the future, I must provide ample time to grieve the past. It’s been helpful to recognize the stages of the transition I have been experiencing. I am happy to say that it is encouraging to acknowledge a sense of hope and excitement for what is ahead. That is progress!
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Verdict: Recommend–especially if anticipating a major transition
©Brenda Pace, 2010
Today I woke up singing an old song:

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Without Him I would be nothing,
Without Him I’d surely fail,
Without Him I would be drifting
Like a ship without a sail.
(Without Him, lyrics and music by Mylon LeFevere)
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It was most interesting when later in the day I was reading Scripture and my eyes fell on this verse:
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We must therefore pay even more attention to what we have heard, so that we will not drift away (Hebrews 2:1).
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The interesting timing aside, this scriptural exhortation captures my attention. As I ponder the words, I don’t think the author is talking about intentional drifting, but rather the neglect of our anchor—in other words, nonchalance about the Christian walk.  The Greek word for drifting used in this passage is a word picture that depicts something slipping away. I see the visual of a boat drifting away from the purposed harbor due to distraction or lack of interest.
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If I interpret this Scripture correctly, the protection to drifting away is to pay attention to what I have heard. What is that? The abridged version: the words of Christ.
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via Flickr Creative Commons by wjklos

I’m in a period of transition right now. I don’t use this as an excuse, but during this time when I’m in between involvement in Christian community and a regular routine I want to be sure to pay attention to the nurture of my inner life with Christ. I’m grateful for his gentle nudging today.
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What are some signs that let you know you’re drifting in your walk with Christ?
©Brenda Pace, 2010

I’m doing some reminiscing this week. It’s part of my exercise in letting go of the past in order to embrace the future. It boosts my faith to look back at ways God directed in the past. Why would I doubt he will not continue to direct?

I joked about  seeing the literal sign ‘Pace’s neighborhood’ off Pace’s Ferry Rd. as a sign that this was where we were to live. The story doesn’t stop there because driving through Vinings I spotted this place on a hill:

On a whim we drove up the hill and went in to ask if this was residential property. It was and because of circumstances too numerous to explain we discovered it was residential property that we could afford to rent.

Lesson learned: I’m thinking it’s important to ‘look up’ during transitions! The glance upward–even when I was discouraged–brought into literal view what became for us a place of refreshment and refuge for the past year.

“I look to you, heaven-dwelling God, look up to you for help.” Psalm 123:2 MSG

©Brenda Pace, 2010

“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.”

~Karen Kaiser Clark

This was my life last week:

Moving Day

Packed boxes are a good metaphor for change. Change has been a constant in my life as a military spouse. All of these boxes are going into storage for many months. I am wondering today what change will have taken place in my life when it is time to open these boxes again? As the quote above states, I recognize I have a choice in the process of growing in my character through this transition. What will I do today to take a step toward healthy growth?

My prayer for this time of transition: That I may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10 NIV).

©Brenda Pace, 2010