My family is in a season of change. And Friday we watched my little brother step onto a high school football field for one of the last times ever. His cleats were laced just like every other game; his jersey fit the same; the coaches gave encouragement; and the crowd screamed loud, but it will be one of the last times. A countdown until the end.
And for ten years of his life we’ve watched this strong youngest play a sport he’s loved. Little boy to now man, we’ve cheered him on, loved him through, and supported with all we could. But Friday was different as his name and senior were announced side by side. Bitter sweet, that’s what they call it.
Tears fell and hugs were a little tighter because a season, it’s changing. And he’s no longer the little brother on the Eagles, but a man in the real world. A gift of new time that keeps unwrapping itself without our permission. Because who wants to change when what we love is now?
And the shifting is hard.
So seasons come and go and we change. And the stretching of the change leaves marks, evidence that we’ve lived and something remains. Because memories will always imprint on us and these marks are visible reminders of lived out gifts.
Reminders that we’ve been blessed. Oh, truly how we’ve been blessed.
Each of us are stepping now, you and me and that person over there. Some of us are in preparation seasons, some of us are in calling seasons, some of us are being told to wait. But in it all, change is a slow mold making us who we were meant to be all along. God directing the child He crafted in the eternal places. A Father guiding a growing one.
Maybe if looked on from Heaven, earth looks like one big mark of change.
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so My ways are higher than your ways
and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” -Isaiah 55:8-9
And I’ve learned that change is necessary; a part of the growing up that isn’t really as bad as it seems. Hands have once held high school years and then college years and then workplace years and other years. Our hands have held happiness and heartbreak, frustration and acceptance. Relationships have been held here and singleness too. Intimacy with God and prodigal days as well. Life, death, sickness, and healing. It’s all been right in our two hands.
And then as each season was called away, marks were left behind; reminders that God knows more than us and our lives really are His.
So change can also be spelled g-r-o-w-t-h and then things make better sense. God has me and He has you and it’s all going to be just fine. He will bring about His purpose in love and in patience. We just have to trust and firmly believe He will be the Father He’s said He is since the first breath in Eden.
Do we really believe He is Who He says He is?
Do we trust that He has our best in mind when we experience the bitter sweet seasons of change?
And Clay will walk off the football field eventually, but then comes college and marriage, fatherhood and excitement with The Lord; all seasons that will bring so much joy and grace I can barely type. And can anything be better than walking along the path God has set from eternity? I think He’s more excited than we are about us becoming His created child.
So we welcome change and we become change, not because it’s easy, but because it’s hard. And suddenly, out of nowhere we are changed from the inside out. And in the change we are gently shaped by a Father’s hands, a molding process we get used to as we walk with Him. A breathing space that He’s in control and we are really just the clay. Moldable, usable, reflective of our Creator, and totally dependent on His plans. Change, growth, dependance on the Lord. . . a beautiful and synonymous trifecta.
It’s in this trifecta that we discover a history of grace that we have so gingerly, and sometimes reluctantly, walked. Tip toeing through hard seasons and dancing through joy filled seasons, tear stains and laugh lines. We’ve lived. And goodness, looking back we’ve been blessed, have we not? His plan, it somehow works better than our own and I can’t help but feel like I’ve been wrapped in gratitude.
Gratitude that He moved me when I thought I wasn’t ready. Gratitude that He separated me from people I thought I loved. Gratitude that He stretched me when I thought it hurt too much. Gratitude for the answered and unanswered prayers. Gratitude for the crossed paths and the protected moments. Gratitude for His belief in me even when I didn’t believe in myself.
Grateful. That’s just the byproduct of change. Grateful to have been and grateful to be. Grateful for the coming and the unknown. And grateful to the One Who makes it all happen.
So change is not a mystery kept hidden, but a tender gift held dear. Tenderly it is given and tenderly we take; and the journey to gratitude begins again.