I’m not sure I ever said the words, “Lord, I will go wherever you want me,” exactly, but the message must have broken through in my desire to be fully devoted. When my husband first started making short-term trips to Afghanistan, I was glad for him but content in my own participation in the Great Commission. I never thought I would end up there, likely the biggest transition in my forty decades of life (besides motherhood).
I went to Kabul as a brand-new principal serving expats, Muslims, and war-traumatized people. I had visited but never lived in a different country. My three children were launching, and I left them behind. I was alone with my husband for the first time in 24 years, and we were even working together on the same campus with our vastly different personalities.
The transition brought wave after wave of change and unknowns. Many times, it was too much for me to handle during those seven years. There was much pain, crying, and clinging to God.
Change is the key impetus to growth. We see it in nature from season to season and in our children as they try new activities and mature in their bodies and minds. We all would say we want to grow, just not go through any pain, which goes hand-in-hand with change. Can’t growth just be a snap outcome from cognitively embracing new, more Christlike concepts?
Apparently not in God’s sovereign plans. He uses our weak muscles, undeveloped understandings, and resistance to change to bring about growth. We can’t rely on ourselves because the new environment, new skills needed, and new people around us are beyond our scope of expertise.
We need God and must let go of our feeble attempts to master the changes. This gives opportunities to highlight his ways, his strength, and his greatness in a wonderful, fearful contrast.
Amidst my pain, there was growth from the inside out as I saw God teach, correct, encourage, heal, and lead me forward through the fuzzy transition into new confidence in his love and care for me.
What transition has caused you the most pain and growth? How can you reflect on this truth and use it in a current challenge?