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Trusting Through Transitions

by HEIDI J. SMITH TRANSITION Culture adjustment Culture shock Transitions Trust
Trusting Through Transitions
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Deuteronomy 31:8

Wiping the sweat from my forehead, I finished plucking feathers from the chicken and glanced at the clock. One more hour until the electricity shuts off. 

The screen door squeaked and several barefooted kids moseyed into the kitchen. My son's eyes shone as he held out a green lizard for me to admire. 

"Momma, we're hungry," he whispered looking at his new friends.

"Let me grab some mangoes," I answered as I pulled a kitchen towel out of the drawer and gasped. Little teeth marks covered my dish towel and all the others! 

What in the world? I thought as a thump, thump sounded overhead. 

"Rats!" the kids chorused.

My heart shuttered. Oh no, Lord! Hand-sized spiders, thumb-size roaches and now RATS IN MY HOUSE! This is too much! 

Have you struggled with transitioning? 

The Israelites did.

They wailed, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!” Numbers 11:4b-6 

Rather than focus on their new freedom, they complained. They wanted to take matters into their own hands and go back. Just like I was doing. 

Change unsettles us because everything is different. As we are pushed outside our comfort zones, doubts creep in making us wonder if we can do it. 

Our lack of control unnerves us and forces to decide: Who are we going to trust? God or ourselves?

If we are going to transition well, we need to trust the Lord. He never changes even though our surroundings change. As we trust in Him, he provides peace and strength for each day. 

"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV

Transitioning is a process so give yourself grace and expect to grow. But no matter how many changes we encounter, remember God never changes and promises to be with us. 

Closing Prayer
Lord, thank you for calling me to serve you and for going with me. Help to trust you through this transition time. May my eyes see the blessings rather than the burdens. Please give me grace and strength to handle the “differences” so that I might shine for you. Please help me to adjust to the new culture, language, and people. Please use me for your glory. Amen.
Book: Foreign to Familiar by Sarah Lanier This book is helpful because it takes about hot and cold cultures and their differences.
Book: Re-entry by Peter Jordan This book is helpful because it talks about coming back to your home country.
Book: Third Culture Kids: Growing up Among Worlds by David Pollock and Ruth Van Reken This book is helpful because I have lived in different countries and now my kids.
Question for Reflection

As you transition, who are you trusting in? What tips helped you transition well?

Heidi J. Smith
June 21, 2022

I like to be in control. When everything changes, I’m forced to trust in myself or God. I would like to say I trust in God, but I struggle. I have to continually renew my mind with Scripture and pray. This helps keep my eyes on Him.
Some tips that have helped our family:
1. Positive Mind - Choose to count current blessings and accept the differences. Renew your mind with Scripture by setting it around the house (Phil. 4:8).
2. Local Mentor - Find a local mentor to answer questions and give you the "lay of the land." Our language teacher/neighbor was a valuable asset to our family.
3. Homeland Memorabilia - Take family photos, holiday decor, or other important possessions to provide a taste of your homeland. Celebrate "homeland" holidays or other important family traditions.