It’s harvest time. We’re experiencing a very warm autumn here in Southeast PA. The leaves have finally started falling. The once green, full trees are now thinning and the landscape is starting to change. At about this time a few years ago I wrote my first blog for Study With Friends, called “Seasons of Change” (here). In hindsight, the changes were just getting started. Since that post, my family has been on a bit of a wild ride. Life is the same and yet so different. As the saying goes, “The only constant in life is change.”
Everything seemed to happen in 2015. Our 17-year old daughter had been experiencing concerning symptoms, so we began chasing down doctors. She had tests, blood work, a bone scan, and more. For months we saw various doctors but found no answers. Eventually she became seriously ill which prompted a visit to a GI specialist, who correctly diagnosed Crohn’s disease. This was ultimately a relief after the frustrating search for medical answers. But it was new territory for us and we were busy trying to search for colleges, not schedule infusions, hospital trips, and colonoscopies.
In 2015, my dad was also diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. My father, with the analytical mind, who had scientific work published, has dementia. My dad, the man who could fix anything, who built and renovated part of our home, now struggles with finding things to do. Thankfully he is still very much himself; he can drive and function independently and converse, but the changes and challenges are noticeable. It’s very painful to observe and come to terms with.
In 2015 my parents also sold their vacation home at the Jersey shore, after nearly 25 years. I was devastated. It was a living, breathing place full of love, laughter, and my favorite memories. The place where we spent weekend and vacation time with our extended family and raised our babies together. The loss of it was profound; it was like losing a beloved family member and I’m still grieving.
In December of 2015, I went back to work full-time in the corporate world after being a stay-at-home mom for 17 years. This was (and still is) one of the hardest adjustments of my life. The new schedule, time management challenges, and missing my family all take their toll. But the actual job itself is very challenging.
One of my current job requirements is to host meetings involving pharmaceutical research and present content to renowned doctors. Some of the doctors are in Japan, so the meetings start at 5:30 AM and last until 9:00 AM. Every week! I also have to arrange for an interpreter due to the language barrier. Since I have a fear of public speaking, having to present anything – especially to physicians who don’t speak English, is not only intimidating but terrifyingly stressful.
I’m sure there are many women who would thrive in such circumstances, but not me. I’m a creative-type. I’d rather be making, gardening, bakin,g or reading. I want to work just enough to afford college education for our 3 kids, not climb the corporate ladder. If you asked me 3 years ago what I would least want to do, I’d say “project management” without hesitation. But after struggling for months to find a less demanding job, here I am doing project management in an intense environment on a highly visible project with a demanding client. A “normal” job with reasonable hours and workload just doesn’t seem to be God’s plan for me right now.
In 2016 I turned 50. Some of us deal with that milestone better than others. Then our eldest child left the nest to begin her freshman year in college. Later that year our home was burglarized. One of our children was also diagnosed with anxiety, depression, and ADHD, which has been challenging and significant. We’re also handling the college search and application process again. Needless to say, we’ve been busy.
Still, the daily mundane details help us to focus on one another and to function. We are very blessed and happy. But sometimes the full weight of what life has thrown our way catches us off guard and hits hard. At times like these we need to remember that God is sovereign and He ultimately has our best interest at heart:
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. -Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)
Recently I was reminiscing with my husband about the Eagles’ Superbowl win. I wondered how much fun it would be to watch that winning game again, relive all the nail-biting moments and see a replay of the epic Philly Special. Now that we know how it ends the game won’t be as stressful to watch. The odds were against the underdogs, but they pulled it off and won. Wow…how the city celebrated!
My mom and I also encouraged each other with a similar thought: life has been difficult…but we know how it all ends! This gives us great hope and inner peace. We know where we’re going after this life and whom we belong to: the King of all Kings and Lord of all Lords! God’s ways are not our ways, but He is good and faithful. He has a purpose for our lives and we can trust him with our future. We can endure through our faith which is rooted in hope, because of Jesus:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. -Hebrews 12:1-2
…we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. -Hebrews 6:18-20 (emphasis mine)
I love the lyrics in the song called “On to the Light (The Rush, Part 3)” by Kings Kaleidoscope:
We know where we’re going, we know where we’re going
Hey! Come, we’re castin’ away!
Into the night!
Sinners with sight!
On to the light
On to the dawn forever free!
Where the heavens bend and bleed
Where the saints and angels sing
“On to the throne of the King of all kings!”
We know where we’re going, We know where we’re going
Hey! Don’t look back now
Don’t you look down!
Come and see the star ahead
Come and see the broken fed
Citizens and Saints of God
Holy, righteous, reconciled!
We know where we’re going, We know where we’re going
We know where we’re going, We know where we’re going!