Sometimes I wonder if I will be forever in transition of some sort or another.  The past three years has been one change after the next, with barely enough time to relax and enjoy the view.  I have watched family relations on both sides of my family be tested and tried.  I have seen frustration take its toll, leading to the disintegration of relationships, and I have watched the same test/trial be used to strengthen and build up relationships.  Both cases involving my husband, myself, and one or more family members from both sides and even our own children.  I’ve watched marriages be tried and fail, and other marriages be tried and succeed, strengthened.  I’ve watched kids grieve their losses, doing their best by trial and error to learn healthy coping skills, and I’ve watched kids successfully balance a load that to anyone looking on appears to be too heavy…and yet, they continue carrying it, and with grace.

In each instance, the defining attitude determined the success rate:

Those who let bitterness and anger reign, reaped strife and loss.

The harder one works to be in control and call the shots, the harder they fall when God reclaims His rightful place on that throne.

Discontent breeds worry and angst…which give birth to depression and strife.

Total dependence and whole-hearted trust in God and His will give birth to peace that passes all human understanding, even when the money has run out…and the gas tank reads empty…even when the job didn’t come through, and we haven’t a clue what to do next.

Serving trumps being served…big time…but being served builds humility that can’t be found anywhere else.  Both are essential, in their own time for the building of a person.

Pride is an ugly bag to carry around.  Best nailed to the cross and buried in the deepest ocean.

I am a tool in the hands of the Master.  What He does with me, according to His will, is His business.  I just have to remain in His hand, and not be shy of contact with others.

While I love the freedom to participate or not, now I am learning that my choices affect others besides myself…and that same free will is offered to my family and friends who may or may not realize this truth yet, and that has an effect on me.

While the above is true, I also know that it’s not all about me.  The beautiful truth of Romans 8:28 is that God works in several dimensions all at the same time.  While he’s using my own past, present and future circumstances in His work for my good, He is using me in the lives of those around me as He is working all their “things” for their good as well.  Often your “things” will bump into and overlap one with mine; this is beautiful and good from heaven’s viewpoint, though from this earthly perspective, it can be uncomfortable and humbling.  I continue to pray to be able to see with heaven’s perspective, even though right now, I know I’m looking at the back of the quilt.

We are transitioning again…across state lines, from parenting to empty house, living with adult children en route, from employment to unemployment, and seeking gainful employment again…and while we are transitioning, there is more waiting, and leaning, and learning.

So much change.

So many opportunities to trust, and draw near.

Hopefully there is healthy growth in these dark, quiet places.

As my dear friend Kelly pointed out to me today, “living in the shadow” (Psalm 91) can be a dark place, or a place of refuge, depending on our perspective, and how we choose to view it.