The Pain of Change and Loss
I have always loved the start of fall. The crisp, sweatshirt weather and sunny skies makes my nostalgic heart skip a beat. The shorter days turn my summery disposition into a reflective one too -- one that is all too aware that C H A N G E is a-comin’.
Part of this awareness is obvious. I mean, the leaves are literally changing colors and falling down right before my eyes. But my contemplative spirit swoons for another reason: school!!
As a kid, I LOVED school. I loved how my LeSportsac pencil bag would bulge with all of my #2 pencils in it; I loved twisting and turning in front of my mirror while trying to decide whether my eSprit book bag should go across my chest or over one shoulder. (Clearly, I grew up in the 80s.) And as I’ve gotten older, not much has changed, probably because I became a teacher (big surprise, right?).
But this fall, everything will be different.
I won’t be teaching subordinates and comma splices. I won't be giving extra encouragement to students toiling to pass my class. I won't be doing any of this because my Grammar and Writing class got cancelled. Forever. And what is to come of me if I’m not teaching?!
This might sound melodramatic to you, but it's not easy fighting against the American assumption that WHAT WE DO defines us. It makes introductory conversations so awkward, too, because people just don't know what to say!
“Nice to meet you, Jonna...and what do you do?”
“I don’t know.”
Blink. Stare. Awkward smile.
Normally this wouldn’t bother me, but my role as MOM is also changing: my three girls no longer need me to dress them or feed them (or wipe their butts......and really, what else is there after that?!??)
What’s worse, is that typically when change or loss hits my life I write about it -- it's just my way of processing big feelings and thoughts. But for some reason I haven't even been able to do that! I’ve just felt so uninspired and lost lately, as if everything I love and define myself by is being taken away from me.
Then one day my pity party ended. I was sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, thinking all the woe-is-me thoughts, when God lovingly intervened:
Jonna, he said, Isn’t it enough to just be my daughter?
“Psht. I know that I’m your daughter, God.”
But do you REALLY?
Hmmmmm......I honestly didn't know.
So I sat there in silence (because I couldn't go anywhere anyway), and then it hit me:
What if teaching and motherhood and writing weren’t what I was meant to BE? What if all of those things could be taken away from me to reveal what my heart really loves?
Yikes. That's a hard truth to swallow, but accurate nonetheless.
You see, I had let the world’s opinions and thoughts of who I was take precedence over God’s. I had accepted the norm that “do-ing” is better than “be-ing" and that you can't be "blessed" if you've have nothing. (Because don't blessings = happiness??)
But that’s when I thought of Job -- a guy who had everything and then all of a sudden didn't -- and that's when it dawned on me: prosperity conceals our idolatry and false faith whereas loss reveals what we really love and believe.
So in a way, Job had it all.
His true belief system unearthed itself with each loss. And do you know what he did when all of that happened? He fell to the ground and worshipped and praised God (Job 1:20-21).
Let me say that again: Job fell to the ground and worshipped and praised God.
Friends, we cannot take this fact lightly; and this truth isn't just for those of us in the pit of despair, it's for ALL of us. Because if we really believe that we are Daughters of God, then that HAS to be enough.
If Job can worship through the pain, so can we.
So I don’t know what you’re going through today. Maybe you’re in a season of change and loss too. Maybe you’ve lost a lot of things and it feels like God has forgotten you. But hear me when I say this, God still sees you!! He loves you and has created you to be ONE thing and one thing only -- his precious and beautiful daughter.
If we can keep our hearts and minds focused on that, then all of those worldly ideals will just fall away like autumn leaves, only to be crunched underfoot as we walk on by, victoriously and singing his praise.
Jonna Meidal is a mother to 3 girls who seeks to parent them by the fruits of the spirit (and her Quiet Hat). She's been to 20 countries (yay!), loves to write & laugh (a LOT), & can’t get through the day without eating popcorn (duh!). You can read more of what she’s been up to at jonnameidal.com or follow her adventures on Instagram @quiet.hat.adventures.