A little over two months ago I loaded my 35 week pregnant self and my two year old into a plane and flew across the country from Ontario to Alberta. Without a return ticket. Thankfully, my husband followed a few days later driving a U-haul containing the bulk of our possessions after lots of purging and packing. The six weeks following this was basically a steady flow of new changes. We transitioned to a new province, then a new city and new house, new vehicles, a new job (or two) for Kevin and a new church family, and it all culminated with the birth of our new baby boy in the middle of September.
During the weeks of transition up until our sons birth, I found myself oddly calm and unemotional. I seemed to be in survival mode, simply rolling with the changes as they came, and focusing on making the right choice for each of the many decisions we had to make.
Now, however, the changes have all happened. There is great relief with that. There is also finally the space and time for things to settle in, for reality to hit. I spent close to two months doing what had to be done, and not processing any of it. Now it is all sinking in, and I have the space to be sad. When I think about the goodbyes and all the changes that have occurred, I would even use the word grief to describe how I feel at times. I realized one day recently however, that I was feeling this way without a lot of hope. In a sense, I had closed fists. Hands clenched, closed to our new reality, to new relationships and a new ministry here.
It is good and right for me to allow these emotions to come. But I want to process them with open hands, not closed hands. So what does it mean to process these hard changes with open hands?
First, having open hands means continuing to trust God. Even though this series of changes has been difficult, I can remember that He is trustworthy. I can choose to walk in trust, rather than doubt His love, goodness and faithfulness.
Second, having open hands means continuing to hope. If I continue in hope, then I do not get stuck looking only backwards. It is ok to grieve the things I’ve left behind in this move, but I cannot only look back. Because God is trustworthy, I can look forward with hope. I can have anticipation and expectation for how He will work in my own heart, my family, our church family and our community.
Third, having open hands means continuing to give. If I continued with closed hands, I would lose my willingness to love, to serve, and to invest in new relationships. But with open hands I can give to my new community even while missing the one I left. I can give knowing God will continue filling me up with His goodness, love and grace.
So I move forward. I still miss my loved ones, I still am processing some of these changes. But I’ve opened my hands and embraced this new step in our lives.