There are changes we just expect. They come around again and again, signalling to us new growth, a new season.
Changes you don't anticipate, however, can certainly throw you a curve ball. Three years ago (nearly to the day), my life began to fill with changes I never expected...like finding out I was expecting baby #3. That news was completely unexpected, but such a beautiful, beautiful blessing. It set in motion many changes around our house...preparing our hearts to be a family of five...remodeling to make the best use of the space in our home. The anticipation, excitement and joy in the conversations with our older daughters was absolutely magical.
Unfortunately, unexpected changes aren't always happy ones.
Hearing the news from my doctor that there was something wrong with my unborn child's right lung was one of those changes. Visits to out-of-town specialists...weekly sonograms to measure the mass on her lung...conflicting reports about those measurements...such a roller coaster ride of a pregnancy.
Believing that the mass was gone after her birth, only to find that it wasn't, was not what we had expected or hoped for. Being thrust into a world of scheduling CT scans and surgeries was a change for which I was not prepared.
When I handed my 3-month old daughter in her tiny Looney Tunes hospital gown off to a nurse in the hallway that Friday, I had no idea that it would be the last time I would experience Kristen's beautiful eyes looking back at me. That change was unexpected. Unwanted. Un-everything.
Even today, the changes continue. Kristen's room has changed. The look of much of the house has changed (we've been doing some much-needed painting). Even the side of the bed I sleep on has changed. I knew that our schedule and routines around here would change with the addition of a baby to our family. I knew that a 4-month old was going to change the way we home schooled. Sadly, the changes to our school schedule were not even close to what I had envisioned. Instead of working out how to teach my older girls while caring for an infant, I found myself working out how to teach while grieving not only the loss of my daughter, but of my mother as well. Thankfully, a dear friend very graciously opened her homeschool to my girls for 2 months. It kept us from having to school through the following summer and allowed me some time alone to begin to process the many unexpected changes that I faced.
My world has not stopped since my daughter died. It certainly headed in a different direction than I anticipated, but it hasn't stopped. Changes. They're all around. Some are happy; others are heart-breaking. Thankfully, I have an unchangeable God. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Even when I don't understand the changes in my life, I know He is constant.
Most of the time, that's a comfort. In all honesty, however, there are times that knowing that just doesn't cut it for me. They don't happen all the time, but they are there...the occasional moments that are just utterly and overwhelmingly sad. More head and heart stuff. The knowing and the feeling just don't always mesh. Even so, He's still there, extending to me the grace to grow through the changes that continue to come. Thank you, unchangeable Father.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. -James 1:17