The thing about transitions is we often think they’ll happen one at a time. In fact, we try to plan them that way. We don’t go for a new job when we’re planning a wedding, we don’t try to get pregnant at the same time we’re moving. We don’t buy a house when the rest of life feels upside down, “One thing at a time,” we tell ourselves.
But the truth about transitions is it rarely happens this way. Life isn’t a ball machine at the tennis courts, steadily lobbing balls at us one at a time.
Instead, life feels like a thousand ball machines—felt, green transition flying at us from all corners. There’s no break, no chance to catch your breath, no time to even hit them back.
Changes don’t come one at a time, they seem to happen all at once with more chaos than our perfectly laid plans know what to do with.
At least this is how it happens for me.
Carl and I had steady jobs when we got engaged. We’d been working at the same place, had a routine, had roommates and nice places to live, it seemed to be the perfect time for the transition towards marriage.
We started planning our wedding, it was slightly stressful but also wonderful, and we began to dream for the life that was unfolding in front of us.
Maybe we’d move to a new state in a few years, maybe we’d apply for new jobs at some point, but not today. Today was for marriage and we were going to keep everything around us as steady as possible in the meantime.
But as you can imagine, that’s not what happened at all.
On a random Thursday just three months before our wedding, Carl and I got called into a small office with two serious looking executives staring back at us.
Five minutes later we walked out of the office each holding a severance check. The company hadn’t budgeted well, they were making cuts, we no longer had jobs, “effective immediately.”
We stood outside for a long time in a tight hug. “It’s going to be okay,” Carl whispered into my ear, and I believed him. I just didn’t know how it would all be okay.
This was not the storybook engagement we’d pictured, and my heart ached under the weight of the change.
But it wasn’t just the physical transition that made it so gut-wrenching. It was the emotional toll the change took on us. I thought I’d have time to get used to becoming a wife, time to soak in all of the newness as it trickled in bit by bit. But I didn’t have that luxury. It was go-time. We were on. Life had to be attended to and it couldn’t wait for me to process.
We arrived at our wedding battered and exhausted, but we arrived stronger, and better, and more in love somehow. Because we learned how to be kind to each other, and how to love one another in the midst of a storm. We learned how to weather the storm together—how he could protect me and I could protect him right back. We learned that we’re tougher than we thought we were, and that we can handle more than we thought we could.
And most of all, we learned that God really comes through in a pinch.
In the last month, we’ve found ourselves in a strikingly similar season of transition. Things we thought were secure and steady beneath our feet turned out not to be. We watched as a tidal wave of change cast a shadow over our happy, steady little life. We grasped hands and steeled ourselves for impact. “Here we go again.”
And on many days it’s hard, and really, really scary. But when I feel like I’m going to crumble, I remind myself of what happened last time. God was there, and He took better care of us than we had the imagination to pray for. He always does.
If you’re going through a season of transition right now—one you feel is on the verge of swallowing you whole—let’s repeat this verse to ourselves together. Our knees may be weak, and our voices may tremble, but we know this to be true:
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9.