Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Aftermath: Endless Transition

I have found myself calling this period of my life "The Aftermath." I've never said it out loud because it seems a little silly to already have a label for the phase of life you are currently living in, when usually it is when we look back through our life's stories that we can identify a certain period of time as being "the dark ages" or "mountaintop experiences." Although, now that I think about it, there was one particular period in life where things seemed to be dramatically changing for me and my two closest friends, so we made a CD mix and named it "we're in a wave" because life was constantly changing. Though, like oh so many things in my life, that title is not nearly as witty as I thought it was at the time…

I call it The Aftermath because it seems to be a reactionary tale to my previous experiences, both catastrophic and miraculous. Moving forward seems an impossibility without giving pause to the events that shaped who I am and so dramatically changed my worldview. That's the optimistic way of looking at it. The realistic perspective is that my past at times can both shape and inhibit my future, largely depending on if I wake up feeling like a day in my yoga pants with a bowl of ice cream and a pity party or feeling like a good 3 mile walk and drying my hair. 

In my best moments I am a person who can recount the hardest times of my life, see God's deliverance in those moments, and want to stand on a mountaintop or a huge stage and tell the world that God is alive and really truly cares about his people. In my very best moments I have the confidence to bolster forward into living out my dreams and finding jobs while simultaneously being a great playmate and caretaker for my little girl. I can be a great housekeeper and decorator and prayer warrior in my best times. But in my moments of self-pity, the confidence from my best-me moments seems to falter and my dreams are hidden behind a cloud of doubt and self-deprecation. And yet, I find that the everyday me is a person who rarely realizes this dichotomy. The everyday me relishes in the moments where I can snuggle a little baby who doesn't feel good, or have a meal with talkative friends, or play peek-a-boo as the sun rises in the morning.

I used to be a planner. I used to derive great satisfaction from a calendar filled for three moths into the future. I really enjoyed feeling like I had a hold on what was happening in my life. Well, then I got pregnant and cancer and sadness and spread and regression and a baby, and then I stopped planning. Because it was then that I realized that a filled calendar does not make me impervious to heartache and trouble. No matter how fully I plan my weeks, there will be factors that are out of my control. There will be storms and unanticipated celebrations and sniffles and hundreds of millions of other things that no one really anticipates as being a part of the future, though they are so obviously part of the present. Now I am living in a moment where I realize that I should be planning a couple big giant life things, while also understanding that I am hardly in a position to prophesy my future on a calendar.

The Aftermath is what I call it. It feels like an endless transition. Looking back over the last 2, 5, 8 years of my life, I realize that every step has been in some way merely a transition into the next: getting ready for college, getting ready for grad school, getting ready for marriage, getting ready for a career, getting ready for a baby, getting ready for a career round two… Every moment in life is a transition if we let it be. There is always something to prepare for, always something to look forward to, things that require our time and attention. I have the unfortunate problem of getting so tunnel-visioned into the next big thing that I lose sight of the importance of the thing I am doing at that very moment. The everyday becomes hurried and rushed, almost forgotten in light of what is up ahead. It sucks the life out of today and projects it onto tomorrow, though once tomorrow comes, the life is gone from it too. And the worst part is that I created this vacuum, unintentionally of course, and out of good intentions and a super duper type A personality.

Well my friends, that isn't working for me anymore.

I am trying something new. I am trying this thing that I am sure most normal people do already, where I live in the day that I have been given. I am allowing the normal little things I do to be fulfilling in new way. Things like laundry and errands and playing in the floor and Bible studies are all richer in their importance than I let them be previously (well not laundry, laundry is literally the worst). In making the everyday me more important than the filled calendar, I am finding a much fuller life, fuller in the sense of quality instead of quantity. Where is there room for the Spirit to move and work in my heart if I am living halfway in this moment and halfway in the next? How can I ever fully enjoy the beauty of the road I am traveling when I am straining to see the road so far ahead?

It's not The Aftermath. It's not a transition. It is the most wonderful part of my life so far, the product of one of God's many redemption stories. I have to stop branding this phase as something reactionary and give myself the space to enjoy it for the gift that it is. This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it! This day, this very day, whether it is a day of transition or idleness, busyness or rest- the Lord made this day and gave it as a gift to you. He gave you new mercies this morning, he gave you time and created beautiful things to energize your soul. He gave you life today. It's much harder to fill a calendar when I breathe in the truth that God gave me life TODAY. I rejoice and am glad in the littleness of today, and leave the Lord to determine tomorrow.

We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. - Proverbs 16:9


  1. Love this...will anxiously await more posts!

  2. oh Brittany this brings so much joy to my heart! I also need to be reminded of these truth to live in today and trust the Lord with the now. Thank you for sharing! I'm so blessed to hear about your journey :) praying for you and your sweet family to live in the now!

    1. Thank you friend :) And thank YOU for reading!