In Trials on
6 March, 2012

Difficult transitions

Life is full of change. Sometimes it’s good, and other times it seems bad. Really bad.

But sometimes I wonder if it’s all a matter of perspective.

Maybe I should explain myself. The way I see it, our lives are filled with points of transition. I might get a new job, move into a different house, start going to a new school or decide to start eating healthy. These are all things that consist of a shift, a change or an adjustment. But you know what else we can also define as points of “transition?” Heartbreak. Sorrow. Pain. Even Loss.

These times in our lives really, really stink. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about. Yes, my life is relatively easy compared to people who live in third world countries or to those who live in places where they are persecuted for their faith. Yes, I have it good. But life still hurts sometimes. I’m sure you would agree.

But these times are not times of defeat. These times are not awkward or inconvenient. And most important, they don’t define me. They’ll only define me if I let them define me by choosing to label myself as “the girl who did this or that,” “the girl who dated this person and that person,” or “the girl who used to be ______.”

Yes, these times are times of struggle. But don’t forget, they are only times of transition…difficult transition, that is. But let’s look up “transition” in a thesaurus. Do you see anything negative? Let me know if you do, because I only see words such as “jump,” “leap,” “progress,” “transform” and “convert.” Oh, those are good words! These times of transition are times for us to progress and transform into the image of Christ….hmm, does that sound familiar?

I want to share with you three new ways of looking at a difficult time in life as a transition. Like I just mentioned, these are times that can conform us to the image of Christ like I also discussed in my last post about Romans 8:28.

For my examples, I’m using the phrase, “this is not awkward, this is an opportunity.” This is because a recent, painful event in my own life is now causing me to feel awkward in certain situations. But these moments aren’t really awkward; no, they are opportunities for me to show others that I am a follower of Christ above all else. Feel free to fill in the blank with however you’re feeling and it will still apply. (“This is not defeat, this is an opportunity.” “This is not the end of the road, this is an opportunity.” “This is not the worst thing that’s ever happened, this is an opportunity.”) If you’re facing something tough in your life right now, writing these phrases out on a notecard and preaching to yourself will really help!

This is not awkward, this is an opportunity for me to give God praise.

I recently heard a song on K-LOVE that nearly brought me to tears as I was driving around in my little red Saturn. It’s called “Bring the Rain” by MercyMe, and it goes like this:

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there’ll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that’s what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain

What bold words those are! But this is how we should train ourselves to think every time we face a trial in our lives. Think about it: if your life were exactly as perfect as you want it to be, do you think you’d never fall away from your faith? Do you think you’d never begin to depend on yourself, thinking you don’t need God because you are controlling your life and doing pretty well with it? Sometimes in our lives, difficult times are gentle whispers from the Lord to remind us to whom all of the glory belongs and on whom we can fully depend. I don’t know about you, but I want to the Lord to do whatever it takes to keep me in his will and keep me trusting and thanking him. Even if it means bringing the rain and rejoicing in the middle of the storm! (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances.”)

This is not awkward, this is an opportunity to display Christ.

I have to be honest, sometimes when I am facing a trial, I can be very self-focused. Sometimes, but not always, I shut others out and focus on myself and how bad my pain is. I begin to develop self-pity and think my problems are worse than anyone else’s. In doing so, I am labeling myself and defining myself by what has happened to me instead of using the storm as a chance to show myself as a follower of Christ.

Even though it can be hard to imagine when the pain is real and I’m feeling vulnerable, I want others to see how strong I am and how blessed I am by the Lord as a testimony to them. I want to give him the glory for what he’s doing in my life and not just tell others about the gospel of Jesus Christ, but also live in such a way that I don’t even have to say a word. I want to live in such a way that what I do, not just what I say, displays Christ!

I want to share with you what a friend of mine recently reminded me of. I told her that I was going to have to face some awkward moments in the near future that made me want to just run away from the situation and avoid it altogether, and she reminded me that God gives me the quiet place where I can cry out to him and tell him how I’m feeling. I can give him my hurt and know that I don’t need to fear (1 John 4:18). Then, I can get up and face the day, knowing that he’s with me. He never leaves me. I can do this. This is my story. And he’s the one writing it!

This is not awkward, this is an opportunity for me to trust.

I’m a big big fan of Kari Jobe. I love her voice, I love her music, I love her personality and most of all I love her shoes and her hair! Ok maybe not most of all…actually, most of all, I love this new song of hers called “Find You On My Knees.” Here’s an excerpt:

So what if sorrow shakes my faith,
What if heartache still remains,
I’ll trust you, my god I’ll trust you.
‘Cause You are faithful and

I will find you in the place I’m in, find you when I’m at my end,
Find you when there’s nothing left of me to offer you except for brokenness.
You lift me up, you’ll never leave me thirsty,
When I am weak, when I am lost and searching
I’ll find you on my knees, my knees.

(Side note: watching this video is a lot better than reading the lyrics on a page.)

I love this song because it teaches me to trust. It reminds me that I can trust God because he’ll never leave me. When I’m feeling weak and when I’m feeling lost, it doesn’t take long for me to “search” for God. I just gotta get on my knees. These moments that feel awkward now are the lessons God is using to teach me to trust him. He knows what he’s doing!

This post is getting long, so I will stop here for now. I pray that this reaches some aching hearts today and brings a message of hope!

Jen

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8 Comments

  • Jonathan Stone

    This is great, Jen. The modern Hebrew word for “crisis” comes from the biblical Hebrew word for “birthstool.” In other words, transitional moments feel like crisis, but they are an opportunity to birth new life. If we “miscarry” the moment the life cannot come forth. So, I think you are right on. Blessings.

    6 March, 2012 at 9:28 am Reply
    • Jennifer Hope

      That is beautiful! Thank you for sharing that and thank you for reading! 🙂

      6 March, 2012 at 9:30 am Reply
  • Holly Roberts Steadman

    Jennifer,
    You are learning your lessons well.
    And your writing reveals the transition points.
    Yep.
    I’m proud of you. You can do this. And, as you do the transition points according to Him, you are blessed.
    Good job!
    Again. Yep.

    6 March, 2012 at 1:27 pm Reply
  • Jonathan Stone

    I linked this post in today’s post on my blog here: http://wp.me/peLOs-uL Thanks for the inspiration!

    7 March, 2012 at 10:46 am Reply
  • ginaree

    Beautiful! Big fan of Kari Jobe as well…she sings at my church.

    7 March, 2012 at 11:35 am Reply
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    9 March, 2012 at 8:02 am Reply
  • I Art Laughing

    Seems like God is speaking similar things to both of us.

    Blessings

    11 March, 2012 at 6:28 pm Reply
  • Transition

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