Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Change: You're Welcome Here


I've always thought of myself as a girl who meets change with an unwelcome sign. Or if it happens to catch me on a good day, I might hand it a friendly little note that says: No thanks, I think I'm good here.

I lived in the same house in the same city until I left for college. Growing up, my dad always talked about moving our family to Arizona or Florida where he dreamed of enjoying warmer weather, but this looming change I dreaded most never occurred. 

Every winter when the moving talk escalated, my biggest fear wasn’t leaving my school or friends behind, it was wondering how in the world I could root for the Steelers, Pirates and Penguins if I didn’t live in Pittsburgh?



But while I was attending college in South Carolina, my parents finally moved. Not south as I’d expected them to, but to a small rural town in upstate New York to open a bed and breakfast inn. 

Leaving the suburbs of a big city behind, my parents now lived in a Victorian house in the middle of a sleepy rural hamlet with the closest shopping mall 45 minutes down the interstate. {A distinct disadvantage for this college-shopper-girl.}

My mother convinced me it was a charmingly quaint town that I might grow to like, so after college I joined them there. 



I spent a summer cleaning up after guests at the inn and walking to the town's deserted tennis courts to hit balls with my sister, the only person around who was remotely my age. 

When I got a job working in the advertising department of a newspaper in the next county, I hated it. 

But really what I hated were all the changes. Adjusting to adult life with a real job, trying to pinch pennies out of my tiny paycheck, and missing my old friends left me adrift. Months later I was overjoyed when my parents realized the business was not as successful as they'd hoped and they decided to head to Florida. 

All I could think as they packed up was, you don't think you’re leaving me here with all this snow while you hit the beach, do you?

I quit my job and moved too.



In Kristen Strong’s book, Girl Meets Change, she shares her story of growing up in Oklahoma with few changes invading her life as she was surrounded by family and friends. But a new chapter began when she got married and had to meet change head-on with her life uprooted every few years by her husband’s military career. 

Whether a change is wanted or forced on us, Kristen writes that we have to hold on to the promise of God’s presence since those very changes are often the stepping-stones to what God has next for us and where he wants to take us. 

And we can't get there unless we're willing to weather the change. Or at least take down the unwelcome sign.



Kristen weaves stories from scripture — particularly the twists and turns of Joseph’s life who beautifully trusted God through the difficult circumstances of slavery, prison and being named second in command to the king — along with stories of her own friends, who met their personal changes with courage and grace. 

Some of the most encouraging words Kristen conveys are that God uses the good and difficult changes we encounter in our lives to write our stories for the better, if we let ourselves see him in the change. 

And those changes could be our faith-filled possibilities.



Is there a change, welcome or not, that's come shaking up your life? Don't let the fear, uncertainty and risk overwhelm your heart. With shaking knees, consider moving toward it, one small step at a time. 

What if you catch a glimpse of what God has for you through that crack in the door that might soon open to the land of promise that's ahead?

Since that first move from Pittsburgh, I've packed up my stuff nearly ten times now and discovered that I rather like moving. I like the chance to purge as I pack and I enjoy seeing how I can make a new space feel like home.

When I’m in the same place for more than a few years, I start to feel restless and dream about a change of address. 

For a girl who didn't like change all that much, I now roll out the welcome mat with a friendly little note that says, It's nice to see you for a change.





A little note on the photos: #1 & 3: Hotel Florence, Italy; #2 St. Augustine: #6: Bellagio, Italy; #7 Duomo in Milan.

I'm part of Revell publisher's blogger review tour for Girl Meets Change by Kristen Strong. I received a complimentary copy of the book, but the opinions are completely my own.




I'm linking up with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart



19 comments:

  1. Oh wow Valerie... you just put in words what I think God has been trying to impress upon my heart this week! ♥ Last night when ruminating over the whole change of address proposition i felt him gently ask, "why are you afraid?? Don't you know I'm with you wherever you go?" I bristle at change initially as well... but I'm trying to pray though it and see it as God's way of making me into the person he designed me to be (Jesus Calling this a.m. was spot on...) ... because if I always keep to the same habits, circles and zip codes I may miss the opportunity for him to do something through me! Gosh I sure wish it was easier convincing myself of these things sometimes though!!

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    1. Heather,
      I just love it when God confirms something he's trying to impress on our hearts! And I just love those words he spoke to you -- it sounds just like him. :) Change is so hard but maybe that's why it is -- because we need him to go with us and whisper to us, "I've got this girl, I'm with you!"

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  2. Seeing God in the changes, the transitons, the pain-filled unexpected losses. That's where I am right about now.

    He speaks peace to my battered soul. But the wounds still ache ...

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    1. Linda,
      My heart grieves with you in your unexpected loss in your family. Praying with you and for you, friend . . .

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  3. I've been learning, all throughout this year that change is not as bad as I thought. And if I didn't change, my surroundings, I would have missed my blessing. I think so many people hold on to the things that God is trying to break them from you know? This was such a beautiful article Valerie. I always love stopping by your space.

    Kia / KTS
    www.houseofkts.com

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    1. Hi Kia,
      I love it that change is not as bad as you thought! It may be hard to let go of some things we've grown accustomed to or comfortable with but I think God always shows us something new if we keep our hearts open. Always happy to have you here, friend!

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  4. An "unwelcome sign", that's cute. :) Beautiful photos. :) I think my biggest qualms with change come with the ever-changing world of technology. ayiyiyi. Thanks for sharing for the book recommendation. ((blessings))

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    1. Hi Brenda,
      I'm with you on keeping up with the ever-changing world of social media -- the changes keep coming, don't they? Thank you for your sweet words of encouragement -- so grateful you stopped by!

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  5. Hello, friend! This really makes me wish we could spend more time together. I'd love to hear stories of operating a bed and breakfast and about all your moves. And I loved seeing your pictures! I think you should pray about the Holy Yoga training. If I can do it, you can too. Talk about changing your life, it will! Big hugs!!

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    1. Hi Susan,
      So happy to see you here today! I will for sure pray about holy yoga because I think it is so great! Maybe that's just the change I need?! :) xo

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  6. Valerie- I just got that book! I haven't started it yet, but it looked good to me as the kids going to college has brought a big change in my life- (and i don't like it !!!) Trusting God in all the unknown and uncomfortableness of it. Things I thought it would usher in it hasn't (still so busy- ) and things I never thought about are visiting me instead. Anyway I like things to be the same- so glad Jesus is my constant- and trusting him to teach me not to be afraid and to welcome change too! sending hugs tonight :)

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    1. Susie,
      I think you will enjoy the book! Kristen writes in a down-to-earth friend-to-friend style and she offers some examples from scripture that are so inspiring. I know that having your house less full these days must be difficult, but what a gift to focus on your little one still at home (just one or more?) since I'm sure she will relish your time and attention. I don't adapt well to change myself but sometimes if I give myself enough time, I eventually see something valuable -- I admit that it takes a long time sometimes though!

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  7. Oh my kindred-spirited friend -- I know I don't always comment (mostly because half the time I read these on my phone and can't figure out how to comment from there - LOL) but each post you write speaks to me in some way. This post was no exception - change can indeed be very scary - but I love the idea of a "land of promise." Hope to see you soon, my friend.

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    1. I know how difficult it is to comment from your phone (Blogger makes it practically impossible) so I cherish every comment made here! Thank you for your oh-so-sweet words to me and yes, we must get together soon! xo

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    2. This is Shawna - by the way - LOL - I think you figured that out, but just re-read this and noticed I didn't put my name!

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    3. Shawna,
      I did think it was you -- since it said see you soon - -had you added the word neighbor, then I would have known for sure! But I do hope you are enjoying the new space!

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  8. Hi Valerie. Your writing is always filled with spark. :) As always, I enjoyed both it and your lovely photos. I love the message you gave about the book - that "we have to hold on to the promise of God’s presence since those very changes are often the stepping-stones to what God has next for us and where he wants to take us."

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    1. Trudy,
      Your words are always so sweet - - you are the best encourager! Thanks for always cheering me on -- I love having you around here, friend! xo

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  9. Change can be scary and exciting all at once. I have moved many times but there are other changes that get me, like suddenly staying or getting a job again.

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