Change is defined as an event that occurs when something passes from one state or phase to another. Change can be subtle or it can be dramatic. For example, my waistline change is subtle, it happened over time, that time being the holidays. Change when you lose a family member is dramatic and not subtle at all.
It’s interesting, I saw a message by Pastor Pete Wilson on change and he talked about how constant change is always happening in our bodies. Your stomach cells turnover (change) every 2-9 days. Your tongue’s taste buds every 10 days. Your red blood cells every 4 months. We are in a constant flux of change without ever really knowing it. It just happens within our body without notice, but in life we definitely notice.
Change can come in two forms he shared, initiated change, or inflicted change. This is easy to understand, we either initiate the change ourselves or it is thrust upon us from outside means. So simply said, changing your hair color or buying a new car is initiated, death or losing your job is inflicted.
Change was recently inflicted on my family when my dad passed away. He had pancreatic cancer that spread to his liver and we had a very tough walk for sixteen months until he succumbed to cancer. Though we knew his cancer was terminal, his death was still a shock causing a major uninitiated life change. I now understand that all change is a loss and all loss will result in change. I also learned quickly that everyone responds to change very differently. Some embrace God’s grace and mercy like I do and yet others completely fall apart. There is no right way to react to change but this message I heard had four stages that helped me to understand change a bit more clearly. I would like to share those stages with you.
The first stage is shock and disorientation. This is the, “I didn’t see this coming” stage. No matter what the change is, we all feel this stage immediately, even with a simple hair color change. We knew my dad’s cancer was terminal but we didn’t realize that when the end was near, it was so much nearer than we could imagine. This left my family shocked and disoriented. We couldn’t think clearly because we were having difficulty believing he was gone. We didn’t realize the ripple effect that would take place after his death, my mom’s overwhelming sadness, unknown passwords to devices and accounts, the extreme day-to-day change in our lives, and the list goes on.
The next stage is anger and our emotional response. We expressed anger at doctors for not curing my dad. Anger for not having more time. Anger for the disfunction death brought to our family. Anger for lack of grief support in our community. Unfortunately, many people struggle with this stage and can get out of it because it’s hard to release anger to move forward in the change. This is definitely a time we need to seek God to move us through this anger. When something unbearable, deeply unkind, and manipulative happens to us, it is in our sinful nature to become extremely angry.
Romans 12:21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good
Ephesians 4:31-32 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
The next stage he explains is the stage of coming to terms with a different normal. I don’t like “new normal” because of the beatdown it took during the pandemic. Let’s face it, change is a different normal. This is the process of understanding things will be different. This is a growth process of realizing that your life has changed and the dynamic is not the same. I wouldn’t rush through this stage because I feel there needs to be much meditation and conversations with God on how to understand this change.
Isaiah 40:31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
The last stage is acceptance and moving forward. This is the stage where you surrender to God’s will. It’s a place where you say, “God this isn’t the outcome I wanted but I know I am now accepting Your will and plan over mine.”. I think this is the stage I am in. When my dad was diagnosed I knew it was not good news but I also knew God was with us. He would walk the walk with us with the outcome He had planned, not our plan. I have accepted my dad is gone and life is different but I also know God doesn’t want me to sit and spin my wheels in despair.
I felt God call me to offer comfort to others like He offers me in my loss. I have put together comfort boxes to share with others that have recently lost a loved one. They have a small book, cross, candle, comfort cloth, and a handwritten note from me expressing my sympathy. I am honoring my dad as well as God in serving in the different normal.
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I am always so grateful to have you read my blog. Please know I am praying for you. My love and gratitude-LoLo
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See Pete Wilson’s sermon that impacted me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7r7xgl6haw&t=3582s