Transition. I don’t know anyone that just loves the idea of transition. As a matter of fact, most people I know (me included) get downright frustrated just thinking about the idea of the in between, here-and-there phases of life. This is pretty ironic, considering that life with Jesus is all about transition. He transitions us from a life of slavery to sonship; bondage to freedom; old to new; death to life; sickness to health; eternity in hell to eternity with Jesus. Life is one big “from here to there.”
If you look up the definition, transition means “the act of passing from one state or place to the next” or “an event that results in a transformation.” Transition means CHANGE! It signifies there is something to leave behind and something to look forward to. It’s the middle ground between where I have been and where I’m going. It’s the place where we can’t quite see the future as clearly as we’d like. It can be a time of frustration, uneasiness and waiting. It might even be a time of grieving what you leave behind.
One thing is for certain: transition DOES NOT allow you to stay in the same place. The goal of Jesus’ whole ministry is to transition people from one state to another. Knowing this truth has brought such peace and comfort to my life. As I’ve faced the last two years of transition in my own heart and mind, I have realized that I haven’t always dealt with transitions in the healthiest of ways. When we face these times in our life, it’s up to us to choose how we will move from one place or state to another. We can move through these times kicking and screaming; becoming bitter and losing hope. Or we can choose to grab hold of Jesus and know that these seasons of life are meant to challenge our faith and test our trust in God. We find out what we really believe about God, ourselves and our circumstances in times of transition. We also find out which of those beliefs need to get left behind in order to make room for the transformed thinking God has for us in this place.
I’m going to be real and raw with you… The Saltzgabers have been in an intense season of transition. All four of my grown children have been facing their very own “here but not there” life moments. Three of our four children have faced major moves between states, many have had career changes and some our grandchildren are growing from childhood into young adults. Each of these transitions present unique challenges to family dynamics. One of the greatest truths I have learned in this season, with this increased measure of transition, is that we must wage war with our old mindsets because they keep us from stepping into the new land that God has planned for us.
This past August, I experienced one of the most impacting transitions of my life. In my mind, August was supposed to be one of the most exciting and blessed times of our lives. We were expecting two new additions to the Saltzgaber clan! All was moving along as expected until we received a call from our daughter-in-law. She had gone into labor three weeks early. We didn’t assume anything except that we’d be meeting our little prince a little bit early. As time went on, something didn’t seem “right.” Our son sent us a picture of our sweet grandson and news that he was having difficulty with his heart and his breathing.
He also was diagnosed with Trisomy 21, commonly known as Down’s Syndrome. This wasn’t at all what we were expecting or hoping for. In a matter of minutes, we found ourselves in the middle of an unwanted and unplanned transition. Regardless of what we had envisioned, life was no longer as it was before. It wasn’t what we knew God’s promises were for us.
We had a choice to make. The enemy fought hard to get us stuck in this transition; to become hopeless, wounded, fearful and even angry. The enemy wanted to rob us of the joy that our little Jase had always been - first to the Father, then to our Saltzgaber family. The enemy wanted to speak his lies, filled with fear of the unknown and fear of the future. But GOD holds our future and it is filled with grace and love for whatever lies ahead! God has the best plan and always has a way through transitions if we look up to see and receive it in the midst of our circumstances.
God values transition and He gives us the time we need to adjust and to release the past. When we receive unexpected news or life turns out differently than you thought it would, know that God’s heart is to give you time to adjust. Scripture tells us that the disciples’ hearts were troubled when Jesus told them he would be leaving them. I love the heart of God, seeing that He gave them 40 more days together to adjust and release their expectations of the past! This time enabled them to begin to embrace God’s good and perfect plan, even when it didn’t line up with theirs. God’s ways are ALWAYS better. He thinks higher and greater. He sees exactly what we need even when we don’t see it and will comfort us while we adjust to the new work He is doing in our lives. His promise is that he will comfort us in all our troubles (2 Cor 1:3-4).
Transition is a time for us to process what is taking place. It’s a time for us to grieve while pointing to what is to come. In this “space,” God wants to reveal Himself as Comforter, Father, Friend and so much more!
I’ve learned that transitions are a beautiful invitation to a deeper intimacy with God. To spend time with Him - an opportunity to gaze straight into His face and know Him like never before. I no longer look at transitions in my life as an empty, endless wait when nothing is happening or going on in my life. These are times of preparation, a time for the incredible NEW thing God is doing. It’s a time to get God’s perspective on whatever it is you’re going through.
Let me leave you with this... God is with you and He is for you. He knows your future and has already mapped out and lined up what needs to take place in order for you to reach the perfect destination designed for you. Just as God commanded Joshua in Scripture to “be strong and very courageous, do not be dismayed not because of the condition of your circumstances,” but because the promise of God is that He is with you and will not leave you in your journey from “here to there.” Someday you will look back on this transition in your life and be very glad you stayed close to the Lord. We are! We are so thankful that God knows what will bless our lives the most. We have been chosen for the assignment to love and care for sweet Jase and to watch for and declare the promises of God over his life. Through this “space” of time, as we await for Jase’s complete healing we have witnessed up close and personal the miraculous hand of God as He takes us from “here to where-ever” and in the process we have and will all be transformed and changed for the better.