Think of the many transitions in life that you’ve experienced. Many of my own stories initially caused me tears – until I looked at them from a different angle.
One painful transition for me was also a transition for my parents as they were aging and getting closer to their home in heaven. My daddy, Fred Hornshuh, Jr., was a tall, handsome preacher whom everybody loved. Mama, Carol Hornshuh, was the sweetest, most joyful angel in the family. Toward the end of their lives they lived in the middle of nowhere in the backwoods of rural northwest Oregon in a log cabin Dad had built, heated solely by a wood stove. It was Daddy’s dream home. Mama made it hers with crystal and brass chandeliers hanging among elk horns, deer heads, and bear skins.
Acknowledging their age-related physical limitations, my mom, at almost 90 years of age, confided in me that she no longer had the strength to care for herself and Daddy. She asked me to do whatever it would take to move her closer to family in Eugene, Oregon.
Born the eldest of five and having the reputation of being Daddy’s favorite, I found the lot was mine to facilitate this move. Did I mention I also needed to take away his car keys?
I will spare you and myself a retelling of the drama of what that looked like. Let’s just say I lost my status with dad.
At that time my siblings and I did not know all the age-related changes that had occurred in his brain, his reasoning, and his emotions. My heart was broken, and it took a long time for my emotions to calm down.
I’m so thankful for my husband’s wise words to me: “You can’t discount all the wonderful things your dad has done or the great friend he was to so many or the loving dad he was to you just because after his tough situation he found his anger so painful to deal with. You cannot define his lifelong love for you by his age-related responses.”
We can experience all kinds of emotions in the midst of life’s transitions, but here’s a secret: we can get a better handle on those emotions when we change the way we THINK about an issue. I learned to look at tough times from another angle – sometimes from several different angles, and then choose the best perspective on which to concentrate.
Nothing stays the same. No one stays forever. It’s okay to visit those old places, the hurtful transitions once in a while. Just don’t set up camp there. Make sure you come away remembering the lessons you learned and how you’ve grown.
Jobs and assignments change. You may feel dismissed – no longer needed or wanted. Obsolete. Invisible.
Guess what! YOU are not obsolete; your old role is what’s obsolete. Assignments do end, but you can be used in new and different ways.
Today I have new and different opportunities. I no longer function in yesterday’s roles. I’m now a member of the International Coach Federation. I support others who want to reimagine and redesign how they will go about fulfilling God’s purpose for their lives.
I’ve learned a lot from life’s transitions by changing how I look at them, and I’ve grown. I do a lot more asking and listening instead of telling and suggesting. I do a lot of thinking and writing. And instead of pushing, I walk beside, encouraging forward motion. It’s been a huge, positive transition.
I struggled with health issues for nearly two years before I received a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. I’ve learned a lot since 2009. I’ve learned that
by the time I found out it was MS, the label didn’t matter;
I can live just fine without knowing all the answers;
I can live fine without being sure what tomorrow would bring;
someone who faints at the sight of a needle really CAN give oneself a weekly shot. (I may hate shots but I love what they may be doing for me – a different perspective.);
the value of ice packs, detox tea, staying hydrated, eating non-inflammatory foods, resting, managing the calendar, pacing activities, and core strength training;
I can manage stress by changing how I think, by refusing to be anxious about anything, but with prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, letting my requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6), and by thanking Him in advance for His answers in happy anticipation of His outcomes, not mine;
His peace really does guard my heart and my mind through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7);
to believe what the Bible says is true about fixing one’s thoughts on, or meditating, on whatever is true, noble, just, pure, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8).
Most of all, I’ve learned that the Bible is not just something I read for devotions. It’s a lifestyle and a mindset guide. We’re supposed to do what it says, not just believe what it says.
About the Author
Jan Kent, an Open Bible credentialed minister, received a B.A. in organizational leadership from George Fox University in Oregon and certification as a life coach. Her mission is be an encourager and communicator, fulfilling God’s plan, purpose, and will for her life. Jan and her husband, Jamon Kent, live with their two dogs in Eugene, Oregon.