I am absolutely terrified of change.
Maybe because change is all I feel I’ve ever known. Or maybe because the vast majority of change I have experienced has been negative. Change scares the living daylights out of me.
Let me try and explain why a little bit.
When I was 10, my family decided to pack up everything and move to Australia. That was a huge change. It was good at first. But when I entered school there in the 5th grade, hard things began to happen. I was the cool American for a while, then I became this annoying pest that no one wanted to sit with. I can admit partial responsibility for that, but those two and a half years of middle school were not fun years. I was not treated well. My closest friends cut me out. And the ones I made after never really were “friends,” they were kinda just there.
When I was 15, I met a guy that I really liked. Actually, I didn’t meet him. I talked to him online and on the phone. I know, it sounds weird, but he was a friend of a friend. Childish though we were, we “fell in love” before we met. And after we met, he changed his mind. I see now that it was good, but it was still hard change.
When I was 16, my parents moved us back to South Dakota. The friends I thought I still had weren’t really around. They had kept in touch a bit while I was gone, but when I came back, it was clear that they had moved on. It took a while to fit back in.
And then I fell in love again. But this time it was different. It was what I thought “the real thing” was. He was everything he should have been. And I was head over heals. We started dating when I was 17, and dated for almost a year. Until he changed his mind. That change rocked my entire universe. I was completely, utterly devastated.
Then both of my grandparents on my dads side died. I remember the nights I found out. Crying in the dark, on the phone to a friend, with a sinking feeling of grief and despair in the pit of my stomach.
And then the news of cancer hit like an atomic bomb, shattering and annihilating everything in its wake. It shook my faith. It shook my convictions. It shook my ability to do the right or wrong thing.
And then death. The painful death of someone I loved more than I could ever say, more than she could have ever known.
Then, the difficult loss of a friend, a friend who removed herself in a painful and unkind way.
And then moving halfway across the country to a very new and different environment. An environment where no one knew me. I had no history. I could start over. But I was so afraid. Afraid of not being able to make friends, or being loved, or being capable of being loved. And I was surprised. Instead of being cut out, ostracized, unloved or treated wrongly, I was welcomed warmly. Loved without question. Embraced without reservation.
And that, was hard. Because it was so different than what I was used to.
But now I’m starting to get used to it, and to get used to treating others in the same way. And it’s amazing. But it’s beginning to hit me that the college life does not last forever. Someday soon, my best friend is no longer going to live walking distance from me. Someday soon, the strong Christian community that has been supporting me so well will not be around.
And that terrifies me.
It messes with me when people change their plans around from 3pm to 4pm.
Change is hard. And the future is looming.
But you know what I have learned in the midst of all of this difficult change? My God never changes. He was there when I moved to Australia. He was there when my heart got broken. He was there when I was neglected. He was there when my world fell apart. And he was there when I was deep in my own sin.
And he is still here, and will stick by my side through each and every change, no matter what. No matter how hard it is. He will not leave. He will not give up. And because of him, I can keep smiling even in the midst of change that completely petrifies me. Because he is enough. If he stays the same, that is enough.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
I know it might sound like I’m being a bit melodramatic, but these things are difficult for me, and I know I’m not the only one who struggles with change. And I know I’m not the only one who has been hurt. And I’m not the only one who has lost immensely. I know many people who understand these things. And Christ understands these things too. That is quite possibly the most amazing thing ever. That he knows EXACTLY how it feels, no matter what situation we end up in. And in his grace, he will always pull us out of the whole we fall into.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.””
And this, this is what I have to tell myself over and over again.
Tell it to yourself too. No matter what happens, he will never leave you or forsake you. And Christ will not, cannot, and does not ever change.