Last week as I sat in the waiting room before an appointment, an older woman struck up a conversation with me. She asked me a few simple questions, and I gave her a few simple answers. I don’t remember exactly what the questions were, but they centered on a change going on in my life that she had known in her own. She listened to my basic answers with a genuine interest and kindness I found remarkable for someone who’d never met me before. I smiled back at her and then quickly turned to look out the window as tears came up and over my tired eyes.
I surprised myself at how a stranger’s kindness made me cry instantaneously. Thinking about it more, I believe it’s because her gentle words and demeanor fed something in me I didn’t know was hungry.
I’ve been in such a tender spot lately, one where I cry easily and keep looking down at my hands in my lap. It seems that if you barely touch me, something in me shifts. I keep asking God afresh to be my strength and my song, but this has been a season where the music is a tad harder to hear. Not because God isn’t faithfully wrapping me in his care as much as ever. Of course he is. There have just been several distracting difficulties clanging like cymbals in my ears, and I haven’t been good at tuning them out.
And you know what? I don’t think I want to tune them out, at least not all the way. But I do want to turn down their volume.
Like so many, I find myself in a season of transition right now, and I’ve been neglecting to give myself breathing room to acknowledge the difficult parts of that change to trusted folks. One might think that giving the hard parts of change room to breathe pushes Hope away. But instead, it becomes the window Hope enters in. That woman who asked and listened to what I said about my own difficult change? She cracked the window open and the relief of the thin sliver of fresh air overwhelmed me.
Today, I give myself permission to sit with my own steely change and the vulnerability that comes with it. I give myself permission to cry. I give myself permission to not get over it but just get through it. We all need that sometimes, I think. We need to acknowledge that the hard stuff gets to have a seat at the table, too, and the best way to give it a seat is to name it and talk about it first with Jesus and then with those safe people in our lives.
Some of you may be feeling the way I am about a change in your life and hunger for your own safe place to process it. If that’s you, then I pray you find a space available to ponder it all with Jesus and God’s Word today. I pray you have safe people in your life who give you the gift of ready ears and kind words. And I’m also inviting you to consider my upcoming book, Girl Meets Change, as another safe place to mull over and process your own change and transition.
Right now, you can find Girl Meets Change: Truths to Carry You through Life’s Transitions for $10 and some pocket change on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Buy it now and give it as a gift to your future self in September! (It releases September 15th). If difficult change is on your life’s landscape right now, it is my fervent hope and prayer this book is a place where God meets your sense of anxiety with his sense of purpose.
We all need safe people who hear our struggles without assuming we’re blind to or ungrateful for the abundant good in our lives. We all need people who point us to Jesus’ for us love and faithfulness, who turn down the noise of distracting difficulties so we can hear His music in our soul. Whether in written or spoken words, may you find both of these in the midst of the change in your days and life.
Much love to you, friends. xo
My goodness…that is some good stuff to read with so many quoteables in it. But this one struck me in particular, “I surprised myself at how a stranger’s kindness made me cry instantaneously. Thinking about it more, I believe it’s because her gentle words and demeanor fed something in me I didn’t know was hungry.” A couple of months ago I tried a new handyman. I had been through several where their work ethic, in all kinds of ways, was lacking, thus there were a lot of things around my house going undone just because I didn’t know who to call on anymore. Then I got Dale’s flyer and called him out of desperation and hoping he would be a good fit. During our FIRST consultation we were going around my house talking about a number of things that needed to be done. Dale listened, was humorous, knowledgeable, gentle and timely…it was a breath of fresh air. He hadn’t even started any work on my house and I knew I liked him and he would be good. In the middle of the consultation, I started to cry and I don’t mean just a bit teary eyed cry, I mean a full out sob. It was totally unexpected…I was in mid-sentence and it came over me and I couldn’t get it to stop for a bit. So embarrassing and surprising. Being a single woman, house fixes can just really start getting to you. So, that release of tears was more than just happy that I had found a good handyman finally, it was as you said, ” her gentle words and demeanor fed something in me I didn’t know was hungry.” And the pleasure of working with Dale and his wife on my house continues to be a blessing, especially since Jesus is a big part of our lives. Thank you for your words, Kristen, they all resonate with my soul.
Hello friend. You have been on my mind as I see your book being promoted by other friends. I smile every time because I adore you just as much as they do and I too am super excited about your book. When you reached out for a launch team I really did want to respond. Reading is slow for me so maybe that is mostly what kept me from responding. But I do have every intention of reading that lovely book of yours. Thanks for these words today, and for this: “We need to acknowledge that the hard stuff gets to have a seat at the table, too, and the best way to give it a seat is to name it and talk about it first with Jesus and then with those safe people in our lives.”
I say often that it has been a season full of good and hard stuff. God’s doing amazing things through both though.
I know that the way you share your heart will have an impact on many.
Much love to you, friend.
Thank you, Kristin, for having the courage to post these words.
Many times in the last few years, I too, have been deeply touched, tears spilling over, by the kindness of strangers. Sending much love to you,
Susan G. says
When I saw the subject line in my email “If You Find Yourself Crying…” I almost fell out of my chair! This was me – today and yesterday! I haven’t experienced this feeling for a very, very long time, so it’s thrown me for a bit of a loop… And since I am out of the ‘hormonal’ age (I’m a grandma, old enough to be your mom 😉 ), it has surprised me. And then I saw your email…and I knew God was going to speak to me once again through the awesome online friends and devotionals.
I think it is just this very thing ‘change’ that is causing me to be a bit ‘weepy’. News lately of my 86 year old mom’s health, and my brother battling with cancer would probably be enough to cause this reaction…but I am also pondering the changes of re-locating, and changes in my daughter and 2 wonderful grandchildren’s lives (who live with my husband and me)…and just what God has in mind for their new home as well. Sometimes even when we have known God for a very long time, trust Him to the fullest, and put our ‘conserns’ at the foot of His cross, we still try to figure somethings out for ourselves. 🙂 At least that is probably what I am doing. 🙂 Then I forget to completely leave it all in His hands. Praying as things pop into my head, I will pray with asssurance that He is already there at the end of it, and my ‘job’ is to pray, and let Him be in control of it all.
Thanks for this Kristen!
You always bless me with your words.
I love thinking that so many of you lovely bloggers, authors and devo writers I amy never meet here on earth, but I will definitely come a calling to your front porch when we get to Heaven! 🙂
I agree with Beth’s comment in saying that your line “hard stuff gets a seat at the table too” is so good. I was just talking yesterday with a friend about the fact that grief is such an unspoken topic, both in our culture and in the church. Hard stuff is uncomfortable both for the one going through it and for those who are supposed to be the community walking through it with us. I think we think of grief normally in terms of the loss of a loved one, but grief shows up in the midst of changes. Good ones and hard ones. As I’ve walked through various types of grieving, I’m realizing more and more that the same stages of grief experienced through death are experienced in change as well. It’s helped me to process changes better. And to come to the Lord in the midst of those changes with the overwhelming emotions that I feel. I’ve found a very small community of safe people over the years. What has been most helpful are people who will agree with me that it is hard, suffer with me, and then point me to the Truth and to Jesus. I’m so looking forward to reading your book, Kristen. Your words are life giving. Thank you!
Beth Williams says
I know all to well about change. Last year we moved my aging dad into assisted living. He had multiple medical issues, including psych. That took a toll on my work. This year he has gone down hill fast since April till now. I ended up quitting my job to have time and patience to care for him. We have had 5 dementia issues this month and last Friday (17th) we called in hospice to assist with his care. He is slowly dying right before my eyes. I had hoped he had some more time. He looks weary and ready to go meet mom. Hard to watch him slowly go down hill and be the one who has to deal with everything!
Also some other issues in family just to much going on. Friends having health issues. Just want to cry always!
Laura Thomas says
CHANGE… yep, something positively scary about that word! But change is essential and good and it’s going to happen whether we embrace it or recoil from it—and thankfully, we don’t have to go through any change on our own. God is sovereign and loving and incredibly patient, and so we trust. And sometimes we freak out or break down just a little bit 🙂 Thanks for this post- I’m ordering your book as it looks like something I will LOVE and definitely benifit from! Blessings to you!
My eyes welled up with tears, just reading this. As a mama of 6 kids, some grown up and some still at home, change is my constant companion, not all of it stuff that I would choose to change. I’m dealing with big changes this summer and God walks with me through it all, but still I am on the brink of tearing up at any time. Thank you for putting this into words.
Ana Brooks says
Kristen, you voiced what my heart has been yearning for. I am looking forward to reading your book.