23 January 2015

The Challenge of Transitions

This past fall I wrote a devotional for Scholar's Compass about the challenge of transition. I used the challenges of beginning my position in campus ministry as a starting point. The following allows you to read more about how I experienced the challenge of the transition, as well as hopefully helping others who are struggling through their own transitions or other difficulties.

“And surely I am with you always.” – from Matthew 28:20
How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? - Psalm 13:1

"If I had known the cost involved with starting my new job, I might have reconsidered. It’s not that I hadn’t expected it to be hard. We were, after all, moving across an ocean, and thus moving away from my husband’s family and many mutual friends. Furthermore, my husband and I were switching roles. He was quitting his job of 9 years, and I, in my new role as campus pastor, would become the one with the full-time job. I would be taking my incomplete dissertation with me, hoping to have time to finish up amidst the transition, while my husband would have the chance to explore whether he’d like to do more academic work or find work in a slightly different area. It was an amazing opportunity, despite the challenges, so how could we not be excited about it?

We’d made plans for me to start fairly quickly, at the beginning of second semester, as that seemed best for the ministry and allowed me to go ahead to get things ready for us moving there. However, we were blindsided by the more than 6 months that it took the US government to give me, a Canadian, a work visa. Thus, instead of being able to start my job early, I traveled across the ocean multiple times, praying each time that the border guards might show grace in allowing me to enter into the country as a volunteer at the job I had been hired, but was not yet allowed, to do. The uncertainty, stress of waiting, long absences from my husband, and the inability to settle into a place and make solid plans for months at a time made the move much harder than I had expected. It was easier to be in denial about the stress and challenges than to ask whether it was worth it.

Where was God in the midst of all this? Where was He in the midst of the chaos of my volunteering in my new position, instead of being paid, amidst the hardship and distance created through being an ocean away from my husband for a month or more at a time, through living in two homes but neither?...

As I look back on this past year with the hardships of the transition, it can pale in comparison to the hardships that I know others have gone through. Failures and disappointments, as well of lack of funding and support, are all too common in the world of academia. If one adds accidents, deaths, family difficulties, spiritual or mental crises, it is hard not to become overwhelmed. The Bible passage that speaks to this seems less Jesus’ promise that He will be with us, and more the Psalmist cry of how long, O Lord?"

I encourage you to go to the website to read the full devotional, especially as I've been really impressed with what others have written with this devotional.

No comments: