How to go from transitioning to traveling
From transitioning to traveling
Most times in life we don’t go from trouble, trial or even tragedy straight to triumph we actually end up in the middle at a place called transition. Transitions can be sudden, dramatic, exciting, meaningful, scary, and uncertain and leaving you feeling like a complete failure. In talking with a friend she shared her story with me and gave me permission to share her experiences with you. My friend Kiley shares with us some things that helped her through a very traumatic and transitional time.
Uncertain, that is exactly how my friend Kiley felt after her marriage of 19 years crumbled before her eyes and everyone else. After 19 years of marriage, five children raised in a blended family, a new grandchild, jobs, bills, dreams, mutual friends, summer vacations, graduations, six years of ministry as a pastor’s wife and minister here she was loading her life onto a U-Haul. Usually the warmth from the sun would make her feel easiness and sway no matter what was going on but today day it just agitated her right between the eyes leaving a scowl and few drops of sweat dripping down the side of her face. She was leaving what felt like the biggest piece of herself behind at the house she called home, even more than that, she felt the life and family she dreamed of was being left behind. Kiley felt like this trauma was alluding to some big breakdown and she was the slow, spreading crack in the dam of this tumultuous difficulty. Unfortunately in this moment she didn’t have to time to sort the overwhelming details of a failed marriage and hurting family because the madness of the moment only allowed for a quick make-shift get away to someplace safe.
In speaking with her she said, “The day I finally left home, I was heartbroken, shattered and running into what I did not know part of me felt free and other part just numb. I was leaving what felt like a web of lies and a narcissistic nest of cold hard deceit plaguing me day in yes, but mostly at night. What was once my haven had now become the place that haunted me with blatant lies, betrayal, psychological warfare and disrespect and a lack of communication that was no longer bearable.” “I’m the kind of girl that thrives when good communication is alive in a relationship so to be shut was like cutting off my emotional circulation.”
Kiley had bounced back from one of her husband’s affairs before but it was never the same between them. She said each time she would talk to her husband he had become so cold and calloused toward her that talking to him felt like opening a walk-in freezer and just standing in his presence it got colder and colder. She even thought about leaving before and never did but this time it was the letter that brought her to the verge of collapse, the letter that pushed her over a mental and emotional edge that she simply didn’t know if she could recover from.
One day she’d walked to the mailbox to get mail like usual and saw a letter from a place called the Tears Foundation; it was addressed to her husband. She thought this looks really strange, probably the wrong address or something. She opened it and to her surprise the foundation was apologizing to her husband for the recent loss of his infant child. Reading the letter took her breath away and made her insides quake. As she slowly walked toward the back door in warm sun, her hands were shaking as she approached her husband and whispered, “What is this?” “It says, “You had a baby and named the baby and laid the baby to rest!” He acted astonished and said “These are lies all lies” he snatched the letter and berated Kiley like a child “Oh you’ll probably take a picture of this to try to embarrass me.” He quickly turned the situation around as he normally did when it involved a questionable situation. Then he started ripping the letter up as if it would take away the disdain of the moment. Embarrassing anyone was the furthest thing from her mind she was actually wondering how to get her breath back because it felt like a professional wrestler just punched her in the chest. After this Kiley was walking around life like one of those zombies on T.V. only coming to life to do regular stuff like drive, cook or go to work.
So the day she left home was simply her breaking point and she left with some money and a lump in her throat. She said the one good thing about leaving that day was that she felt like the heavy, invisible devilish burden that plagued her and her home was lifted off of her shoulders and released vanished into thin air. The tears didn’t come until that night in the cool living room as she lay on her Aunt’s yellow couch thinking about her family, thinking about her daughter’s that lay in the next room on their cousins floor and then warm, salty tears streamed down her cheeks, past her lips and onto the floor. Still numb and she couldn’t find the words to express what she was feeling. Kiley told me she thought, “How can I comfort my children, how can I exhibit faith and how can I provide the best life for them, she wanted all the answers in that moment but none came. She even tried to pray but the words wouldn’t come out only a physical pain in her chest and shaking hands for many days to come. She said she had one resounding thought, “Where do I go from here?”
Kiley had officially entered transition. Transition is a change from one state or condition to another. Kiley had been thrust into a change that she didn’t choose so how would she navigate this maddening move in her life? To be honest she didn’t know; she remained in a state of shock for quite some time but she had some amazing folks praying for her. Day by day she gained strength to pray, work and get a plan to move forward. After speaking with her almost a year later here are some things she said that helped her take the helm of her life back.
1. Give yourself time- Be real with where you are and do not try to put on a façade for people or the church because God’s grace is bigger and more sufficient than any opinion or religious activity. There is a time for everything and you need time to process the shock of trauma. Trauma is a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. You will need time to process the avalanche of emotions that come with trauma after trauma. Have faith-It takes faith to come back to life when tragedy strikes. It takes faith to forgive yourself for feeling like you’ve failed. Have faith in God and have faith in yourself because you will need faith to rebuild once God gives you a new blueprint for your life.
2. Cry- Cry your eyes out and release your emotions in the healthiest way possible. Get help if you can both spiritual and professional help to assist in your healing. Most importantly, Psalms 37 says, “God’s ears are attentive to your cry” and tears will help wash your soul. Your tears though sad are cleansing your soul and helping you to make room for a healthy emotional state. Your tears aid in your healing, I cried before work, after work, during the day, at night and any other time I needed to cry. Take note of your pain because it will ultimately leave markers as a guide to your true purpose.
3. Pray- The bible teaches “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying pray. Let petitions and praises shape
your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. (Philippians 4:6)” Pray and sing throughout the day this will help you stay filled up and strengthened. Pray with friends. Have a tranquil place you can read the bible and cast your care upon the Lord Jesus, He will help you will help free you from shock of the transition.
4. Live-Although you might feel like dying and giving up you must first decide to live again. When you decide to live it gives you a little more strength each day. Confess over yourself and your children if you have them, “We will live and not die to declare the works of the Lord (Psalm 118)”. Try to do things that stir your creativity, take walks, go to the movies, meditate and try to laugh or at least smile and always be grateful.
5. Get to know yourself again- Be flexible, some things you know about yourself will remain the same they will simply be magnified for definition sake while other things God will reveal about you, you’ve never known and only the current agitation had the ability to birth the newness. Take time to peel back the layers of who you truly are and take the opportunity to grow, mature and live into your value. Don’t be a know it all; even if you find yourself in familiar situations step back and ask yourself what you can learn from the situation.
God gives grace to the humble but resists the proud and you will need God’s grace to make it successfully through your transition. Learn to love yourself again, value yourself again and get a new vision for your life. Once you are up to it begin to plan your way out by asking God, “Where do I go from here?”, He is faithful to show you step by step as to not overwhelm you. He knows what you can handle.
6. Learn the value of saying “no”- Learn to set healthy boundaries that keep you from being
manipulated or used. Transitions are hard enough as it is you don’t need people around you that are insensitive to your plight and your process of healing. People although they can mean well will have the propensity to give advice or even tell you what you need to be doing, resist the urge to people please and do what is healthy and what is best for you and your family. Do not continue to sow into behaviors that are not producing life in your life, learn to let things go. Take your rest, learning to rest is productive and will help you stay refreshed since trauma or times of long suffering can be emotionally draining.
7. Forgive-Ask God to help you forgive those who have hurt you and to help you forgive yourself. Ask God to help you pray for your enemies. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself so you can move forward with your life. Forgiveness is not you agreeing with your offender(s) it is you releasing the offense and leaving the judgement of the matter to God, once you do this you are free to process your pain. Being free to process pain and your own character flaws will help you come to a place of healing and wholeness that opens the door to new freedom and the richness of your existence.
8. Do your best to keep your focus-Major in all things major let the minor stuff go until you are a bit stronger. Projecting for the future is fine but don’t get so far in the future that you let anxiety take a hold of you. You can feel fear but you don’t have to give in to fear because God is with you. Stay in the moment and stay present as much as you possibly can. If you have to rebuild your finances begin quickly as you possibly can so as you move forward you can experience some financial certainty and integrity. Giving is good idea and a God-idea that will keep your mind and heart open to the blessings and strategies of God pertaining to your finances. If others offer you financial help or gifts humbly receive them you are in no position to be prideful.
9. If your children are involved communicate with them about the transition and assure them they are loved. Be honest with them and teach them the practical lessons you are learning on a level they too can understand. Make them feel as secure as you possibly can and pray for them and with them. Comfort them, love on them and give them lots of hugs.
I’ve learned myself that transitions are hard and sometimes painful but being in the middle in the end turns out to be more of an opportunity than it is a misfortune. Although upsetting at times transition with the correct perspective is a catalyst for anyone to evolve into their best self and build a new life with new experiences. Transition is a time of shedding like a well experienced barber cuts and trims, transitions helps to groom you for your time of greatness, your destiny. Change can turn into a time of tremendous breakthrough that catapults you from pain to process to promise you simply have to decide that I want breakthrough more than I want to be left with this mess in the middle. Like a flower that unfolds with the right conditions and climate, your transition is a time to reveal what you haven’t already dealt with but need to and once you do you become you are candidate to move into a new dimension of life. Transitions can and will knock you down. Learn to dismiss negativity while growing through transition with a firm decision to keep the faith this will lead you to where you have been dreaming of all along. I believe it is inevitable, your pre-ordained position awaits you and with hard work you will get there. So don’t just dream, use these tools and do the work to birth the dream you've wanted all along.
Speaker and Coach