When an Ending is Just the Beginning

November 2, 2021

He makes winds his messengers, …flames of fire his servants. Psalm 104:4 (NIV)

 

The hand-written sign, “Pick Your Own,” hung on the tired wooden fence surrounding the field of gladioli dancing in the soft Scottish breeze. As we opened the creaky gate, my daughter, Jordan, walked on her tiptoes, trying to stand higher than the surrounding stalks of colorful blooms. We quickly exchanged a five Pound note for pairs of scissors in an honesty box. We spent the next half hour seeking the perfect flowers to place in a vase on the table in our rental cottage.

Our routine continued every Sunday afternoon for the next two months. I grasped her hand as we made our way down the path leading to the gladioli garden. She swung an empty basket in her free hand, anticipating what colors she might choose for the week. We both loved the earthy smell of the garden, the striking beauty of the blooms, and moments of tranquility.

Our final Saturday night, the pitter-patter of Jordan’s bare feet on the hallway floor kept perfect cadence with the raindrops pelting our bedroom window. The symphony of misery came to a crescendo as Jordan blew through the door, accompanied by an assault of wind on our tiny house.

She climbed into our bed, resting her head on my shoulder, “The garden—this wind—the flowers are just too tall.  Why is it so windy?”

A week of rain had kept us away from our lovely spot, so I gave her my most hopeful answer, “The weather here doesn’t change without the wind. God sends it to chase away the rain.”

The following day, we woke to the warmth of sunshine. As we rounded the final corner on our path, the garden came into full view confirming Jordan’s fears. Several stalks of flowers lay scattered over the soil, and most of the plants had been unable to withstand the harsh gales from the night before.

Jordan opened the gate. In the back corner crouched the gardener. We watched as she filled a metal bucket with the bulbs exposed by the eroding wind and rain the night before.  Suddenly, my sweet child placed her five Pound note in the honesty box, grabbed her own bucket, and whispered, God’s letting us take our garden home.

When God creates change, it is rarely a comfortable transition.

Still, His actions are always motivated by His love for us.  He cares so profoundly that He sends the winds of change to help us unearth our priorities and start again. Jesus promises the process will not prevail against a house (a life) built on a solid foundation of faith. (Matthew 7:27)

Do you feel it, too, though? The resistance? The initial feeling of loss? The need to keep your life together when your world is falling apart?

I have a confession.  During the last two years, I decided I hated the phrase, “the new normal”.  My lack of control obscures my view of the future, which creates anxiety.  I’m overwhelmed.

 

Our reassurance for these times can be found in pages of Scripture, as we are reminded God controls the wind and our situations.

  • Psalm 33:6
    • By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, the starry host by the breath of His mouth.
  • Genesis 8:1
    • But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and He sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.
  • Exodus 14: 21-22
    • Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land.
  • Matthew 7:25
    • And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house, and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.
  • Matthew 8:26
    • He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm.

Just as we can’t see or control the wind, we can’t see or manipulate the will of God. The great thing is that we can shift from a position of resistance to the acceptance of Our Heavenly Father’s authority because of our faith.  It is here you can begin to ask God what He wants to reveal to you.  You are starting through the first phase of change—the ending. As you move through this phase, it is normal to feel the loss and grieve what you know.

 

What are some practical steps that will help you navigate the initial part of a change?

  1. Acknowledge your loss.
  2. Elevate your sense of control by asking God to be your partner. Work with Him instead of against Him in your situation.
  3. Identify the times you have been resilient. Did you parallel the story of a Bible character?  How can you learn more about that person?
  4. Rest in the moment. Goodbyes are emotionally draining because they make us evaluate what we are leaving behind.  Prayers of thankfulness help me through this phase.
  5. Look ahead. God promises when we stand firm, Jesus will make all things new.
  6. Use your experience to help others.

Do you see God’s honesty bucket in your life?  Are there some things you need for Him to take away, so the wind will stop, and you can move on?

I’ll leave you with this one final encouragement. “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”  J.K Rowling

A Prayer

 

Dear Heavenly Father,

You are a star-breathing God, the Creator of everything new.  Help us understand that even the winds of change you send our way are not intended to destroy the life we know but to bring us closer to you.  It’s hard.  We’re afraid, and we embrace what we know because you have given us many beautiful blessings.  Help us take those blessings with us and leave behind anything that would separate us from Your love and care. Amen

 

Continuing the Conversation

 

Our culture is undergoing an earthquake of events.  It may seem as if the entire world is trying to reset its axis.  As a result, patience and kindness seem to be elusive. When we add on stress such as a move, financial instability, illness, or the loss of someone we love, it might feel as if we are at a breaking point. Is there someone in your life that is struggling with the instability of this world? Perhaps sharing this blog post with them would be a source of comfort.  If that seems like that might not be appropriate just yet, I know that when people pray for me, it truly makes a difference in my situation.  Heartfelt prayer is a beautiful place to start.

Father God,  You already know the outcome of the challenges our world is facing today.  I praise you for Your involvement and desire to make all things right for those who love you.  Please forgive us when we waver—when doubt feels more secure than our faith.  I ask you to put your loving arms of protection around ____________________ as we navigate these tumultuous times.  The sea calms at Your command.  Please remind my loved one You are our hope and our future.  In Jesus Name, I pray.  Amen

A Look Ahead

 

This is the first blog in a three-part series about change.  Next month, we will examine how to let go of the “I’ll be happy when” mindset and thrive in the moment.

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16 Comments

  1. Dani,
    You put together so much in this post, love it. Thanks for sharing, you are a blessing. Eileen

    Reply
    • Thank you, Eileen. You are a blessing and an inspiration. It just feels like we need to stay calm and help everyone around us remember that it may seem like decisions are being made for us by people we don’t even know, but really God is in control. See you Sunday!!

      Reply
    • Words of wisdom thank you so much for sharing and for your heart. It is good to see how God uses the people in our lives to bring reassurance and reminders to lean into Him as things in our world are out of control. Blessings to you and yours❤️

      Reply
      • Rose, You are right, God uses so many people to give us strength and hope. Blessings to you as well! Hugs and Prayers

        Reply
  2. Dani, You and Jordan were on my mind and in my heart this morning. I said a prayer for you both and hoped I’d get to read something from you soon. I was so happy to receive this mail this evening. Beautifully written, comforting, and reaffirming. Thank you. Love to you all.
    In His Grip,
    Sabra

    Reply
    • Sabra, There is no greater gift than a friend’s prayer…especially the ones that are sent to heaven without our knowledge! Thank you so much. Your words, In His Grip, are so powerful. Love to all of you. Dani

      Reply
  3. Wow! This is beautifully written as was the email that led us here. It’s just so lovely and wonderful.

    I love the new website and I’m honored and proud to call you a friend!

    Reply
    • Shannan, Thank you for always being there. The Marco Polos, the answers to Now What, and your prayers. Love you!

      Reply
  4. You are a beautiful storyteller, friend. Thank you for sharing your heart. I was blessed.

    Reply
    • I am always encouraged by the emails I receive from you too, Lori Ann. It’s been a blessing to have you walk alongside me in this writing journey.

      Reply
  5. Thank you Danielle, beautifully written!🙏🤗

    Reply
  6. Thank you Karin. It’s such a joy to hear from you. I have so many wonderful memories of South Africa. I hope to see you and Berno soon, but until then Michael and I will keep you close in prayer.

    Reply
  7. Thank you Danielle. Our Lord has surely blessed you with a beautiful gift of sharing yourself with such heartfelt words and passion. I look forward to your stories every month! You are truly one of the most beautiful people I have ever met, both inside and out. Bob and I send our love and prayers to you and your family. May Our Heavenly Father bless us all. 🙏 Thanks again ❤️

    Reply
    • Connie, You and Bob have always inspired me with you love of travel, and for each other. I can’t wait to see you in May or June. May God Bless You and Keep You both until then. With much love and gratitude. Danielle

      Reply
  8. Thank you Dani! It is always an inspiration to read your blogs and does help me to think more clearly!

    Reply
    • Hi Deb, I am so thankful that you take the time to read them and comment on them every month. Knowing that you benefit from them is truly meaningful to me. Take care. Dani

      Reply

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