Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Sweet in Bittersweet

You can endure change by pondering His permanence.” --Max Lucado

A mom recently said to me, “No one tells us when it will be the last time she will want to wear her Disney princess dress.” While we run about trying to do all we can with the time we have, lives are changing and it seems as if it happens overnight. The bitter sweetness of the way things are meant to evolve still leaves us with a longing to go back and relive, to pay closer attention in case this is to be the last time.

For a number of years I carried remnants of my girls' childhoods in a trunk and a few plastic tubs. I still have a few bits and pieces but they have taken the treasures they want as reminders. Many of us don't truly want to go back and relive it all, but we certainly would like to pick and choose the best of our younger years, slow them down and memorize each detail.

When we look back over photos longings can push in on our emotions, longings to see someone again and to relive the joy with total awareness. Several weeks ago I looked through the alumni magazine of the university I attended. An article featured in the magazine included photos of my college pastor and his wife receiving an award. They have clearly grown older. It made me both sad and reminiscent of the ways they influenced and encouraged me. I can't say I wish nothing had ever changed because a lot of wonderful experiences were lived after leaving that college community, but I certainly carry sweet memories of these two people and many others who were significant to that particular season in life.

A longing to hang on, to never let go creeps over me when I sense a change is ahead but so many changes can take us by surprise. Even though we know our kids are going to grow up like every other kid, it still surprises us. And the longing, the ache to hold tight grabs us and nearly squeezes the breath from our lungs. Our hearts ache with an indescribable pain. And yet I can say I enjoyed watching my girls grow up.

Here is the catch-22. We can miss today's moments by longing for what has passed. And we can miss the rich growth change stirs into the mix of who we are becoming by pressing our heels into the ground and resisting change and the possibility it may bring great good in our lives. God means for us to be our better selves and we were made to come out on top, not be destroyed by change.

Kristen Strong, writer of Chasing Blue Skies http://chasingblueskies.net/change-scares-even-little/ has written her first book and it comes out today. (It can be purchased on Amazon at Chasing Blues Skies.) In her usual down to earth style Kristen shares how the difficult changes in life have taught her to see change through the eyes of the Father. Heartfelt stories shared from her life and from the lives of others give roots to the truth of how even the most difficult changes can be the very thing God uses to transform us into His likeness and a truer likeness of ourselves. In Kristen's words, “I don't want to just survive change; I want to thrive through it. . . . to thrive means to grow well. And a big part of growing well is seeing change with the eyes of heaven and knowing that God will always, always use it for us.” She does not deny letting go means grieving, but in the end we must embrace the new thing God is doing in our lives in order to thrive. For me, that is the sweet center of the bittersweet in change.


  1. We can honor what was by how we live in the now... and with our eyes on what is yet to come. Reflections on my past are a mix of "never again" and "I wish I could live that moment again." Thankfully there are more of the latter. So today I desire to create memories of the second sort, building joy upon joy.