Remember It’s a Process
I have a thing for grocery stores. They’ve brought comfort through bright lights and playlists from the ‘80s and ‘90s in times of needed familiarity. Wegmans will forever be a favorite. I discovered this luxury when my husband’s military assignment landed us in Virginia. I welcomed D.C. traffic just for the opportunity to stroll their aisles.
I experienced grocery pickup for the first time at Harris Teeter. I only wished it had been available during my early years of motherhood. Instead, I found myself shopping at the commissary with three young kids, where military members in uniform were welcomed to cut in line. Never mind that my husband was deployed, my five-year-old had my three-year-old in a chokehold, and the baby was trying to climb out of the cart with a diaper that needed attention.
I got my first job bagging groceries in Safeway at the sweet age of sixteen. It was also where a cute blue-eyed boy would visit me and help me collect carts, and I learned my paychecks after taxes only left a few dollars for a couple of gallons of gas and a Taco Bell bean burrito.
I’ve moved about fifteen times in my almost four decades of life. This doesn’t include the stents of living with family between different duty stations, the various seasons hotels became home, or the one month our generous friends let us take over their basement/playroom. No small feat for a family with three young kids.
To say my life has been one continuous season of change is an understatement. I guess that’s why I appreciate regional supermarket chains – different layouts, and different aisles, but always a constant in a new place.
My husband and I were married just a few years out of high school; we traded collecting carts for a lifetime of memories. The first decade of marriage and motherhood felt like a blur. He joined the Air Force a year and a half after we said: “I do.” Deployments came, assignments and kids, and I just kept walking into each new season the best I knew how. Placing one foot in front of the other, I just kept moving:
- Into a vow with someone as broken as me, hopeful for the promise of redemption.
- Into military service, though I wasn’t the one wearing the uniform.
- Into motherhood with a child, who came two and a half months early, while my husband was across the country.
Whenever life felt out of control, I strived a little harder to be a better mom, wife, and Christian.
In my attempt to stay afloat, I hadn’t realized I had begun to sink. I found myself in a counselor’s office reflecting on thirty-five years of life that had become like the conveyor belt at all the grocery stores I was familiar with. Except I had become the cashier, frantically scanning and trying to remember the produce codes for fear of holding up the line. I felt out of sorts.
Have you ever felt this way? And what does living intentionally look like during these moments? Try sitting with your emotions during these growing pains, sifting with care, searching with truth. Our stories all hold an arc of undoing and becoming. The journey for each of us is untangling the thread of where this is needed.
We will experience doubt.
We will experience growth.
We will feel out of sorts.
We will feel secure.
We will have questions.
We will seek answers.
We will wrestle.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel shaken in places I thought I stood on solid ground. It’s easy to compare ourselves to other believers, thinking we are the only ones who struggle. Except we aren’t expected to have it all together. Instead, when struggles surface, I think God is asking us to lean in. He exposes our hiding places, helps us identify areas holding us back, making us aware of negative messages weighing us down and lies we’ve held onto for far too long.
Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” ( ESV).
Sometimes I think we forget transformation is supposed to be a process; we are continuously being molded. Whether in the good days, the mundane ones, the ones we feel out of sorts, or even the bad, the potter won’t be done until we are laid in the ground. What a beautiful reminder, and one I know I need often.
Sarah Nichols is a writer who loves encouraging women by sharing hope-filled stories that point others to Jesus. She lives in Tucson, AZ, with her husband and four kids. You can find more from Sarah at http://sarahnicholswrites.com.