- Carissa Woodwyk
It's been five years since our first child entered our home, our world, our hearts. So much has changed – some expected, some surprising. There have been thrilling changes. There have been hard changes. Sometimes I find myself wondering who I am, who I've become. There are days that I feel as if I've completely lost who I was – the really good parts, the really desirable parts – since I've become a mom. I haven't always wanted to let go of the roles or groups or schedules or activities or people who I was connected to, before kids. But, I have. I've had to. For me. For her.
It's been easy to ruminate about what “was” and what “isn't.” It's felt natural to focus on the loss, what I didn't want to let go of. But I'm learning, there is just as much good in what “is”...unfolding, developing, maturing...around me, in me. I want to be here, in this moment and in this season.
Change...it certainly is life-changing.
I have some friends who just had a baby – change that impacts the way they view human life and the beauty and brokenness of the world.
I have a friend whose divorce just finalized – change that impacts her role and identity and security.
I have a friend who just found out his wife has cancer – change that impacts every thought of love and companionship and his future.
I have friends whose sister-in-law just passed away – change that impacts each family member and how they step into the world and experience hope and despair, suffering and redemption.
I have a friend who just moved to a different job, a new state – change that impacts friendships and family and finances.
I have a friend whose father is remarrying two years after her mom passed away – change that impacts family dynamics and rules and rituals.
I have a friend who just adopted a child from China – change that impacts the rhythm of the home, marriage, children.
Each person, each scenario initiates finding and defining a new self – who they are in the reality of their new world. It will most likely, at times, feel uncertain and scary and hard. They might even try to grasp at the past, fighting to keep what they've known, resisting the new invitation and role and responsibility and tension. But what I've found, is that resistance only leads to suffering. It's in the accepting that brings freedom and perspective and hope...that something fresh and good and purposeful can be birthed.
Maybe change isn't as much about losing yourself, who you were, as it is about redefining yourself, who you are – taking all that you had become and allowing it to blend in with who you are becoming...a wiser, more compassionate, more mature, more secure, more alive, more whole self.
God's in the business of recycling and re-purposing...because there's a bigger, better story he's writing – a story that needs all of who we are to show up – the parts that we've lost, the parts that we're finding.
Let's be the kind of people who give ourselves permission to release who we once were so that we are able to receive what's right in front of us.
Let's be the kind of people who remember where we've been and allow that to be a part of remaking who we are...now, in this moment.
Change...may it call out the best parts.
Carissa Woodwyk is a writer, speaker, counselor/marriage and family therapist, wife, mom, advocate for the human heart. In each of these roles, she offers her story and voice in ways that invite people to connect with themselves, with others, with God. She is a co-author of Before You Were Mine: Discovering Your Adopted Child’s Lifestory. She and her husband have two children and live near Grand Rapids, MI. Catch up with her on her blog and connect on facebook and twitter.