Bothell Christian Counseling Blog

Life Changes: How to Cope Well in Times of Transition

Posted October 9th, 2018 in Featured, Individual Counseling, Relationship Issues, Women's Issue

Where do I begin to tackle this subject, that lately has become my daily life? Let me start by saying that there are two ways change happens in life. One is a positive change that can still be stressful but is typically something happening to better your situation. Two is a negative change that you either weren’t expecting or that you knew was coming and completely and utterly dreaded it.

There is also somewhere in between, meaning a change you knew was coming, which entails positive and negative connotations, but has a bittersweet effect once it occurs. I tend to write these articles based on my own heart and what is placed upon it at the time that I write them.

My daughter just started kindergarten one month ago, this week. Gasp!! It’s okay if you have been there, I know your heart goes out to me; I’ve been hearing that from mom’s who have been there, done that, a lot lately and it helps to know that I’m not alone in this new transition.

Even we counselors, like to feel that we are not alone in our emotions, thoughts, and the constant changes that life throws our way. We all need connection, to be seen, heard, and validated in what we are going through. It is often the only way we can work through something that is difficult for us to wade through alone. God did not make us to go through this life alone, he made us to connect, empathize, and be there for one another.

I was just talking to one of my clients today who is also a fellow mom like me, and she made a comment that I often talk and write about frequently. “Wouldn’t it be nice if all of us as moms were more transparent about how we’re feeling and actually doing?” Yes, it would be nice! I can pretend that my daughter is transitioning nicely to Kindergarten and that I am handling it amazingly well but that is not her or my truth.

Our truth is, she has been my constant companion for the last 6 years and her absence hurts deeply. I know she needs to be in school to learn, grow, be social, etc. Nothing about her going to kindergarten is going to harm her, or me for that matter. But emotionally, we both have suffered due to missing each other. We have talked and although it’s obviously on different levels and for different reasons, at the core, we truly miss each other’s presence.

I have built a deep foundation of love, trust, and a mother/daughter relationship that I truly cherish and so does my daughter. In case you were wondering, this was purposeful on my part. I made it a priority that when my daughter came along, she would be the most important thing in my life (along with my relationship to my husband, of course, but in a very different way).

And my daughter knows that she is loved and cherished by me because I tell her constantly that she is my greatest joy and that “I love her more than all of the stars in the sky.”

Since my daughter came along in the fall of 2012, she has completely changed my entire life. Instead of a career woman which I was then, I became a stay at home mom for the first four years of her life. My choice was to close my private practice in Redmond at the time and be at home full time with her.

I wouldn’t change a thing looking back on it; it was an amazing time with her that I have always cherished and my only regret was that she kept getting bigger and I couldn’t stop time. When she turned 4 yrs old and was in preschool, I went back to work counseling people part-time, which is how I have stayed, because the balance works for my life with her and my husband.

So what to do now that she is in school full days, 8:30am-3pm, when I’m not working or at the gym? It is time that I am not used to and although I have plenty of work to complete with client files, emails, phone calls, errands to run, a house/dog to care for and to maintain, and a workout routine to prioritize, I find my mind drifts to my daughter and I miss her terribly.

I cried after drop-off as I drove away from my daughter’s school every day for the first three weeks – like really cried – a soul-deep emotional cry that I haven’t experienced in quite some time. After talking with trusted family and friends about it, I concluded that it’s okay to be sad for a while and grieve that the relationship is now changing.

Most importantly, that process of letting her go – letting her go and entrusting her to teachers and people that are not me. Many others I talked with went through this same thing but often didn’t talk about it with others. Why? Again, we are not meant to do this life alone, so why don’t we reach out when we need it most, or in general?

Sadly, our society has taught us that we can do it ourselves, that we don’t need anyone’s help and that if we do ask for help then we are weak. At least this was the truth that I grew up believing. It has taken a long time for me to admit that I can’t do it all, be it all, and that I need help sometimes. I teach and counsel people in my private practice the same exact notion. It is okay to not be okay all of the time and to talk about it is more than okay.

I watched a handful of Brene Brown’s videos while doing some online CEU training over the summer. I love her work and especially her exercise on empathy, being authentically who you are, owning your truth, and becoming braver than you think you can be.

It is an amazing notion to start to believe that you are stronger than you give yourself credit for. We are so hard on ourselves, women, but especially us as moms. We are all doing the best we can with what we have, right? This was another notion by Brene that I related to and loved hearing about because it is the absolute truth.

When it comes down to it, change is just plain hard. Good or bad change is difficult for different reasons and some people do change well. I am not one of those people and neither is my daughter. We thrive on routine, comfort zones, knowing what is going on each day, and the notion that we are loved, supported, and safe.

I believe it is hard-wired into my brain and my daughter’s – possibly genetically – that we thrive in this way. I think this may be the case because I have seen her be this way since birth. I have been this way since I was a young child as far back as I can remember.

I think some people thrive on change and it energizes them which is great! However, it is okay to not be like others and know your limits, boundaries, etc. when it comes to things like change. The older I get – just turned 40 this past month – I am completely okay with and owning my limits, boundaries, and expectations of myself and of others.

It is healthy to learn and know this about yourself so that you can teach others around you what works for you and what doesn’t. This is a great definition of a boundary!

Also, please know that God brings change in our lives for our growth. He does not want to see us stuck or stay in one space for too long because he wants to use us to do his work! In the last few years of my 30’s, I learned this valuable lesson probably more than anything else.

He pushes me when he knows it’s my time; he uses me when it’s his time. All of this to glorify his amazing works and all of the beautiful things he has in store for my life and to help, heal and be a light for others around me.

Here are some amazing Bible verses that talk about and speak about the process of change/transition, that I researched and wanted to share with you:

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave nor forsake you.Deuteronomy 31:6

There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens.Ecclesiastes 3:1.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper and to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.Jeremiah 29:11

I the LORD do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.Malachi 3:6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.Philippians 4:6-8

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.2 Corinthians 4:16-18

I hope that whoever is reading this article and possibly going through a big change or transition, or feeling lost and alone, can relate to and find comfort in these Bible verses. Please know that we are here to help if you need counseling. Feel free to go to my profile on our website and contact me for more information.

You, my friend, are not meant to go through this change alone, so reach out for help if you feel the need to. God bless and thank you for reading my article. I hope you find some peace and solace in knowing that there are others in your same shoes and that you are not alone. God is with you always, and so are we, here at Seattle Christian Counseling.

Photos:
“Pink Rose”, Courtesy of Capri23auto, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Forest Road”, Courtesy of Lars Nissen Photoart, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Freedom”, Courtesy of Jill111, Pexels.com, CC0 License; “Peace”, Courtesy of Free-Photos, Pexels.com, CC0 License

Author Info

Jessica Berg, MA, LMHC

Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Contact Jessica directly:

(206) 673-3297 | jessicab@bellevuechristiancounseling.com

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