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I cried all the way to work. The harder I tried to suppress the tears, the more stubbornly they forged salty rivers down my cheeks. I missed my kids.

Also, I missed the comfort zone of my old life. I was one week into my return to the work force after eight years at home birthing, nursing, cuddling, and raising babies. The transition was going well, but the stress of the change was catching up to me, and I couldn’t outrun it anymore.

If it wasn’t for my not-so-waterproof mascara, I would have let the tears flow. I’ve learned not to suppress and repress the emotions that come with major life changes. Forging onward seems brave, but sometimes giving in to the tenderest part of you is braver still. Acknowledging the hurt helps you move on.

In seasons of major change, we must let ourselves evolve and that includes tears. Here are five reminders for others like me in a significant life transition:

  1. Realize that stress can be a pencil sharpener for our focus if we play our cards right. Big changes cause stress, but they also force us to figure out what really matters. While I have less quantity of time with my kiddos, I have learned to focus on the quality of our time together. I’m more intentional about my priorities now that my time is in demand.
  2. Believe that the future is in God’s hands and each day belongs to you. You can affect the outcome. Big seasons of change make us feel out of control, but we aren’t. We have choices each day to rise, give thanks to God, and do the best we can in our present circumstances. Believing we can shape our own lives helps us keep our hope alive and healthy.
  3. Know you can do this. The Bible reminds us that we have been given everything we need for life and godliness. We lack nothing we need to fulfill exactly God’s plan for our lives; we have only to trust Him and move forward.
  4. Understand the cocoon phase. Transformation is happening and sometimes that looks like a big ugly brown cocoon from the outside. Maybe no one understands all that is happening in your heart, but redemption takes time. Give yourself time to adjust. Give others time to adjust too. Have the grace to allow yourself to curl up in that cocoon and nap. You don’t yet know what life looks like on the other side, but all you need to do right now is rest and let time do the work.
  5. Keep showing up as you are with your heart and hands open. At the end of the day, I did the best I could, and I rest on that pillow of peace. I know who is in the miracle business and it’s not me. I give Him my lunch each day, but He feeds the multitudes if He chooses.

My tears that day were short-lived, but they may come again. That’s OK. Tears, blood, sweat, and joy all remind us we’re alive right here and now on our own little patch of eternity to do what we can with what we’ve been given. My all for His glory.