And just like that, the rain has changed to snow.
I woke up several times last night to the sound of heavy rain hitting the metal of my apartment's heat and air unit, only to wake up this morning to see thick, fluffy flakes of snow swirling about. This sparked a thought in me that I've been developing for awhile.
It's interesting, how change can happen in so many different ways. Sometimes it's like the change from rain to snow. There's an obvious shift in the weather; you can visibly see the difference between the two.
But sometimes you don't always notice what is different. Change can happen so gradually and organically that you don't even notice it until someone else points it out.
I'm feeling the reality of both. Why is it that I am back in my old place, with my old people, doing the same old thing, and yet I've never felt more like a stranger? On the outside, everything seems exactly as it used to be before I left. So why do the day-to-day things feel so foreign?
One of the most frustrating phrases I've heard since reentry is this: "Not much has changed since you've been gone."
Okay. I totally get that this is meant to be a comforting word to me, to let me know that I haven't missed much and that, surely, I will readjust quickly. In reality though, it's become a phrase that is really unkind to my heart. When you're constantly in the same environment, though, you don't' recognize what is different.
So much has changed. Friend groups have shifted. People have different agendas now. My 10 year-old mentee is basically an adult. In all honesty I can't list out every single thing that I am seeing, because I am daily discovering new changes.
But change is a signal of growth, something that should be celebrated. God is MOVING in Johnson City, and it took me leaving for a few months to realize it. The people I was leading last year have become leaders themselves. Friends are changing their majors in order to maximize their service to the kingdom. My mentee is asking the tough questions about God, questions I didn't start asking myself until I was twice her age.
Change is good, but it's hard when you don't know where you fit in to all of it. My environment has changed, even though externally it doesn't seem that way. My heart has definitely changed, for the better. But when the place and the person have changed separately from each other, it's difficult to navigate bringing the two together again. Most days I don't know where my head's at, trying to sort out what Jesus wants in this season. But earlier this week I was reminded yet again of how trustworthy God is:
"He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake." --Psalm 23:3b
How wonderful it is to serve a King who never changes His character, His plans or His heart. He is sure and steady and comforting. He is the Master of change, bringing it about without ever changing who He is. Whether it's external factors like the weather or internal ones like my heart, He orchestrates it all so beautifully.
Lord, would you lead me to celebrate the change, even when it's uncomfortable and messy?
Even now, as I am writing this, the sun is peeking out from the clouds, strong enough to begin melting the snow, as if it never happened. My oh my, how quickly things can change.