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Thresholds: Six Ways to Gracefully Embrace Change

May 21, 2021

My elbows rested on the edge of the kitchen sink, my face wedged in my hands between them.  There weren’t just a few tears, I was sobbing. 

That morning I dropped my daughter off into her first grade classroom.  Because we had homeschooled up until that point, this was the first day without her by my side since the day she had entered the world. 

Hardly one bite disappeared from her breakfast plate she was so nervous, but once in class, the nerves dissipated and her eyes sparkled.  She waved at me before I turned around and walked out the door.  I held the tears back, but once I crossed the threshold of the classroom, I burst.

THRESHOLDS – MOMENTS OF TRANSITION THAT MARK AN ENTRANCE TO A NEW PHASE NOT YET EXPERIENCED.

I’ve not always welcomed thresholds in my life, especially when it comes to my kids growing up.  I love having my family by my side and count these years having them home a privilege. 

But children grow up, and change is a guarantee.  Whether sending your child off to school for the first time, graduating a senior, or having to accept that you are no longer the central figure in your child’s life, it all requires open hands, an open mind, and an open heart. 

HERE ARE SIX WAYS TO GRACEFULLY EMBRACE CHANGE:

BE HONEST

Acknowledge that it is difficult to let go of life as it was.  Grief often accompanies transitions and we can be honest about that sadness with safe people in our lives.  When we are real about how we feel, we can move through those feelings with more authenticity, and often, faster. 

BE FLUID

Rigidity keeps us stuck.  Life will beat us down and relationships will suffer if we refuse to change and grow. Realize that change is inevitable. We can fight change and lose, or embrace it and embody grace in the midst. Fluidity will offer kindness to ourselves and others.

BE POSITIVE

As an amateur student of neuroscience over the past several years, I’ve been fascinated with studies that show the impact of gratitude and positive thinking on our neural pathways.  We literally rewire our brains towards goodness instead of negativity when we discipline our thinking to focus on the blessings in our lives. 

BE CREATIVE

Rituals and creativity help us as we make transitions in life.  Think about what artistic expression or ritual you can incorporate into your family to celebrate and mark the threshold you are crossing.  Some rituals we have created:  a 5th grade backpacking trip or overnight to talk about sex, a 13th birthday “walk” to usher in the teenage years, a night with mentors upon graduation or on the 18th birthday. 

BE COURAGEOUS

We often can’t picture having the strength to go through a change before we are in that situation, but when that scary event, season, or transition happens, we discover we are given all that we need in that very moment.  God gives according to the current circumstance, not before.  He will be with you and give you exactly what is necessary to move gracefully through each threshold. 

BE HOPEFUL

In each season there is something for us to offer to the world.  Sometimes it is within the walls of our own home, and sometimes the entire world becomes our walls.  Be confident that your gifts and talents will always find a home.  When our lives change, that often ushers in greater freedom and opportunity in new ways.  Embrace all that the current season offers. 

That first-grade classroom was the first of many thresholds I walked through with my daughter growing up.  Tomorrow she will receive her Bachelor of Arts diploma and exit stage left into the grown-up world called adult life. 

From beginning to end, the mantra has always remained – open hands, open mind, open heart. 

God has her.

God has me.

And we’re still walking over thresholds together. 

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  1. Theresa Bissell says:

    Really needed this right now- so many big moments in my children’s’ lives- high school graduation,, 21st birthday, college graduation, moving out- all in a divorced family. Missing some experience because of divorce is hard. Thank you for my new mantra- open hands, open mind, open heart

    • Krista says:

      Hi Theresa – I get it. It’s so hard to let go and navigate tough dynamics. I’m so glad you grabbed onto that new mantra – YES! We’ll be saying it together. Know you are not alone. Sending a big hug – Krista

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