There was a lot of whispering around the water cooler. My supervisor was a candidate for Vice President of the department. Many asked, “Was she qualified?” Others thought, “There has never been a woman in this position before,” and “Is she even suitable for the task?” Although there were at least four other candidates, she was chosen to carry the torch of Vice President. Never had I been so proud of my boss of three years. My coworkers and I had a big celebration dinner filled with joy and plenty of gifts to honor her new-found success. Finally, her hard work had paid off and she was headed for bigger and better things.
After the initial excitement died down, I was hit with the news that there would now be a few more additional changes. Although the promotion was a wonderful achievement, I never considered that I would no longer report to my fearless leader. As she moved up the corporate ladder, there was now a new vacancy in the department and things were about to shift. Her current position needed to be filled and I needed a new supervisor.
There was again a lot of whispering around the water cooler. “Who would be the candidate for the new position?” “Would that person be as qualified as my last supervisor?” and “Is this person going to be suitable for the task?” Many candidates began to come into the office. With each interview, anxiety began to build and an unseen dark cloud began to fill the atmosphere. My work environment was encompassed with a state of worry and fear of the unknown. Finally, a new candidate was hired and things began to change.
Through this experience, I realized three things: God is sovereign, change is inevitable and worry and fear is the absence of faith and trust. I often wonder why God sometimes never fully discloses the stipulations of his blessings. For example, even when there is a promotion, we often lose things in the process in order to grow. As God takes us to higher heights and deeper depths, we may lose some friends along the way and may have to endure a lot of negative “whispers” and our faith may be challenged. We may feel uncomfortable at times, but we cannot let fear overtake our hearts, because even though our situation may transform, there is a time and season for every change and this too shall pass.
We must fully trust God that our outcome will be in our favor and even when we go through the process of not knowing the future, there should be a reassurance that God is in control. God encourages us in the book of Deuteronomy 31:6 to “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” He also reminds us in 1 Peter 5:7, to “Cast all our anxiety on Him, because He cares for us.” God is with us, through the journey of moving into the blessings He has prepared for us. He is with us when people speak words filled with questions of doubt and uncertainty and He is with us through the midst of change. Leave the unknown results to God, and never fear the outcome of moving forward.
The loss of my son’s first two teeth has helped me reshape my perspective on moving into new phases of life.
I dubbed the first tooth, “Toothy McGillicuddy”, “McGillicuddy” for short. When he first discovered his loose teeth, he was nervous. The teeth wiggled, and his mouth was sore, which made him believe this would be painful. His adult teeth were growing behind the loose baby ones, attempting to push them out. He was really happy about his adult teeth making their debut. I told him that once his first two teeth fell out, he was an official “big kid”.
Weeks went by until the tooth finally fell out. Squealing with delight, he sped up the steps. I followed and found him in the bathroom mirror gazing at the gaping hole in his gums. I asked him, “Is it everything you hoped it would be?” He smiled proudly and said it was. Toothy McGillicuddy was free.
The second one, “Toothy McTooth” fell out after a week or so. He ran to me excitedly exclaiming that his tooth had fallen out. As he ran, I heard the quiet, tap-tap-tap sound of something falling down the stairs. It was McTooth…he dropped it. Bless his little heart.
Soon after, during the Pastor’s announcements at church, my son started yelling across the sanctuary to his friend. “Hey! My second tooth fell out!” He pulled his entire bottom lip down to display the second hole in his gums right there in the middle of church. My son had absolutely no chill but his excitement was infectious. In his mind, he was finally an official “big kid”.
I cannot remember the last time I was as excited about moving from one stage of life to the next, nor can I recall the last time I proudly displayed a gaping hole left behind when God removed something from my heart. I do not think I ever reveled in my discomfort knowing God was creating in me a clean heart, and renewing a right spirit in me.
That gum pain my son experienced reminded me of difficult seasons when God attempted to work something out in my heart, which needed to change in order for me to mature. As God moved me into a new season of life, the immature part was being pushed out and cast aside, just like McTooth’s tumble down the stairs.
Even with my son’s nervousness about losing teeth, he took it like champ. I, on the other hand, need to be ushered into a new season only after I have done most people’s share of questioning, kicking and screaming. This is usually after I spent time praying for change because I was so tired of being sick and tired. How ironic. Only when I realize what God is doing, am I able to look back at those hard times and see that the new phase of life is, indeed, everything I hoped for.
Watching my son embrace his new official “big kid” status and the discomfort leading up to it has encouraged me to see the beauty in God removing the old to make way for the new. Amid the soreness, discomfort, and eventual loss, I realize that God has my best interest at heart throughout His refining process. Just like we need teeth to eat, we need maturity to face the hard situations life sends us.
I will probably need to remind myself of this the next time I find myself kicking and screaming while God is trying to help me grow in some area of my life.