Nancy

Nancy is a 62 year old writer, teacher and soul care coach, married to Jim for 41 years.  They live in a beautiful wooded subdivision near Madison, WI. They have two grown children- Adam (daughter in love, Joanna) and Elizabeth and three delightful grandchildren – Nora 3, Audrey 2 and Jay who is 9 months.

Nancy has struggled with depression and will share with us how she is transitioning into a new place in life with her depression & healing.

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What was the most difficult part about your transition?

Currently, I am working on the healing of depression which I have gone in and out of for the past 20 years.  I always thought that if I just did a little more or found the right medicine or the right therapist that I would be “cured”.  And I have finally discovered, that while my depression ebbs and flows, it is a part of me to embrace and learn about its gifts, which has been a huge transition.  I think acceptance has been the hardest part of my transition.

 

What did you find most helpful in this transition? 

This last fall, at a retreat, God met me personally with the verse, “Are you here for some healing?” from John 5:6.  I was so startled because that was exactly why I was there.  Over the course of the weekend, He continued to minister me personally, reminding me, “Daughter I know your name, “ and “You are blessed to be a blessing.”  I came away from that weekend much more healthy and whole as well as hopeful, knowing that God had me nestled in His arms.

That weekend has been a turning point in knowing health and wholeness in my depression. In spite of flares that may occur, God is right there, holding my hand, whispering in my ear, “Daughter I know your name.”  I am working on accepting that He’s the one doing the healing, leading and giving me hope.  I look for ways I can be grateful.  I don’t have to work so hard  or be frustrated when things don’t turn out the way I would like.  He is able and I am to rest in that.

 

What would you like to share with others going through this transition? 

I would encourage you in whatever reoccurring trouble you face to keep focused on the God who loves you more than you can imagine.  When I keep my focus on Him, I find the peace that passes all understanding.  It is a daily process and some days I certainly do better than others.

He reminds me that He has my right hand. For I hold you by your right hand— I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you. Isaiah 41:13.

Debbie

      Debbie has been married to Leonard for 25 1/2 years. The day Debbie      said I do, she became an instant step-mom to his 3 daughters, 1 was  married and the other 2, Irene & Anna, were still teenagers.  With much  prayer, they all learned to love each other and live together pretty well  through the years.  Then Stephanie arrived, their daughter together.    There is nothing like a house full of girls…..I asked Debbie to share with me what it was like to transition to an empty nest.

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What was the most difficult part of your transition?

Our older daughter, Irene, went away to college and that was the first adjustment. I missed her like crazy but she came home pretty often and I still had the younger one, Anna, at home plus I was pregnant. I was super busy keeping up with Anna’s activities and busy with morning sickness!

When it came time for Anna to leave home and get married, we were so happy for her, but also missed her like crazy too! When each daughter left, it felt like part of my heart left with them!

 

The Lord just kept me going and I remember praying and drawing close to Him through it all.

Then I really got busy with my one year old daughter and all of her activities. Plus I started meeting new friends in the neighborhood who had little girls and got busy with play dates and that sort of thing.

So then fast forward 18 years later when our youngest and last daughter, Stephanie, was ready to leave the nest. I had always had a very close relationship with all of our girls. We did a lot of things together and just enjoyed time hanging out.

Stephanie decided that she wanted to become teacher and go to Emporia State college which is about an hour and a half away. We had prayed and prayed and that is where she felt led to go. So I really had to lean on Jesus at this point!

Let me back up a bit and tell you that at this time also, my husband was traveling for work through most of Stephanie’s Senior year. Since he had been gone, it had just been Stephanie and I doing most everything together and now I was having a very hard time thinking that she was going to be gone all of a sudden!

Even though my husband was back home at this point, we had  to take our daughter up to a town I wasn’t very familiar with and drop her off at a college I didn’t know much about! She seemed excited to go and I was really trying to be brave and support her in every way possible.

When it came time to leave her there and come home without her, I was devastated! I remember holding it together as we drove away, until she couldn’t see me anymore and I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer.

Leaving her there and coming home without her was the most difficult part of this transition for me!

What do you think was most helpful for you to move into the hope and peace you were needing?

I can remember pouring my heart out to the Lord and asking Him to help me through this very difficult time in my life! Before, when the other daughters left, there was always another daughter still here at home,  but not this time. I have to admit that I felt a little lost.

For years, my job, which I loved, was to help and take care of my girls.  Now all of a sudden, I wasn’t needed as much anymore and I was needed in a different way. I felt like I was suppose to only help and give advice when I was asked or from a distance. Wow what a change for me!

I sincerely prayed with my whole heart for the Lord  to help me and lead me down the right path that He would have me to go and show me what He wanted me to  do.

Was there a special verse the Lord used to encourage you during this time?

I had a few scriptures that really helped me through this time.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 

And the last ones are about putting on the whole armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-17. 

 

How did your faith grow from this transition time in your life?

My husband knew I was hurting inside even though I put on a brave face and kept plugging along. So he did something very helpful for me. He asked me to go along with him while he worked out of town. He said he thought a change of scenery would do me good. So I went with him and that was one of the best things I could have done.

Also getting my mind off of myself and onto the Lord was key for me. It isn’t easy sometimes, but it is so worth it.

What would you like someone the middle of a similar transition to know?

Even though this transition in my life was really hard to go through, I can look back and see that God was leading me and taking care of me the whole time. He taught me that no matter what happens to us, He will always be there to pick us up. He will never leave us or forget about us.

He wants the best for us and for us to rely on Him no matter what our circumstances or how many transitions we go through. So I will leave you with one final scripture that summed up my difficult transition and maybe yours…Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6.

Peggy

      Peggy is a 51 year old divorce mom with two adult    children  that are married, and have three beautiful  grandchildren.  The  hardest transition she has  experienced was from being  divorce and becoming  single again.  She went quickly from a  family living off  85 to 90 thousand dollars a year to living off a poverty level salary.  She reports that she made many mistakes during her transition.  She was not attending church, was bitter, negative, and heading down a road to destruction. But then she foundHOPE!

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What was the most difficult part of your transition?

The change in our financial status and never having enough money to pay everyone.

What do you think was most helpful for you to move into the hope and peace you were needing?

I needed to seek God’s forgiveness for my sins against a holy God.  My sister got me to go to church and the Pastor’s message was just what I needed to hear.  I found myself crying out to God for grace, mercy, an forgiveness for how I had lived my life and asked him to restore me and teach me how to be content with my circumstances

I found that even though my husband did not love me, God loved me more than anything.  That was the turning point for restoration in my life.  That was the restoration in my life.  I turned from the sinful life I was living and became content with being a single mom.

I still struggled financially, but recently after taking Financial Peace University I have learned that everything I have belongs to the Lord.  I went into this class thinking things were hopeless that I would never see light at the end of the tunnel but walking away knowing that it is a process and there are certain things I need to have in place in order to be successful. I am working toward my $1,000.00 emergency fund, and then I will work on my debt snowball and once I get that knocked out I will go into the next phase moving toward financial success.

Was there a special verse that the Lord used to encourage you during this time?

I think of 2 Corinthians 4:16 and Psalms 138:3 as verses that encouraged me and gave me strength during this time.

2Corinthians 4:16 “Therefore we do not lose heart.  Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. “

Psalm 138:3 “In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul.”

How did your faith grow from this transition time in your life?

I learned that even though my marriage may not have turned out as  I had hoped for, that mortal men are going to let me down, but God always has my best interest at heart.  No one can ever love me or care for me as Jesus did.  The ultimate sacrifice was done at Calvary when Jesus laid his life down on the Old rugged cross for a sinner such as I.

What would you like someone in the middle of a similar transition to know?

That all is not hopeless, that is a lie of Satan.  When you find yourself struggling in life turn to a loving, faithful God to direct your path and allow him to sustain you.  Lean on other brothers and sisters in Christ to lift you up in prayer.  Don’t learn the hard way, like I did, and have your life be in a the gutter before you see the hand of a faithful and loving God.

Jennifer

  Jennifer is a single mom of 2 sons.  Jerad is in High School and Jeremy was tragically lost in a car accident 4 years ago.  Jennifer lives in Independence, MO and has her masters degree in Health Administration for University of Missouri, Columbia.  

    She learned early on that life was not always fair.  Her father passed away from a rare skin cancer in 1984, when she was only 14, and her life was changed forever.  Jennifer had a string of failed relationships which included a divorce 5 years ago.  All of the these failed relationships included the man she was with straying to another woman which diminished her trust in the male gender.  Then, almost 4 years ago the unthinkable happened.  Her oldest son was tragically lost in a car accident caused by the hand of another boy who survived the accident.

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What was the most difficult part of your transition?

I have made peace with my father and son passing away and all of the failed relationships.  I would say that my greatest challenges in my transition are overcoming trust and forgiveness issues.  While I am getting better at forgiving, trust is still a huge issue for me.

What do you think was most helpful for you to move into the hope and peace you were needing?

While my life has taken me to and from many dark places, I have never given up my faith in God and the miracles he provides.  He is my Lord and Savior and will never give me more than I can handle.  He gives me strength and courage to face life’s challenges.  He does this not only through His word, but through the wonderful people he places in my life.

Was there a special verse that the Lord used to encourage you during this time?

I am constantly reminded to “Pray about everything and worry about nothing.”  But my favorite verse that I always cling to is 1 Corinthians 13:4-7New International Version (NIV):  4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

How did your faith grow from this transition time in your life?

My faith has never been shaken.  Every day I awake with faith stronger than it was the day before.  My faith is what brings me peace and comfort.  My faith helps me to believe in love and the power that comes from it.  My faith in God gives me the strength I need to continue living a loving life and bringing peace and love to others.  My faith is what keeps me focused on what a blessing life is.  My faith is helping me on my journey in trusting and forgiving others just as Christ has trusted and forgiven me.

What would you like someone in the middle of a similar transition to know?

Loss of a loved one is one of the most difficult things to go through regardless of who the person is to you.  Trusting others is hard when you have been wronged, and forgiveness is truly hard to give when you have been hurt so badly.

When we lose someone we love through physical death, it is not the end.  It truly is the beginning of something wonderful for the person who has physically died.  We may not physically see them anymore, but we feel them in every moment of our lives.  God continues to use them through us to bring love and comfort to others.  I am grateful that God chose me to be my father’s daughter and my son’s mother. These are experiences I will cherish and take with me throughout the rest of my life.

About trust, I am learning that it is earned.  Forgiveness is not so much about the other person – forgiving others is an experience that helps us remember that we are not perfect and make mistakes just like the person we are trying to forgive.

 

God forgives us for our sins, therefore we should forgive others for their wrong doings toward us.  It is also important to forgive ourselves just as God has forgiven us.

Rhonda

      Rhonda has been married to Tom for 40 years.  Rhonda and Tom lived in Hutchinson, KS for 19 years where they raised their 3 kids.  All 3 of their kids are now married and have made her a proud grandmother of 6 (one who is in heaven) beautiful grandchildren.  Tom’s work moved them to Kansas City, MO 3 1/2 years ago.  Moving to a new town is a big transition in our lives.  In the interview below Rhonda shares how she foundHOPE after this big transition.

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What was the most difficult part about your transition?

The loneliness.  I knew absolutely no one when we arrived in KC, plus we built a house in a new neighborhood so there was only one other family that lived on our street. To help with this I did something quite crazy.  I bought a dog to keep me company.  I’ve never been an animal person so that tells you how lonely I truly was.

 

Well, one day I was outside with my new puppy when two ladies walked by.  They stopped to say hi and were very nice to me.  I remember that feeling of longing to have friends like that in my life, but it was not to be, yet.

I should also mention that I did have my youngest daughter and her husband living in KC which was awesome, but they were dental students in the heart of KC.  Needless to say I was not about to drive into the busy city.  Plus they were newlyweds, and also very busy with school, so they didn’t need me popping in on them!

We did see them on Sundays at church and for dinner after, which made my Sundays very special.  It helped in that it gave me purpose as I used part of the week to grocery shop and plan our meal together.  I doubt they knew how much it meant to me that we would all be together for church and Sunday dinner.

In July the following year, my other daughter and her family moved into the area.  Then in November my son also moved to KC.  If you had told me that all of my children were going to live so close one year after moving here I wouldn’t have believed it!

I had always wanted to live in the same city of at least one of my children and their family.  Here God had blessed me with all of them close by!  What a special gift from God, and another lesson about trusting God and waiting on his timing!

Where did you find new friendships and meaningful connections? 

I eventually started finding friendships and meaningful connections in the church we were attending.

Being a former church secretary, I took a huge step by walking into this very large church where I knew no one, and offered to volunteer in the church office. I began to at least feel like I had purpose even if it was just one hour a week.

I eventually found out about their ladies Bible study and started attending.  I didn’t connect well with the first group, but I didn’t give up.  I tried again and I almost walked away due to not being on the sign up list.  As I was about to leave God brought a young lady up to me who invited me into her group.

They welcomed me right in, and it felt great!  In fact as we were going around the table to introduce ourselves guess who was in the group?  Yep, the two ladies who stopped to talk to me (and Mekali) as they walked by my house.  Now, I know that was not an accident.  God had that planned before I even moved in.

I have been attending this same study group for three years and I am now one of the leaders.  We not only meet each week to study God’s word , but we go to lunch together, talk on the phone, and most importantly we lift up each other in prayer.

In addition to this wonderful ladies group eventually a small group spun off of that group of ladies which Tom (my husband) and I are enjoying attending each Wednesday night.

What did you find most helpful in this transition? 

Of course my husband was always very caring and helpful to me.  He would encourage me to get out. He listened to me, tried to understand my feelings, and he never complained when I went shopping and bought more than I should.  A new house means more decorating and more purchases…..right?

Also, as crazy as it sounds Facebook was very helpful with my move.  It allowed me to stay connected with my friends back home.  It filled a lot of empty time that I would have had without it.

I also had a dear friend from my small group back home that I called every week, and she would even take time to call me to check in on me.  She never made me feel that I was being a pest.  She was always there to listen and to encourage me during those lonely days.  This must have lasted for a year or more, but she hung in there. I thank God for her sweet spirit.

If you aren’t in a church small group I encourage you to find one.  You won’t regret it.

What really is constant in my life during that time and throughout my life has been my daily quiet time.  Reading God’s word and praying is the most important part of my day.  My day is not the same if I miss having it.

No matter what’s going on in my life I can depend on God to shed light on that situation when I’m reading his word and praying.

What verse was special and encouraging to you during this time? 

The verses that have always spoken to me are Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.  As the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

This verse has always spoken to me in pretty much all circumstances in my life.  It reminds me that God is omniscient.  He see’s all and knows all, for which I’m very thankful.  All I have to do is trust him….not easy to do sometimes, but hopefully, I’m getting better at it.

How long did you grieve the move? 

I would say the first year was the hardest.  Each season that passed seem to bring back more memories of family and friends from our hometown where we had lived and raised our family.

Eventually, I even tried a part-time job. While that did keep me busy and gave me purpose it was a bit more than I expected.  I felt pulled between it and being available to help my family, but I stuck it out for almost two years before I went back into retirement.

It’s been 3 ½ years since our move and I can honestly say that I am finally feel at home.  That may sound like a very long time, but I suppose what made it harder for me is that I am an empty nester.  I have made many moves in my younger years which weren’t as hard.  Having children seems to get you plugged into the community a lot quicker.

I would like to finish by saying that I only managed to get through this move and all the others because of the strength that the Lord gave me.  I believed in the promises of many scripture verses such as Psalm 28:7 “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.  My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him”.

He also reminds me to take it one day at a time.  Matthew 6:34 says “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries.  Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

Without the truth and promises of God’s Holy word I couldn’t have done it and wouldn’t have wanted to even try to without my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ walking beside me.

Katie

    Katie is a midtwenty year old who found herself struggling with the transition into adulthood.  She has been in small town KS since graduating from college.  She   was excited to get a job as an elementary school teacher   but then she found herself struggling with feeling stuck   in a rut which made her feel unsuccessful in all areas, personal and professional.

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What was the most difficult part about your transition?

At first I just thought this is what being a grown up is. Once I knew something had to it change it was identifying why I felt overwhelmed and like I was stuck in a box.

What did you do to get outside of the box?

I hired a coach, Rayna.  I explored what needed to change.  I began a plan of action to seek peace with God, developed a budget plan, sought new social opportunities and found a routine that lead to more sleep.  Finding one problem helped me to go deeper and deeper and deeper to really get to the root of what I needed to find peace.  I started reading the Bible more and even joined an online Bible study.

What do you think was most helpful for you to move into the hope and peace you were wanting?

Having a plan on paper to be able to see what I needed to do to move forward.  Journaling was also a big help to me and something I have continued to do today.

Was there a special verse that the Lord used to encourage you during this time?

Yes, definitely.  Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

How did your faith grow from this transition time in your life?

I found a deeper and more real relationship with God.  More of a reliance with Him in each moment of the day.

Do you think you would have found that without this period of time in your life?

No, with all the struggle there was growth.  The environment and challenges really pushed me to grow.  They helped me to realize that I can only rely on God for sure.

Katie has moved from being stuck in a box, feeling alone, and confused to hope, looking forward to change, with excitement about what is next.