I wanted to entitle this blog “Where in the World is Sarah Ball?” since I have been MIA in the blogosphere and because I am not totally sure I can answer that question fully…yet.
But here I am!
What I do know is that I am somewhere between who I once was and who I have always been. I am in “Transition”, geographically, emotionally, spiritually and even physically (hello, fffforties).
The temptation to allow fear to lead the way has been loud. I know that I am not alone in this and that many of you have had to overcome major changes in your life, voluntary or not. Some through a loss, a divorce, a career change, empty nesting, motherhood, physical illness or like me, a huge family move. So let’s get through this together, okay?
I have observed many people over the years handle change in their life, some with grace and ease and others with fragility and grief. I have to be honest that my experience kind of tilted me to the fragile side of things.
Last Spring, my husband and I made the decision to move back to our hometown where we both grew up. It was with a great amount of prayer, advice, a neon sign from God and courage to plug our noses and just jump into the deep end that led us here. I know very well that our change was our choice but whether voluntary or not change is hard.
After 18 years of raising my family in one place, I took root. Friendships became family, a trip to the grocery store meant seeing a familiar face, my routine meant a sense of control and my familiar settings gave me peace and motivation.
One of the most important factors to us choosing to move after all these years was an unwavering sense that God wanted to bless us in this change. There are so many other factors I won’t bore you with but as we made the move everything did not line up as hoped. It was not a smooth transition into career, house and life. In fact, my husband has still not found a job in his field (prayers appreciated) and our home did not sell right away and we found all 6 of us living with our in-laws for over 4 months. It was just over 6 weeks ago that we finally moved into our new home. Hence why you haven’t heard from me in months!
My emotions were very high during this time and still are some days, as change takes time. Often when I am grieved and distressed I pray and ask God to show me why I am feeling the way I do. Every time I ask for clarity I see in my mind a large oak tree being uprooted and pulled out of the soil. Change can be painful.
Transplanting an established tree takes effort on your part and causes the tree some stress. However, moving mature trees doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Generally, a big tree loses a significant portion of its roots in a transplant. This makes it hard for the tree to bounce back after it is replanted in a new location. The key to successfully planting a big tree is to help the tree grow roots that can travel with it to its new location.https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/
Through all of this change, I found myself trying to grasp my new life and the loss of many things I held dear. (She shed included!) 💛 I began to feel like I wasn’t me anymore and I found myself scrambling to find some sense of familiarity. I have been trying to navigate through this crippling feeling of insecurity and lack of confidence.
I’ve come to realize I am coming to realize is that when all the pieces get thrown in the air what you’re left with was YOU all along. You and that still small voice that whispers “we’ve got this.”
It may look different, feel different but it’s still you, still your future in His hands, still promises working themselves out, still peace available and the tools to maintain our mental and emotional health.
Change has been trying to derail me but I have been mustering up all my strength to have a staredown and this is what I see in it’s eyes so far.
Fighting the Anxiety of Change
The first thing I knew I needed was community. It felt easier to hide away until “I figured this out”, felt confident again and lost the 15lbs I gained at the in-laws. But I knew that it would not help new roots to grow and I also know that lack of community leads to depression and I ain’t doing that no more! It’s still not easy to walk into a group of people and try and fit in, instead of being greeted with a familiar hug or hello. It’s hard and many times I did it trembling with an intense desire to run out of a room or create some fake identity but I knew that Jesus is in community and I need to be too.
I also knew that Guarding My Mental Health was as important as, (if not more important than), meeting all the emotional needs around me. Being a mom of five in the midst of transition means guarding the hearts of all of my children; my eldest daughter staying behind and her adjustment to her family gone, our teenage son’s angst for changing his life in the middle of Highschool, my teenaged daughter’s anxiety of fitting in with a new school, my middle son’s extreme sadness leaving his best buddies behind, my youngest’s son’s extra need for reassurance and comfort and even my puppy Meadow who cried for the first two weeks in our new home. Amidst the physical work of moving, adjusting to a new job and community, I knew that if I did not set up a guard over my mental health I would slowly allow anxiety to lead the way. And we all know that I ain’t doing that no more!
I also know that I have to Lean on The Truth that God is for us and not against us. If you know anything about my mental health ministry, if you have read my book or gone through my course you will know that the foundation to my recovery was focusing on the truth of God’s promises over my life and also his love for me. I have had to remind myself of this, a lot.
Lastly, I am learning that fear and excitement are two very similar experiences, both rooted in anticipation, both stirring up adrenaline in the body. I am choosing to switch my mind from the anticipation of evil to the anticipation of good. I get to take with me all the lessons, connections and experiences that have made me who I am today but I also get to leave some of the crap behind and that feels good too. I get to dream about what’s to come and start over and do things a bit better this time.
Doesn’t that make you a little excited too?!
Change is good. #youvegotthis