I recently moved from Arizona to Washington state. Big change. Huge actually, I realize as I sit on my back porch surrounded by towering evergreens. It’s so beautiful here, there is green everywhere! Surely this must be what heaven looks like. The trees appear to climb all the way there. It feels like I moved into God’s backyard. He has BIG trees. There are also big spiders that live in them! Not only is the landscape different from the desert Southwest, but so are the people. They wear rain boots instead of flip flops. They drink a lot of coffee. And organic is not just an adjective up here, it’s a way of life.

While none of these changes have been too difficult for me (especially the drinking a lot of coffee part), other changes have created some challenges. Leaving behind family and friends of nearly 20 years was painful. Familiar places, people, and occasions are no longer familiar. Finding a new place to live, a new place to worship, and a new place to buy my favorite brand of coffee creamer have not been entirely easy. I like adventure, but do you know how hard it is to find a good hair stylist when moving from one extreme climate to another? The rain does unspeakable things to a woman’s hair. I consider myself adaptable, and multiple moves from one state to another while growing up probably helped hone my outgoing skills on the social front – there’s always a silver lining – thank you mom and dad. Still, change can be difficult.

It’s one thing when we initiate a change ourselves: I think I’ll try a different brand of coffee creamer today, or I think I’ll move across country. Though not always easy, change is easier to deal with when we can anticipate it. Often though, change is thrust upon us without warning: we lose a job, someone we love walks away, the doctor gives us a poor prognosis. It’s the unexpected that sends us reeling. Without someone or something steadfast to hold onto, I know I would have given in to the hounds of discouragement long ago when the voice of change started barking. I have had my share of the unexpected. I’m guessing you have too.

Some changes you can prepare for. I have rain boots now. Cool ones, with a crazy-fun mix of color and design. Hey, if I have to wear pieces of rubber on my feet, they are going to be fashionable.

Some changes you cannot prepare for. I still miss him.

I look forward to certain changes, like the colors of fall. Other changes I dread, like the growing number of gray hairs on my head. Still, change is a part of life. So, what’s one to do when changes come knocking on your door, announced, or unwelcome? There is one thing I have found to be extremely helpful when it comes to change: Acceptance. Accepting the things I cannot change, or the changes I cannot prepare for has brought a sense of peace to me in times of turmoil.

On the desk in my office, sit some words that I find great comfort in during times of change. You may recognize this portion of the well known Serenity Prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.  

Hope whispers, Accept change. Miracles will soon blossom. 

I can accept that life is full of uncertainties and insecurities and untimely occurrences. I can accept that there are many things I cannot change. I can embrace the things I am able to change, beginning with myself. I have choices. You have choices. I choose acceptance. When I choose to accept what I cannot change, or the changes I cannot prepare for, I am letting go of worry and fear, so my hands and heart are free to hold on to hope.

Perhaps hope waters the seeds of change that miracles need to grow. Maybe that’s why the trees are so tall up here in God’s backyard.

How about you? What helps you to embrace change?