My mom loves to tell this story about me – so if you haven’t already heard it, here’s your opportunity to hear it from the horse’s mouth…
When I found out my mom was pregnant with Emma, I was nine years old. Faith was 12 and we’d gone the entirety of our childhood thinking it would just be the two of us from here on out. Faith would beg for another sibling – but I was perfectly content as the baby.
I loved being doted on. I loved the attention. I loved being cared for and carried and slept with and fed. It was as if the birth order gods looked down upon me and said, “You were created for this. And this is where you’ll stay.”
And then, one day, my baby-being-glory was over.
Faith and I went to my grandparents’ house after school because my mom “wasn’t feeling well” and my dad went with her to the doctor. When they came to pick us up, they walked into the wallpapered living room and sat us down on my grandma’s couch. I knew something was up.
“We’re having a little baby!” my mom said, a hesitant smile plastered across her face as she waited to see how we would react.
Faith, of course, angel-child in all her ways, responded exactly how you might expect the responsible oldest sibling to respond. She instantly lit up and beamed as she jumped up and down with pure, unbridled excitement.
Well, my mom likes to say I didn’t even bend my legs and just threw myself to the ground. In completes shock, my knees locked and I fell forward to the floor.
There I stayed as I quite literally kicked and screamed the words, “No! You promised I was the baby,” over and over again.
I know. A picture of a completely normal child, right? (Love you, Em!)
Flash forward nine months and my posture toward Baby Emma couldn’t have been any different. Really, once my mom started to show, I began to get excited about the idea of a little baby joining our family. Now, some 18-years later, and those who know me know that Baby Emma hung the moon in my eyes and, to me, she can do no wrong. She’s my little buddy and is still one of my favorite surprises to this day.
But the whole instance of my parents announcing their pregnancy – this big, colossal shift was about to happen in our family – and all my nine-year-old mind new to do was to resist change.
We are a people – a generation – who hates change.
We hashtag #dontleavemesummer because we hate when seasons change.
We boycott Facebook after platform updates because we hate when our muscle memory has to change.
We resist things like thick eyebrows and white sneakers because we hate when fashion trends change.
We criticize John Mayer’s new album because we hate when someone’s sound changes.
We hate buying the next dress size up because we hate when our bodies change.
We cry after haircuts, stay in dead-end jobs, date the guy we know is wrong for us and cling to the way things were – all because we hate change.
We even pay for things in dimes and nickels because we hate carrying around change. (Anyone else?)
But why? Why do we hate change so dang much?
Is it because we thrive on control? Is it because change challenges us to go with the flow when we’d much rather know what to expect?
Maybe. I think that’s all part of it. I really do.
But deep down, I think we hate change because of this:
We like to be settled.
Beneath the wanderlust and the hunger for new things, new places and new experiences is the fundamental need for safety and security. We like to know where we stand and what’s expected of us. We like to know that needs will be met, bills will be paid, feelings will be acknowledged and that we will always have a place at the table.
And when anything threatens this solidified position – whether in a relationship, a community, a job or an internal feeling of self-acceptance – the red flag goes up.
Even the most free-spirited of us crave some sort of permanence.
We want to know we matter – that our preferences, our opinions, our routines and our needs are all validated. And when change comes and sweeps life as we know it up into its gust? It’s sometimes hard to feel like we have a place in it all.
Sometimes, change makes us question where and if we really belong.
We’ll celebrate a colleague’s promotion, but cringe at thinking of her replacement.
We’ll Instagram, “Congrats to these two love birds!” when our roommate gets engaged, but no sooner than the first like pops up, we immediately begin to panic as we wonder how we’ll afford the rent.
We count down the days until graduation for our entire senior year, but then when we’re in the home stretch, the pit in our stomach grows as we wonder, “What’s next?”
We spend months or years trying to get pregnant and then the second that pee-stick has a red plus sign, we question if we’re really cut out for motherhood.
Change has a way of unraveling us. It has a way of sneaking into the most solid foundations of our soul and pricking little pinholes in our confidence and beliefs. It does something to each of us that – sometimes – brings out the ugly and suddenly, we find ourselves kicking and screaming, face-first on our grandma’s living room floor.
But – then there’s God.
Unchangeable. Unshakeable. Immovable in all His glory. And His constancy – His permanence – gives us hope to cling to when life shifts beneath our feet. When we are tempted to grasp at circumstances as they change, as if we were trying to hold onto air, God invites us to cling to this hope. He invites us to stand firmly on His promise of an enduring presence, an unending faithfulness and a lasting love – and to cling to the hope we have in Him.
We have a hope that anchors us in the choppy water of life’s changes.
The Message version of Hebrews 6:15-20 says it best:
When people make promises, they guarantee them by appeal to some authority above them so that if there is any question that they’ll make good on the promise, the authority will back them up. When God wanted to guarantee his promises, he gave his word, a rock-solid guarantee—God can’t break his word. And because his word cannot change, the promise is likewise unchangeable.
We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us, in the order of Melchizedek. (Emphasis mine.)
Hebrews 6:19 is that famous scripture that we see hand-lettered on mugs and tattooed on peoples’ wrists. We have this (hope) as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul.
Hope. It’s what enables us to endure change. It’s what prompts us to embrace it with open arms. Hope is the thing that turns our fingers white as we clench our fists and cling tightly to it.
Hope that change can be good for us.
Hope that the discomfort won’t last forever.
Hope that Jesus alone validates our standing and continually invites us to His table.
Hope that God is doing something bigger and better than we could ever imagine.
Hope that, by His goodness alone, He is making all things new.
Change has nothing on hope, friends. Hope wins the battle each and every time.