By Gayla Grace

  “The job’s in Bossier City, Louisiana. It looks like a good job opportunity.” My husband’s words were bittersweet. As his job of 11 years was coming to an end, it appeared a new job was on the horizon. But we both knew relocating meant we would leave three kids behind in college.

Change, although traumatic and heart wrenching at times, is natural. It’s unavoidable. It’s one of the few things in life we can count on.

But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.  We moved to Conway 11 years ago and we’ve treasured the time we’ve spent in this wonderful community.  So much has happened since we’ve joined our lives here. We’ve had a baby, we’ve watched our kids progress through elementary, junior high and high school, we’ve graduated two kids from high school and started them in college. We’ve celebrated and agonized over circumstances that have come our way. We’ve laughed and cried with friends.  And we’ve created memories that will never be forgotten.

So, as we leave to start a new chapter, I’m learning to embrace the change. I’m striving to confront each new opportunity with an open mind and a positive attitude. I’m seeking to accept the reality of our move and the changing circumstances, refusing to be paralyzed by my fears of the unknown. I’m realizing the fragility of my emotions and looking to others for comfort on hard days.  And I’m recognizing my daily dependence on God, allowing my faith to define my destiny in a new location.

There are different ways to handle change. Many of us resist it because we like our comfortable surroundings. Some of us complain about it, seeking a way around it. And others are so fearful of change, it becomes difficult to make decisions or take rational steps in the midst of it.

But if we embrace the change going on around us, we have a better chance of getting to the other side of it successfully. We won’t react perfectly every time, but through the changes of life, we experience life lessons that cannot be learned during periods of stagnation.

Change happens at the beginning of life, the end of life, and everywhere in between. God asked Abraham to make a significant change at 75 years of age, leaving behind comfortable surroundings and embarking on unfamiliar territory. Hebrews 11:8 says, “By faith, Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” Abraham chose to leave behind the comfort and security of what he knew to follow a plan he didn’t know. I love his expression of faith in following the Lord.

We may not have to endure the kind of change Abraham did, but we will have times of change and transition. When we learn to embrace the change, relying on God for wisdom, comfort, and strength, we find contentment through the difficulty as we harvest the fruit of the journey.

So as we embrace our change of relocating, we say farewell. We offer our deep-felt gratitude for a season of love and acceptance expressed by so many in Conway’s community. And I especially say thank you to you, my readers, for allowing me the freedom to express my thoughts and opinions as part of Women’s Inc. for almost three years.  And although I must say farewell, I don’t want to say good-bye. I hope to see you again as I return to visit my college-age children. God Bless you dear friends.