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Have you ever found yourself dreading inevitable changes in life?

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NIV).

As the school year ends and spring changes to summer, I find myself contemplating change. Growing up I knew I wanted to be a teacher and a mom. Before I was married, or even thinking about kids, God called me to homeschool. I was fulfilled and satisfied raising and educating my kids because I felt like I was serving the Lord in every moment. I was happy on my small stage doing everything as if I was doing it for the Lord.

But four years ago, as my son graduated and my daughter was following a mere two years behind him, I began to experience a profound sense of grief and mourning. I didn't want to hold them back and stop them from growing up because I realized trapping them in the old season would be ugly and unnatural. But I can not deny that mourning washed over me and has been a companion these last few years.

If we stand in the moments we are given, faithfully and fully, how can we not mourn their passing?

Almost a year after my daughter graduated, I stood on the porch at The Connection’s retreat continuing to process my thoughts with God. The air was crisp. The mountain-hills were beautiful. I was worrying, as I often do, that I shouldn't feel this way. After all, God is good. I felt guilt over the long-time processing and mourning. Had I made an idol of motherhood and homeschooling? Can an idol be something that draws you nearer to God? In my grief, I had not stopped living. I still teach in the homeschool world, and I have let my kids fly and manage their lives. But if I'm honest, I still miss the moments when my family walked more closely together. I found myself praying, "God, I don't think I am built for change." A second later, I laughed. That statement is absurd. The scene before me was marked by change. The trees were still bare from winter. The clouds and rain of the morning had passed, and I was viewing blue skies and fluffy clouds. This world of ours is marked by change. Our experience with life IS change; we are born and grow up, changing almost moment by moment in those early years. And yet this life is only half the picture.

We are also eternal beings made for eternity with our God. We are marked by His image, and He is unchanging. We are called to love and serve the Lord faithfully and continually. There is no sense of change, or temporary, in those ideas. So how do we deal with this duality? Man is both temporary and eternal in the same way we are body and spirit. How do we embrace both?

It seems to me that the trick is to remember there is a time for everything. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 gives a comprehensive list which covers all aspects of life. When facing a difficult circumstance, particularly one you are having trouble accepting or finding joy in, remember there is a time to cry. Mourning does not signal a lack of faith. The Bible is full of expressions of sorrow and mourning that we can use as models. God's people experience grief and sorrow in this changeable, fallen world. In fact, one-third of the Psalms are categorized as laments. Each Psalm of lament begins with an expression of angst and crisis. The psalmist pours out his whole heart to God, not just the pretty and perfect parts.

One interesting thing to note is that many of the Psalms use vague and general language so that "many people in the midst of many different crises will be able to pray these psalms."1 This tells us that lamenting was for the community and that a variety of circumstances are valid. God's people mourn over death because it is a loss of relationship and fellowship. We can also mourn over other losses like the loss of expectation or hope or a dream not realized or even a dream deferred. Mourning is, and will be, part of our life in this changeable world. God knows this. And He wants us to be real with Him and express it to Him.

In Matthew 5:4, Jesus says, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." This simple statement makes His position clear. Mourning will not earn you condemnation or criticism; mourning earns comfort. This is the heart of God. Jesus invites all who are weary and burdened to come to Him and He will give rest. Saying goodbye to moments and people we love can make us weary. This is especially true when we add a burden of guilt because we feel like a good Christian must always be happy and joyful. As we acknowledge the passing of spring into summer, may it remind us that we have a dual nature; we are eternal beings standing in a changeable world. There is a time to laugh and dance. There is also a time to weep and mourn. Joy comes from learning to stand in each moment, while accepting and acknowledging it for what it is, knowing that He stands with you. 

"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18

1Jacobson, Rolf A., and Karl N. Jacobson. Invitation to the Psalms: A Reader’s Guide for Discovery and Engagement. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, Baker Publishing Group, 2013.

Julie Malecki

Julie Malecki lives with her husband, two kids who have recently become adults, a cat, and a dog in a house with more bookshelves than closets. As of June 2023, she is officially retired from her long-time vocation as a home school mom but still has a heart to encourage and breathe life into the Christian community at large. She is a graduate of the Circe Apprenticeship and received her certificate as a Master Classical Teacher. She is passionate about Classical Education, great books, insightful authors, enduring words, and seeing God’s fingerprint on the cosmos (the well-ordered whole of reality).

1 Comment

Barb Lange about 2 months ago

Julie, I am one of the blog writers with The Connection and I have so been enjoying your contributions ๐Ÿ™‚

Oh, can I truly relate to your latest post! I don't want to post these comments on Facebook. I mourn everyday That my kids are living nearby. I miss them so much. And I know they're at a stage in a season that they don't miss me the same. And that's okay. I had my turn and now it's there ๐Ÿ™‚

I made a bucket list before my daughter left for college. On that list was all the things I've been holding back and doing because I poured everything into my kids. God has blessed that list exponentially!!

I ser ve in a ministry that God laid on my heart, offering a teen homeschool choir in the Franklin county area. We are finishing up our 9th semester and I am in awe of what he has done! It is one of my favorite times of the week. I could never have done this. If my children were nearby. I would never have had the time. Many families have been touched by the community that has been established in this ministry. Teens have found a safe place to learn about God and music!

Though I still mourn everyday, I remind myself that we do live this life for eternity not for our own 'wants!'

I would love to meet up and chat sometime and see what this season is bringing you! Thanks again For sharing your heart!

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