“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:19 NIV)
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It hit me hard one August afternoon.
Our youngest had married eight months earlier and while I’d been enjoying my newfound freedom after 33 years of parenting five children, I was also very aware of how life had changed. My heart was sad, grieving, and even fearful of all the changes.
This particular afternoon, however, I experienced a tsunami of emotions. Scrolling through Facebook, it seemed that everyone was talking about back-to-school-specials. They were sharing deals on notebooks, paper, markers, pens, and crayons. That’s when it hit me. My getting-kids-ready-for-school days were definitely over.
The tears began to roll, and I silently said to myself, I don’t like this. Not one little bit. I used to love getting the kids ready for school. I loved the rhythm of the school year and the summer break. And as I thought about it more, I realized that I loved being responsible, being needed, and feeling the sense of accomplishment and the fresh start that happened every August as the new school year started.
Change is hard.
Most of us like familiarity. We like our “normal.” Even if we value spontaneity, we prefer life to be somewhat predictable.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a job change, a move to a new city, experiencing a new normal after the loss of a loved one, or navigating a new season of parenting, when we experience change we usually can feel the loss more than we see the gain.
As I was sorting through my feelings with the Lord, He took me to the book of Isaiah. As I read chapter 43, verse 19, the words, “See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” leaped off the page to me. I was so wrapped up in my grief, there wasn’t any room to see anything new. God’s truth pierced my heart and my perspective was challenged at that moment.
When life pivots in some way, we naturally want to grab onto what we know. This is why we tend to look at what was more than what is or what could be.
That’s what I was doing. I was looking at my entry into the empty nest season of life as a loss when really it was the beginning of something new. God was doing a new thing and I was missing it!
Those words of truth reminded me that God wanted me to look ahead through the windshield of my life rather than peering through the tiny little rear-view mirror. I was not perceiving it at all, but now, for the first time, I was starting to see it.
The second half of the verse, “I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland,” spoke to my heart too. When things feel unfamiliar, we can trust that God is actively at work blazing new paths in our lives. He’s got plans that we’re not yet aware of.
How we think about something makes a very big difference in how we perceive a situation. This is why God’s word tells us to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). It’s also why we’re called to “renew our mind” (Romans 12:2).
Moving my mindset from loss to gain made such a difference! I stopped seeing my life through the lens of scarcity and started seeing it through the lens of abundance. In doing so, I began thanking God for the possibilities rather than lamenting the losses.
Are you feeling a bit disoriented in life? Navigating a transition? Trying to figure out what a new season is going to look like? Let me reassure you that your best life isn’t behind you, it’s in front of you!
God is doing a new thing. Keep your eyes open and your heart ready. The past was good but the future promises to be exciting and full of possibilities!
Lord, change is hard, but You are good. Help me to trust that You are at work, making a way in what feels like a wilderness in my life. Show me how to keep my eyes open to what You want to do now in my life. May I be grateful for the past and excited about the future.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Turn your losses into gains in your mind. What new opportunities are available to you in the change you are navigating? Thank God for those opportunities.
Write out Isaiah 43:19 and post it somewhere you can see it daily.
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© 2023 by Jill Savage. All rights reserved.
Thank you Jill! God’s timing is perfect. I really needed your post this morning. My husband of 35 years passed away unexpectedly in March. I’ve had to navigate so many changes. I still can’t believe he’s never coming back. It’s hard right now for me to understand or figure out how any good will come of this…but I don’t have to..God will.
Jill, thank you for this. It was one of those devotionals where I didn’t know I needed it. It named what I’m going through, so thank you for that. (You’re a great writer by the way!) Question…how do you know when it’s a time for change versus when it’s a time to hold on and work through stuff?
Thanks for this! I am going through this now. I just recently got divorce and my son (my only child) is getting married. Change is good! Learning to embrace the change.
God placed this devotional in my inbox at just the right moment. I have 4 daughters. My oldest daughter gets married in 19 days and moves out of state the very next day to where her future husband is stationed with the military. Good Christian boy, we love him! The next daughter is only a year younger and is already living on her own, working full time and paying her own way through college. Daughter #3 is graduating high school this week and leaving for college in a few months. Daughter #4 is wrapping up elementary school next week and heading for middle school in August. She came later in life. All of this change all at once with the older three is leaving my once bustling home quiet. I don’t like it! I have found myself often lost in the thoughts you described in your message. Interestingly, God has been directing me to Isaiah 43 the last few days, so that is no coincidence either. God is moving actively in our family and it’s looking like we might sell the home these girls grew up in and build on some property on the outskirts of town. Sometimes I think we might be crazy! All thing change is about to rock the little one’s world as well as she loses 2 sisters from the home within a short period of time and possibly move as well. Thank you for sharing openly about this stage. It has helped me feel more seen and as if I am not alone as life changes rapidly right before my eyes. My mom heart has been aching and I am choosing to see His possibilities!
Liz, I’m so very sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing. I’m glad these words brought you some hope.
Tiffany, a friend of mine recently shared that she knows when it’s time for a change when something is off in her heart or her home or her health. I loved that wisdom. When one or more of those is off, it’s time to adjust. I hope that’s helpful!
Tonia, yes, change is growth!
Elise, I remember when I was in your same season! I’m so glad for the perspective in seeing the possibilities that you have moving forward!
Thank you so much for this devo Jill. I needed the reminder today that God is doing new things. God gave me this very verse in 2019 when my 32 yo baby girl was going thru rehab. And oh what new things HE has done for her over the last 4 yrs. And then 12/24/21 I lost me husband of 42 yrs to liver disease. What an adjustment the last 17 months have been. God has led me all the way in doing so very many NEW things that I had never done before. God is faithful and I must be also. I’m so glad I know the Lord and I don’t think He is finished with me yet! God bless you and all who read this devo because God is ALWAYS leading the way! ❤️
Jill, how can I relate! We are empty nesters (our youngest got married) then my husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. A few years later covid hits and I realized that my husband needs me to care for him. I retired, sold the house, move to another state and my emotions are all over the place. Trying to find new home church also. I too had to deal with lots of emotions, but in the midst of it all God reminded me of His faithfulness. Those seasons of my life may be over but a new season is starting indeed and I can’t wait to see what He will do. What seems impossible for me is possible for Him. In the meantime I just wait. My heart is full of gratitude for thru all those seasons God kept me. He has shown me that my identity is not on those roles but my identity is in Him. He gave me the ability to play those roles and in this new season and in the future ones He will continue to be with me. Looking forward to what He will do. 🙂