What to Do When Sucker Punched by Change

What to Do When Sucker Punched by Change

Change is tough--especially when it’s least suspected.  A diagnosis of cancer, the unexpected death of a loved one, an instant job layoff when things seem to be going smoothly—such life events shake us to our core. It’s as if we’re dancing on the stage one minute and suddenly, someone dropkicks us to the cold hard floor.  If you’ve watched my story, you know that I, too, have endured some tough battles and didn’t escape unscathed.

But what about those events we actually see coming? Not only do we hear that scary change train barreling ‘round the bend, but we see it, eyes wide open, approaching full steam ahead with no slowing down. Regardless of how hard we try to prepare ourselves, we know there’s a good possibility we’re about to feel crushed, perhaps beyond recognition.

I’m not sure which is worse, knowing hard times are coming, or for change to pop up like some hideous jack-in-the-box.  In my humble opinion, both stink big time.

Let’s face it, most of us don’t like change because of one very big reason:  it forces us to give up control. 

Can you relate?

  • Your kid isn’t a kid anymore and gets their driver’s license. You’ll never sleep soundly again until you know they’ve reached their destination safely—regardless if they’re 16 or 36.
  • You lose your job and feel as if you’re totally starting over, trying to stand toe to toe with millennials. How do they remember everything so darn easily?
  • From daily stress to drenching night sweats, menopause, or, “the change” almost gets the best of you.  If men had to endure this, they would definitely “pause” and give up.
  • You feel sick inside as you prepare to tell your aging parent that their car keys must be taken out of fear they could get hurt or hurt someone. You pray they’ll forgive you and understand. 
  •  While you once received compliments on your thick hair, you’re now looking for a pretty wig after months of chemotherapy. You try with everything in you to pretend it’s normal, knowing full well the person staring back at you in the mirror is screaming "SO not fair."
  • You move your grown child into their college dorm, positive there’s no way they should be considered “grown” just yet. You leave campus fighting back tears, praying the same prayer as when they started first grade: that they'll be safe, make friends easily, and get good grades.                                

Adapting to life’s changes doesn’t come easily. We look up at God, furious, as we don’t understand his allowances. A dear friend of mine’s favorite saying is “You wanna cause God to laugh? Tell him what your plans are.”

We’ve all been there, right?

When I lived in KY, I was at the height of my career in pharmaceuticals. I made great money, loved my job, my co-workers and planned on enjoying the career until retirement. That is, until I was turning left into the post office and got rear-ended by a semi-truck. I shook off the pain, until a few days later, my arm and leg turned gray, cold and I ended up with a pain disorder that burrows its way inside my body still today. One minute I was on top of the world, the next minute, on a sofa wanting to die. It’s how I ended up in New Mexico, to escape the KY humidity that had made my pain so much worse. And sure, those that know my story also know I ended up getting a divorce and feeling more emotionally crippled than I’d ever felt before. Did I get mad at God for allowing what seemed like, one too many sucker punches?

You bet I did.

We all can claim to be filled with faith that never waivers, but I’m sorry, that’s just not the majority of us. We are all a work in progress. I do believe God puts the same lesson in front of us, over and over, until we’ve shown we’ve learned something. Afterall, He’s not only our Father, He’s our teacher. When we prove we trust in Him, learn to let go of anger, and live by His word, he will bring GOOD from our pain.  Read that last sentence again.

When I sold my home in Taos, NM, there was great uncertainty in my life. Move back to Kentucky? Stay in New Mexico? I had no desire to be in another relationship, as I’d been hurt and betrayed enough, regardless of what others thought they knew about my marriage. I even questioned who my real friends and family were, as the real ones saw through the pain, and loved me through it.  Still, I was unsure of what to do next...

But again, remember the quote from my friend in how to make God laugh? I’m sure I was a real knee slapper. I won’t go into all the crazy coincidences that were, without a doubt, orchestrated by God, but one day I walked into a gallery in Santa Fe and there stood, William Haskell. I had loved his art for years and until a few weeks beforehand, I never even knew he lived in New Mexico. We talked about our love of art, the Southwest, and in two years, we were talking about our love for one another in front of a pastor and a cactus-filled garden. Perhaps I'm a romantic, but it is somehow fitting for a Christian author to find peace amidst thorn-laden cacti.

And just like that, God whispers, I’m bringing good out of your pain. You are faithful and I know you love Me. Oh, Angie, what is it going to take for you to have faith in Me? I cry as I type this blog, thinking of how my anger has not only caused harm to myself and those I love, but it’s disappointed God. But yet, He is crazy in love with me and proves it over and over. He is crazy in love with all of us, if we are willing to slow down and get out of His way.

So, what must we do when we can’t change the inevitable?  Quite simply, we pray and we trust our Creator.  We can learn from the changes, grow emotionally stronger and even get excited about life transitions. Or, we can whine “whoa is me,” sink into a pit of despair and be convinced life’s struggles are just too much to bear.  It’s a CHOICE. Own that.

Regardless if you’re smack in the middle of a big change or anticipating one just around the corner, know that you have the strength to bloom again, beautifully.  Just as the leaves of our aspens prepare to turn gold and fly in the wind, know that sometimes, we must stand dormant in preparation for a glorious spring.  

Prepare your heart for change, dear friend. There's great blooming in your future.

Brightest of Blessings,




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