Written By: Kerrington Sweeney
Here it goes, today we are going to be talking about Transitions. Transitions that happen frequently, transitions that we can see and expect and transitions that are unknown to us until we are in the thick of it.
My entire life has changed this year and let me tell you, it was a joyful, yet painful and a stretching season of my life. I was about to enter into the craziest transition and I can truly say now…I was not at all ready for what was ahead of me.
Now I don’t know about you. But for myself I can personally say, that when I am entering into something brand new, I like to have familiar faces around. I know some of us as young adults still attend Doctors appointments that our Mom’s have scheduled for us. There is just something about having that figure in your life to look to, in a time of tremendous transitions.
A true sense of comfort is found in familiarity.
I remember a time in my life, where I was riding parallel on the tracks of life with many friends.
Experiencing the same scenic routes, going through similar struggles, and bending on the same curves on the tracks of life.
Being stopped at the same crossways. Getting refuelled at the same conferences and church events. Volunteering in many different areas together and growing stronger in our faith. But there came a time, where the parallels weren’t and couldn’t be parallel any longer. It was a time of direction changes for many. An entrance into the season of the unknown. A roundhouse was upon us.
Things that were established and always constant in life weren’t about to be anymore. Familiar places and faces where that comfort was truly found, would be ripped right from underneath us.
As teens, we were guided through our high-school years on a track that was forged by our parents. (For example for me: Attending church with my parents, eating at the same restaurants as my parents. Going to the same family outings with my parents…the list could go on)
This was a straight track guided and directed by them.
Which most of us willingly followed along this path with them and maybe some of us got a little tired of it and tried to start forming our own track earlier on.
Now a little history lesson for us all, Early steam engine locomotives normally travelled forwards only back in the day. (Just like we did with our parents guiding us through our teen years…)
Although reverse operations capabilities were soon built into these steam engine locomotive mechanisms, the controls were normally optimized for forward travel only, and the locomotives often could not operate as well in reverse.
Turntables allowed locomotives to be turned around for the return journey and for the next tracks ahead of them. These places, now known as roundhouses were designed to radiate around the turntables. They were built to service, store and restore these locomotives for certain time frames of being in use and not.
I entered my roundhouse of life at the same time as many of my friends. I watched them metaphorically speaking, come into their own roundhouses, being refuelled, having a drastic direction life change and then off they were on to the next chapter of their lives. Already traveling down a brand new set of tracks on their own, without me.
My experience in the roundhouse was a little different,
I got pulled into what they call the “back storage area” of a roundhouse and there I was kept for awhile.
During that uncertain time in my life I had just felt that I was about to be released in to my calling, into the next chapter in of my own life. I loved volunteering. I loved serving. I loved everything about my life. I always had felt a call to ministry and I thought this was how it was all going to begin. I found my “sweet spot” so to say. I began to gain a level of comfort with where I was at, at that point.
Personally I thought, that I was just about to pull out of that season of being in the roundhouse storage area and then…God had other plans.
Another fact about locomotives pulling out of the roundhouse for the first time after being in storage for awhile is…That they always drag them out very slowly to get them started on their next part of the journey.
They want to make sure that the areas they have oiled, refuelled, and fixed up are still working in proper order before beginning the journey ahead.
As I thought I was slowly being pulled out of my life roundhouse, I was quickly thrusted back in and kept in.
In storage, in safe keeping, and under the watchful eye of my Heavenly Father. In the dark and the unknown, I waited…
In the early spring of 2015, I was physically attacked by a horrific, unknown virus. I was emotionally drained and spiritually on a desperate searching quest. In search for something to quench my never-ending thirst of strength in my physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Resulting in, me spending several horrific nights in the Emergency Room…waiting hours and hours in search of answers.
That season was absolutely lifeless. No growth took place, rather the roots of a health filled life-style, were ripped out from underneath me. I felt weary, defeated, and ragged. My soul was in pieces, scattered around, limp with no life left within me.
Failure. Defeated. Worthless.
These were the words so often spoken in my mind, on a vicious cycle that seemed to never end. I felt like I was drowning in a sea of mystical voices. I was numb to the Lord’s presence. I had no emotional balance. I was knee-deep in a place of utter chaos and complete confusion. A season of wandering, searching, and questioning God.
A choice was placed in front of me. Would I begin to take up the quest in hope of finding my authentic purpose once again, or would I continue to lay limp, life-less in a state of complete exhaustion?
My weary soul felt no reason to pray. No reason to read my Bible and not even an ounce of reason to attend a church service during that time. I was tired. Weak. Ready to, in all honesty, give up.
“What was the point anymore?”, I thought.
This soul was mine. I, Kerrington, had to take ownership of it. No longer was I being a slave to the fears, raging inside of me. This was not my portion and I knew that I knew, something had to give. It was a season full of hardship. Harsh words, temptations, and faithless defeat. Unsettledness, sleepless nights, and never-ending tears. Oh, and change. Lots of it.
A season of questioning what truly defined me. Crammed with medical tests and procedures. Ugly moments and real jealousy. It was a season, I thought I had truly fell in love and then, got my heart recklessly broken.
The season of learning to love and somewhat trust once again. Full of higher than high mountain tops and lower than low valleys of deep feelings and insecure emotions. The season of pursuing, a true balance for my life.
It was a season of realignment and of a complete shift that took place. A brand new purpose and an intimate calling was being birthed directly into my weary heart, into my very spirit. I would either embrace it with open arms, wholly surrendered or I would resist it, and be shaken to the very core of my being and be tested on my every move.
God was calling my heart deeper through this year and I honestly was struggling to trust Him through it all.
I was so ready to leave that season of my life behind.
I desperately wanted to leave that roundhouse. I wanted a new direction. I longed for a safe place. A place of refuge. A place where I could just…belong.
But then friends, ……..Jesus. I think at times I often forget, especially in the fast-paced culture we abide in, that God is such a personal God. We forget that He deserves our undivided attention first and foremost.
We just need to Stop. Seek. Pray. Reach and Regenerate. Because, He’s there.
He’s there in those moments when you could just break down and cry. He’s there celebrating with you in your greatest achievements. He’s there in the stormy crashing waves of life, and He’s there in those moments of sweet peace and stillness. He’s with you in hardship and in worship. In agony and in freedom. He’s always there.
For awhile, It was quiet. I asked the Lord many times, “When will it be my turn?” “When will I have the opportunity to leave this place of storage? This place of the unknown?” “When Lord?”
It was about 3 months, after I had prayed those words of desperation, that I not only got pulled out of my roundhouse, but I was thrusted out onto my own brand new set of tracks.
Not predetermined directions from my parents. Just me, myself and the Holy Spirit on a brand new journey of life together. A new level of trust had begun to be built.
It was exactly 3 months after those words left my lips,
and there I was….started dating the love of my entire life, I was hired as a Children’s Pastor at Amherstburg Community Church at the age of 18, I moved to a new church, passed my G2 license test and bought a car. Everything…All done within one month’s time. One thing after another. One change after another. One major life transition after another. My life was set before me and there I was riding down a brand new set of tracks on my own.
Trusting God when the battles came. Because, oh did they ever come. Ferocious and fierce did they come. War after war. Battle after battle. Tear after tear. Fire after fire. Physical. Emotional. Spiritual they came.
I had to trust God on new levels with every single area of my entire life, knowing that when I was riding through those dark tunnels, that He went before me, that He was the one waiting at the end of that dark unknown place, that He was my strength, that He was the director of my foot steps, my lead, my guide, and my Heavenly Father. Always…even in those rough times.
The verse that I cling to so often is the second half of Isaiah 43:2, it says…
“…when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”
If you remember one thing from tonight, I encourage you to take note of this outstandingly- powerful quote from Lisa Bevere:
“God prepares you in private, to release you in the public.”
The transitions, the roundhouses, the unknowns and the uncertainties during this season in our lives…Hand the keys over to God, let Him begin to be the leader of those things in your life. Let Him cleanse your weary heart. I know for a fact, beyond the shadow of a doubt that He has mighty, and prosperous plans for each of you.
Until Next Time,