This image may seem vaguely familiar. That’s because it was posted eleven months ago—

Sometimes our transformation seasons last longer than we expect. We start the journey with a sense of anticipation, hopeful, in some ways giddy, from the recognition that something important, even seemingly Divine is happening in our lives.

There’s a reason why the wisest teachers through generations have admonished, “Finish strong.” It’s because doing so isn’t easy. Despite all the hype, the long journey isn’t romantic or quixotic but just plain hard. Really. Really. Hard.

This past week I received a letter from a precious friend who wanted me to know that something I had written nearly a year ago had worked its way into her, strengthening and resonating through her own challenging transformation season.

My friend is an educator. Those five words, in this chapter of recent history we have all shared, say nearly everything you need to know. But here’s the part I don’t want you to miss.

She is a good one.

The image at the bottom of this entry is Natalie’s desk. Just behind her is a simple poster she created using the imagery and words from my February 6, 2020 post, “Transformation Seasons.”  

I am sharing this with you now to remind you of something that we all need to hear—

Your words matter. Your willingness to speak up matters. Your willingness to hold a friend in the darkness matters. Your willingness to believe the best of others and outcomes matters.

When I wrote Transformation Seasons, I was folded deep into the crevices of my own impossible journey. It had been two months since my diagnosis. The scarf on my head says it all. While our Creator was reconstructing me, our home was going through a renovation of its own.

It seems that our words are most-potent when they are shared within the raw honesty of our brokenness. We think that the difference we make is when we are strong, at the top of our game. But transformation isn’t a season or a snapshot, but the entirety of who we are. And who we are in our weakness, is most magnificent of all.

I’ve included Natalie’s letter to me here. The link to the entry, Transformations Seasons, and the Things to Think About that were in the post and appear on her poster are just below. May it bless you. May every little hard thing bless you.

Dearest Nene—

I do this job because I was made for it. I love students, parents, and my community. I love to serve those around me and hope that my acts of service are a little representation of how greatly God loves them. 

The hardest part of what I do is helping children work through whatever roadblocks are getting in the way of their learning.  In my job I am not just a teacher, but a leader, a friend, a social worker, and a mom. It’s the best job in the world.  I am so grateful that my vocation speaks to every cell of my being. This is who I was made to be.

Your post from February meant so much to me that I had it printed and posted it on the wall of my office.  It all spoke to me, but the standout was, “Reframe the tidal waves as baptisms, a rebirth of the unending, undeniable manifestation of the Creator in you.” How often do I feel like I’m drowning in a tidal wave?  A lot. Especially at work.  This is a reminder that though the water feels consuming, it isn’t killing. Rather, it is washing off whatever it is that God is allowing to be stripped away, and I will emerge from the water brand new. NOT DEAD. NEW. It really helps me reframe the moments that must be reframed. 

That’s my new “thing” by the way… in my 55th year of life… I can’t control what happens to me, but I can reframe it. There’s power in reframing. Seeing tidal waves as baptisms is a wonderful “reframing.”

Love you.

[extracted from Transformation Seasons, February 6, 2020]

1. View surprises not as setbacks but the opportunity to cultivate the problem-solver in you.
2. Embrace the unexpected as life’s way of awakening the Creator in you.
3. Join in conversation with the original Creator rather than insisting on engaging in a language of your own.  
4. Follow the momentum of the moment instead of getting stuck in solutions of the past.
5. Revere learning something new more than appearing as an expert.
6. Be willing to look behind your own walls and ready to break them down if necessary.
7. Be open to what your body/mind/spirit are trying to tell you even if it’s something you may not want to hear.
8. Reframe the tidal waves as baptisms-a rebirth of the unending, undeniable manifestation of the Creator in you.  
9. Never be afraid to take a sledgehammer to those things that don’t belong. 

Natalie Jager – Educator. Mentor. Mom.
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