If you’ve got a baby in your house, you’re more than likely familiar with sleep regressions. The DREADED sleep regressions. You get your sweet child on a predictable schedule that everyone is comfortable with; your family is finally getting a great night’s sleep and without fail that sneaky, underhanded sleep regression waves it’s hand and yanks out the rug of familiarity from the routine.
It feels like a giant step backwards. All of a sudden, they’re waking up multiple times in the night or resisting their naps during the day. You dread they’ll never go back to their peaceful ways.
Even though you fear your days of under-eye circles and 5 cups of coffee per day are a permanent sentencing, a couple of days go by and your sweet little cherub is back to their routine, back to sleeping through the night and you quickly forget the regression ever took place.
As frustrating and tiring as these sleep transitions are, they serve quite the purpose. During these “regressions” babies are actually leaping forward in their development and experiencing a surge of brain growth. A step backwards proves in the end to actually be a necessary progression.
And we’re not far removed from experiencing similar regressions. Except we like to use the word “transition.” If you’re in a transition you might feel like you’re all out of whack. What’s predictable and routine has been yanked from underneath you and you might be grasping for the comfortable and familiar.
Transitions come in all shapes and sizes: job loss, a move, a new child, adoption, marriage, divorce, loss of a loved one, a new business venture.
I’ve experienced a number of transitions in my life. And I’m starting to realize that what initially feels like a step backwards or a complete robbery of the familiar and comfortable, is a necessary part of our own development if we allow it. A surge of growth. We can resist or we can accept with open arms the newness our Heavenly Father is doing in us.
One of the biggest transition times for our family was back in 2010. My husband, Andrew, was the owner/operator of a Chick-fil-A franchise. We loved (and continue to love) every aspect of the company. It was an honor to steward a CFA and it was something we took very seriously. During CFA’s annual operator seminar back in February of that year, God whispered to Andrew to leave Chick-fil-A; to leave the dream job he worked so hard for and the future that was bright before him. Andrew told God if it was really Him speaking, bring it up again so he could be sure. There was a morning just a month later in March when I was out of town for a funeral (this was when our oldest was only 4 months old) and God spoke the same message again in a quiet whisper to Andrew. God must have been serious about it after all.
When I returned home, Andrew shared all of this with me and I actually wasn’t surprised. God has a way of preparing our hearts for transition.
Together, we took the step of faith and told Chick-fil-A Andrew would be ending his contract May 1st of that year. This was also the same time I had left my job to be at home with our daughter and was only working part-time from home. When I say there was no job waiting, nothing ahead, no position to take, nothing on the horizon, I mean NOTHING.
Was there fear? A bit. But the greatest thing happens when you trust God and fully embrace the transition He’s put before you. He will give you a peace greater than any security and comfort this world can bring. Andrew took a position at a non-profit urban ministry and was able to start a work program where urban teenagers were paired with caring, intentional employers to gain job experience and training. That’s neat to look back on because job creation is still a passion God has on our hearts.
God provided and showed up in miraculous ways during that season that we still fall back on when we forget His faithfulness: money anonymously given to us, a new car bought for us by someone we didn’t even know, brand new furniture given to us. It was humbling and heart-changing and left us with a greater faith than we could have known if we stayed where we were.
To the world, we were foolish. We didn’t end up with a job making more money or gaining more notoriety. But for us: the growth, the faith, the dependency we gained far outweighed any cost involved with walking away. He drew us into His heart and showed us what a good Father He is. I wouldn’t trade that season of transition for anything.
And it prepared us for transitions to come: a new business venture, more children, adoption, homeschooling, leaving jobs, moving and the current transitions He is stirring in us now.
So be encouraged. What looks like a regression is usually a step of progression. Things can appear quite differently on the outside than what is actually happening on the inside. And that’s where it counts: what God is doing on the inside. That’s where the treasure lies.
Just like babies during those darn sleep regressions. They’re crying, waking up, restless and hard to soothe. But days later there they are: saying their first words or taking their first steps. Proof of that surge of growth that happened during their time of transition.