Personal Story - Transition Time

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, June 9, 2014 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

This time of year is a common time to experience life transitions. Many students graduate from junior high, high school, or college around this time. Many weddings also happen at this time of year (my own wedding anniversary is May 31). Students and teachers transition from the academic year to summer break. Many families move to a new house or a new city at this time because of the break from the school year. Recent graduates may move to a new location for a job or another new adventure in life.

This week, we at Worldview Warriors are sharing some personal stories of how God works in our lives, so I thought I’d discuss some life transitions I’ve experienced. Growing up, my life was very stable, and really had no major transitions. We didn’t move anywhere (my parents still live in the same house I grew up in), we went to the same church for my entire memory, there were no deaths in our close family, and not even any births in close family, since my brother and cousins and I are all within about 4 years of each other. I went to the same school from preschool through 8th grade, but I did have a transition to a new school (though with many of the same classmates) to high school. The consistency of life as a kid was great, and I did enjoy it, but transitions are bound to happen.

I grew up in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan, so I was used to city life. When I was looking at colleges to attend, I decided on Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio. Detroit is a major metropolitan area; Ada is a town of about 2,000 residents (not counting the university students), surrounded by farming fields, with the nearest decent-sized town a 30-minute drive away. Talk about culture shock! I didn’t know a single soul at ONU or even in Ohio for that matter when I started there. But, I was excited for the new adventure - the independence of being a few hours away from home, the anticipation of earning an engineering degree, and the excitement of making new friends. I think that transition went a lot smoother for me than for my parents, who were now empty nesters and missed us kids at home, but they did alright eventually too.

The transition to college life provided me with an opportunity to experience a new church family. I had never really gone to a different type of church than the one I grew up in, and the one I attended during college was similar but yet different. It opened my eyes to the broadness of the body of Christ, and that it isn’t limited to that one place I attended growing up. The love of Christ is flourishing in many places, and that church family I had during college played a major role in my spiritual walk.

My next major transition was even crazier, and it happened about 4 years later in May 2003. I graduated from ONU with my engineering degree, got married, and moved to a new city - all within one week! The following fall I began work on my master’s degree in engineering at the University of Toledo, but a year later I discovered that wasn’t God’s plan for my life. He used that experience and our time living in Toledo to broaden my spiritual horizons even more, and to start to show me His plan for my life of serving Him. Through our church family there, God showed me that He had given me teaching and leadership skills - skills I never would have been able to realize or explore had I stayed in the church of my youth.

Four years later, my husband and I took another big step in God’s plan by moving to Findlay, Ohio, where we currently reside. Our reason? God had called me to earn my Master of Divinity degree at Winebrenner Theological Seminary there. I took a job in Findlay that turned out to be awful, but it made me appreciate my current job even more once I started at Ridge & Associates, Inc. At that time (summer 2007), we were experiencing a lot of transition - I changed jobs, we were getting settled in Findlay, we were trying to sell our house in Toledo, I was about to start seminary classes, and we knew my husband would be losing his job in a few months. This major transitional time helped us to truly lean on God and trust Him to get us through, no matter what was happening around us.

Even though I was a combination of excited and terrified going into it, I would say that my time at Winebrenner was the best experience of my life. Life was crazy with working a 40 hr/wk engineering job plus taking 10 credit hours of classes every term, but it was a wonderful sort of crazy. Even having spent my entire life in the church, I still soaked up all the knowledge I could from my classes, professors, and fellow classmates. I made great friendships that still continue to this day, and it was there that God showed me the passion and skills He blessed me with in the area of language, particularly Biblical Greek and Hebrew.

I graduated with my M.Div in 2010, and since then God has opened so many doors for me to do ministry work, most of which can be volunteer because I’m still working at my engineering job. My faith in God kept me strong through every one of these life transitions, and I remain confident that God will continue to bring me to the places and experiences where He wants me. Transition of any sort can definitely be scary, but as followers of Jesus Christ we know that God is always with us and will provide for us, according to His plan.

Psalm 14:4-6: “Do all these evildoers know nothing? They devour my people as though eating bread; they never call on the Lord. But there they are, overwhelmed with dread, for God is present in the company of the righteous. You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor, but the Lord is their refuge.”

Deuteronomy 31:6: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

1 John 4:16: “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”