Thursday, June 17, 2010


I've spent most of my life dreading change. I like my life predictable, comfortable, and sane. None of this globetrotting, job-changing, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pantsing for me. In fact, I was such a homebody when I was younger that I didn't even like sleepovers. I remember several slumber parties where partway through the night I just wanted to go home. No tears, no gnashing of teeth, just the simple truth: I would like to go home now. The hosts called my parents and I went to sleep in my own bed.

Wow, God has a way of upending our lives, doesn't he? I don't dread change anymore, but not because I've learned to accept it. I tolerate, no, I anticipate change now because I've been forced time and time again to face my biggest fears.

Here are a few of the trials by fire that have slowly shifted my perspective:

  • I married a pastor. Something I swore I would never do. Best thing that ever happened to me.
  • I moved to another country. Something I was sure would break my heart in two. I loved it.
  • I quit my full time job to be a full time mom. Something I thought would drive me insane. Nothing prepared me for the indescribable joy and challenge of being the center of a little one's universe.
  • I lost four babies. Something that nearly did break me in two. But it opened my eyes to grace, surrender, and ultimately peace in the knowledge that what God has planned for me is infinitely better than what I have planned for myself.
  • I adopted a baby from Ethiopia. Something I always wanted to do, but never fully understood until the day the case worker told me, "We can't guarantee that your child won't be sick. We can't even guarantee that he won't have HIV." In that moment I realized that it didn't matter. AIDS baby or healthy little boy, he was my son. And now, almost four years later, my gorgeous, healthy son is still one of God's greatest reminders to me of his faithfulness.
Guess what? These days, I don't just anticipate change. I think I love it. It means that God is actively working, that my life isn't standing still. It's like turning a new corner and peering around the bend to see what awaits just out of sight. How exciting is that? Scary, yes. But scary in a roller coaster, thrilling sort of way. It makes me want to close my eyes and feel the wind on my face.

The last few weeks/months have been full of change for the Baart family. Since I consider you my friends, I'd like to share a bit of what's been going on with us.
  • Probably the biggest change we are experiencing right now is that my husband is no longer a full time pastor in a church. A couple weeks ago he accepted the position of Dean of the Chapel at an amazing, liberal arts college in the midwest. Though we don't have to move, this is a huge change for our family. It was such a tough decision, but we have utter peace with it and we are eager to see what God has in store.
  • We have a baby on the way! I saw my peri yesterday and we've set a tentative induction date for my due date: July 15. Though I don't really want to be induced, we don't have much of a choice... I live over an hour away from the hospital, and my delivery with Isaac was only 20 minutes. You do the math! Aaron is not impressed with the idea of delivering a baby on the side of the road. Also, I need to stop my lovely blood-thinning injections at least 24-48 hours before I go into labor. The only way to ensure that I do that is to know when I'm going into labor. So... the official countdown begins. :)
  • This isn't necessarily a change, but it was a life-altering scare. Several weeks ago Aaron discovered a lump on his tongue. An oral surgeon decided it needed to be removed immediately, and shared with us the possibility that it could be malignant. Almost one-week post surgery, we are so relieved to know that everything looks okay and Aaron should make a full recovery. Right now he's still in a lot of pain, and it's difficult for him to talk, but hey--I'm not going to complain! I'll take slurred words and repeated requests for milkshakes over meetings with an oncologist any day.
Yikes. I didn't mean for this post to be so long... Seems like I have lots to say this morning. Anyway, thank you for letting me share a bit of my life with you. I'd love to hear what's going on with you! Are you afraid of change? Or do you embrace each unexpected curve in the road? Have you faced any trials by fire that proved to be an agent of change in your life? Are you facing any big changes yourself these days? Take a moment to comment. I'd love to say a prayer for you.


  1. I've been thinking a lot about change too - and how it is almost always met with resistance. I am so glad that God has turned my world upside down a few times so that I can trust Him more and embrace change more easily than in the past. If we are too busy clinging to what we have now, we will never be able to see the better things in store for us just around the bend. I feel so blessed when I begin to count what I would have missed out on if life had gone according to my plan :)
    I'm excited for your recent changes (well, the first 2 and the hope in the 3rd) Whenever I think of your family lately, my heart is put at ease knowing that you are experiencing the peace that comes with obeying God's will
    Didn't mean to write an essay in response to your post, you've been on my mind a lot lately and it seems you read my mind today.

  2. I, too, have learned to embrace change in many areas of my life. Frequent moves, due to the nature of my husband's job as an aerospace engineer, have been the most obvious agents of change for me. But right now I am awaiting possible change that provokes the deepest fear in me. We recently moved from Virginia to Alabama, as my husband got a promotion. Things were really looking up, but as I type this my husband sits in a meeting made up of NASA employees and contracters. He is waiting to find out if he will be laid off. Cuts to NASA's Constellation and Aries programs have prompted the loss of many NASA jobs.

    Please pray for us. I am in tears and so afraid right now...

  3. I hate change...always have. I was the same way with sleepovers :-) I've always been a highly anxious person and just the other day I said to my husband that having a baby is both the worst and best thing for my anxiety about things I can't control. Little by little I've started to adopt the "fly by the seat of my pants" world I now live in. I'm getting better.

    The big change we've been dealing with lately has been my husband's unemployment. Going from two incomes to one (I work as a grantwriter/fundraiser for a local non-profit, so I'm not rolling in dough) has been a big change. Add two kids to the mix (2 years old and 13 years old) and it's definitely a challenge. We're doing our best.

    Didn't mean to ramble!

  4. Thanks for the words of encouragement, Rachel. And especially for your affirmation of our recent decision. It was SO hard for us, I can't even begin to describe... But we do have peace, and I know that God will bless our family and our church family, too. After all, it is HIS church.

    Sherry, I'm definitely praying for you. So sorry for the fear and uncertainty you are facing right now! I could spout trite answers in your direction, but sometimes I think we just need another person to acknowledge that what we are going through sucks. It sucks. I'm so sorry.

  5. Tracy, you didn't ramble (and I'm sorry I missed you in my earlier post--for some reason your comment wasn't coming through). Anyway, I applaud you for doing your best in a situation that seems far from ideal. I can't believe how many people are facing such scary changes in their careers/source of income. Speaking of change... it seems the whole world is changing. Is it just me or was life easier five years ago? Here's to the promise that no matter what we face we are held in His grip.

  6. Nicole--

    Thank you so very much for your prayers! Right before I read your post this morning, I had been on my knees. Reading your words that encouraged hope in times of change helped me lift my face out of the dirt and toward God. Sometimes I just need a reminder that no matter my situation, my Father is holding me up. And often the best encouragers are those that have just taken a swim through the bog of contingency and are drying off on the other side. Thank you for sharing how God has blessed you and your family through change.

    The good news for now is that there is no news yet regarding my husband's job status. We will just continue to pray for all of those that will lose their jobs. And if we're not on the chopping block, I just pray that God shows me how I might be a blessing to those who are.

    Next week, I hope I can just bop onto your blog and post a comment about the weather. :) Sorry about the heavy nature of today's comments...

  7. I learned of Aaron's new position the other day. Every now & then I've wondered what I'd do without him as a direct spiritual influence -- of course thinking dude, if it took until I was 26, how long will it be until the next awesomeness? Until I read your post I didn't realize that when I heard about it I was neither sad nor disappointed. I was totally stoked for him and for all of you! It's such a perfect, obvious fit and something for which Aaron obviously has a passion and talent. I've actually talked to a few kids @ Augustana who had heard of him in some way. Pretty cool, no?

    To answer your question about how I deal with's funny. Despite the facet of me that struggles with anxiety I dig change; always have. My sophomore year I transferred from a Christian school with 62 students K-12 to a public high school school with 1000 students. I loved it. If I don't have some type of change every so often, even something small, I get restless.

    Huge life changes with unknowns that affect my kids are a little more difficult. Moving from Oregon to Iowa was an easier decision than the one I'll face when I graduate college. Not knowing how or if I'll be able to take care of them post-divorce worries me on the good days and terrifies me on the bad.

    [/end novella]

    - Lin

  8. As a teacher I was always an organized, detail oriented person. I liked structure and predictability. I learned to deal with the unknowns in the classroom; however, in life, I still liked my predictability.

    Six years ago that changed. While undergoing my third surgery for endometriosis in hopes of getting pregnant, my lab work raised flags. Six weeks later after numerous tests and a bone marrow biopsy I was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder. With the blessing of numerous specialists including a high risk OB I was soon pregnant, we were ecstatic until week 13. Our world turned upside down, I began a 17 month fight for my life. At times I defied the odds with dangerously low blood counts I fought to carry my precious cargo. Our daughter arrived six weeks early and spent several weeks in NICU before being dismissed. This was a God thing as I ended up re-hospitalized fighting for my life, just one floor away from my daughter. My battle continued resulting in major surgery just three months later and the difficult decision to have my tubes tied when she was six months old. Our doctors told me that I would not survive another pregnancy and it was a miracle that I survived this one.

    I enjoyed a remission status for my blood disorder and life was good. Then God threw in more twists, our daughter developed health problems, my husband changed jobs and we moved away from our family, church, friends and support. In God’s goodness He continued to bless us. The job change has been wonderful, we are developing friends and have a great church home. In addition, our new doctors have been amazing.

    I would love to say that we are all healthy and well, we aren’t. My daughter has six specialists and sadly to say, I have an emergency bag that is always packed because I never know when the next ER trip or hospitalization is going to happen. I have a bag full of meds, inhalers, etc. that goes along wherever she does, because we never know.

    I have learned, the hard way. That God is in control, His ways are not my ways. It is only when I fully surrender to God that I am able to be blessed by Him in the good, the bad and the ugly. Some days my prayer is “I cast all of my cares upon you, I lay all of my burdens, down at your feet, and any time, I don’t know, what to do. I cast all my cares upon you.” When I try to go it alone, I’m sunk, when I go it with God at my side, the unknowns are able to be blessings through pain and heartache, God uses each moment, each trial, each change to show me just one more piece of His amazing plan.

  9. Sherry, never apologize for "heavy" comments. Some days (weeks, months, years?) are just like that, and it makes me so sad when instead of living transparently we paste on a happy face and say everything is fine. It's okay if it's not. That's what the body of Christ is for. Anyway, I'm glad that there's no news. ;) Will keep praying...

    Lin, thanks for your well-wishes. It was SUCH a tough decision... but the right one for us and for Bridge, I believe. And thanks for sharing a bit of yourself. I know you've had such a hard road, and I'm sorry for all you've had to face. You're a beautiful and brilliant, and I have no doubt that your humor and grace will continue to smooth your way through all the changes that are yet to come. Life is never stagnant, is it? Would love to do coffee sometime if you're up for it...

    Carmen, I never knew your whole story. Yikes. What a road you and your family have traveled! Your life is a testimony. Keeping you in our prayers...

  10. I'm very excited for your new life experiences! If you want a doula I think I'm around mid-July. smiles.

  11. When my Nana and Poppop sold their home - my dream home - to a family from Florida I just couldn't get over it, and still have issues with it today. I hear about how awful they've kept the yard and the runway, there's junk all in the driveway, and my parents and grandparents say the inside is just a mess and unrecognizable, it makes me cringe. All I can think about is one day buying the place back and giving it the treatment I think it deserves. Even though the house was legally sold and bought, it feels like an intrusion, which isn't my right to feel because it wasn't my house, but I have issues with dealing with the change. I know that's foolish. Some changes I care about more than others. I feel like I should see change as an adventure, but I also fear it, which - again - I know is foolish. I just have to learn to adapt, which turns out is really hard.