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Stewarding Life Transitions By Dr. Zenet Maramara

Understand Transitions and Learn How to Embrace Them

Life transitions are inevitable, encompassing shifts in relationships, careers, health, living arrangements, and personal identity. Whether anticipated or sudden, like the loss of a loved one or unexpected illness, these transitions demand adjustment to new circumstances, roles, and responsibilities. Emotions such as excitement, anxiety, grief, and hope accompany these changes. Seeking support from friends, family, or professionals can aid in navigating these transitions. The Church also needs to provide space and assistance to those experiencing transitions.

Liminal Space

Liminal space is often closely associated with transitions, representing the period of ambiguity and transformation between one state or identity and another. During these times, individuals or groups may enter a liminal space where the old ways of being no longer apply, but the new state has not yet fully emerged. This in-between state can be characterized by uncertainty, discomfort, and disorientation as people navigate the unknown.

Anthropologists refer to liminality (from Latin ‘a threshold’), the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle of a rite of passage. This is when participants no longer hold their re-ritual status but have not yet begun transitioning to the status they will hold when the rite is complete. During this liminal phase, participants “stand at the threshold” between the previous way of structuring their identity, time, and community and the new way (the rite of passage). This phase may evoke uncertainty, discomfort, and disorientation. However, it also presents opportunities for growth, self-reflection, and redefinition. Embracing liminality fosters resilience, adaptability, and self-understanding.

Biblical Context

In the Bible, there are several instances where liminality or transitions are depicted. One notable example is the Israelites’ journey from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the Promised Land, as described in the book of Exodus. During this journey, they experienced a liminal period in the wilderness, where they were neither in Egypt nor the Promised Land. Still, they were undergoing a profound transition and transformation as a nation. The New Testament often portrays moments of transition or liminality, such as Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River, which marked the beginning of his public ministry. Another example is the period between Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, representing a liminal space of uncertainty and waiting for his followers.

The Theology

In theology, liminal space is between what was and will be. It is crucial for ongoing Christian formation. Thomas J. Rundel cites three liminal themes in the Bible that prepare us for our mission—the wilderness, the grave, and the pilgrimage. The wilderness is the liminal space. Together, all three phases form a narrative. He says that,

” The narrative of the spirituality in the Bible, a way that God changes us and prepares us for mission re-embracing liminality as a significant narrative spirituality of the Bible, we create hospitality toward those within liminality, which should lead the church to increase education on the purpose and process of liminality.”

Thomas J. Rundel, Liminal Spaces: A Narrative Spirituality of the Bible (2015)

Faith Required

Throughout Scripture, these moments of transition are often accompanied by challenges, growth, and the need for faith and trust in God’s guidance. They serve as reminders of the importance of perseverance and reliance on God during times of uncertainty and change. Transforming grace can be found in these in-between spaces. God’s apparent hiddenness can be an opportunity to see him in a new light.

Steward Transitions

To steward life change effectively, apply these practices:

  • Embrace Ambiguity

Trust that God is at work during liminal periods, guiding your journey toward a new phase. Stay close to Him, listening for His guidance and praying for His will to be revealed.

  • Hold onto Hope

Recognize that God has your best interests at heart, finding strength and courage in His unfailing love. Place your hope in Him, knowing He will make a way even in the wilderness. The LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love (Psalm 147:11). Hope in the Lord, be strong and take heart.

  • Seek the Support

Look to family, friends, and the Body of Christ for support.

By embracing change with faith and hope, individuals can navigate life transitions with resilience and emerge stronger on the other side.


Dr. Zenet Maramara is the founder and president of the Christian Stewardship Association, Philippines. CSA multiples faithful and generous stewards by promoting biblical stewardship, giving, and generosity. She serves as chair of the Global Trust Partners. She was a professor of biblical stewardship at the Asian Theological Seminary in Manila.

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