“I don’t want to miss you.”
My little guy looks at me with his gorgeous baby blues, and I see the tears behind them. This is so hard for him, this going to school thing. Every morning it’s the same routine: The bus arrives, he starts to cry, we walk him to the door and gently help him on. I give him my best forced-mommy-smile, but this kid can tell when things aren’t real. And try as I might, I can’t make the ‘letting go’ an easy process. Because it’s just not. Saying goodbye to our people… to the ones who make life so precious and full, it’s a hard fact of life no one looks forward to, especially when the goodbyes come in multiples.
For some reason Jesus has led my family into this strange, unwanted season. It’s a season of farewells. A season of letting go and living with open hands. And at the very forefront of it all was my hardest goodbye. Almost two months to the date, I can still feel myself there. And I can still see her face…
August 27th, we’re at the airport checking in the six billion crates full of personal belongings needed for moving overseas. My cute nieces are playing in their stroller, unaware of the changes headed their way. I kiss their foreheads and feel their soft baby skin. Would they remember me two years from now? As my brother-in-law checks in the last bag, my heart begins to pound…
This was it. The long wait was finally over.
My entire family painfully anticipated this move for five years, secretly hoping it wouldn’t happen. We wanted them to pursue their dreams, but wished it didn’t mean living so incredibly far away, let alone on another continent.
Throughout my childhood and early adult years nobody lived farther than a few hours apart. Driving to get a much-needed hug was never out of the question. Graduations, showers, weddings, babies, birthdays, holidays… All of it was celebrated, each equally important. It wasn’t until I moved out of my home and started adult-ing that I realized my family was a rare breed. We did life in all-out love, we did it genuinely, and we did it together. That’s what made this loss so raw and real. We were grieving the loss of the familiar while reluctantly accepting the new normal. Part of my heart was leaving with her, and now it was my turn to say goodbye.
I looked at my sister, my first friend and best friend. Me being an emotional basket case, I knew I was going to lose it, and I did. We both did. In that airport full of suitcases and total strangers I cried some of the hardest tears I’ve ever cried. Somewhere in between the sobbing and hugging, I was barely able to squeeze out the words… “I’m going to miss you, Em.”
I looked back once as I walked away, that’s all I could do. I felt confusion and sadness and sudden frustration. I knew He was there, witnessing all the heartache and pain, but I didn’t understand why it had to be this way. Why did loving someone so much have to hurt this badly? And why did she have to go?
Through the hot tears I looked heavenward and pointed towards the Maker and Sustainer of all things. And I asked Him my question.
“Do You promise to work this for good, God? Because You better believe I’m holding You to it.”
His answer was quick and tender, even though my words were short and cold.
Daughter, I never write unredeemed endings.
Never… Like not once? I stood still, listening to His voice as He replayed examples in my mind of His faithfulness throughout my life. I wanted to rebuttal, but I couldn’t. He had always come through for me no matter what. Maybe not in the ways I had expected, but He came through nonetheless. And something began to stir…
If endings usher in a new beginnings, and then this was mine. I could begin to rely on my Jesus in a new way, trusting Him to fill the void of sisterhood that was lost. He could redeem, and now I was choosing to believe He would. For me, for her, for us all. God’s redemption is a personal matter, and He extends that gift to all.
So let me just ask you right now, Dear Reader… How are you feeling? Is your spirit heavy like mine? Does your heart ache with the weight of the world?
Because God meets us in our pain, but He also reaches past it. Somehow by His grace He takes any situation, in any season, and calls forth beauty from the mess. He never leaves anything unfinished or broken, even if it seems impossible. I know it’s hard to see given the current circumstances, but God is in the business of making things new and that certainly includes your story. Nothing is wasted in His kingdom, especially the tears of His beloved. Your hurt matters to Him, and surely goodness will come from it.
My hardest goodbye hasn’t been redeemed yet, but it will. I’m not sure how, but I’m choosing to enter His Promised Land regardless. In this sacred place we rely on God’s ability to fulfill His promises and mend torn hearts. We live in hopeful expectation because redemption confidently reigns. Like the heroes of the Bible, as we journey forward in faith, God calls us strong and courageous and wonderfully brave. Bless it… Even more so on the hard days!
Remember, you are God’s child. He sees you and knows you. If ever you question His heart towards you or His desire to heal your pain, think about all He’s done to bring you home… He couldn’t stand to be apart from you. He couldn’t contain His love. And so He didn’t.
Sweet friend, YOU are His reason… With Him there is no farewell season.
He didn’t want to miss you.
Never could He leave you.
And know He never will.