Departures and Arrivals

Leaving hurts. Even if what you’re going to is exactly where you want to be, it still hurts to leave (insert person, place, or thing here) behind. Yesterday, I had to leave my beautiful daughter and her family behind in Denmark and make my way back to Kentucky and home. Home is where I need to be, and I was excited to come home. But it hurt so badly to leave them standing on the other side of airport security, the baby sleeping in his daddy’s arms with his quilt wrapped around him.

Knowing when to leave. It’s a valuable skill. I went to be a help to my daughter with her new baby. I cooked meals and cleaned the kitchen, helped with laundry, and took care of the baby so she could sleep some. I cherished the time we had together, talking and sharing the “how to” information every new momma needs from her own mother. Precious time. But I couldn’t stay forever (even though I could’ve rocked that baby at least another month!) She is already a great mother, and I needed to come home so she can get on with raising her child.

Jesus knew it was time to leave. He had been walking with his disciples every day, dust collecting in their sandals. They had been learning “how to” bring God’s kingdom here on earth… “How to” live without him all along and hadn’t realized it. When the time came for Jesus to return to his Father, it was painful for those left behind. Jesus said himself in John 16:7, “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper [Holy Spirit] will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.”

Hindsight is always so much clearer. Jesus knew his friends and followers were too dependent on his physical person, but they didn’t know it. They didn’t know how strong they were, or how much they had learned until Jesus was gone, and they had to put into practice everything he had told them. And I think it hurt Jesus to leave them, too. After all, he had poured himself into them… Spent every day with them… Shared every meal, laughed and cried with them… But it was time for him to go Home.

I’m thankful Jesus left the Holy Spirit here with us, our comforter, our helper. And I’m thankful for technology! Skype and other smart phone apps allow me to talk to my daughter, see her face and watch that baby grow. It helps take the sting out of having to leave.

I have a Carol King song in my head this morning. “Where you lead, I will follow. Anywhere that you tell me to.”

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All I Can Do

As she prepares to get on the bus with the rest of the recruits, I stand in the pre-dawn light, pain gripping my heart. There aren’t enough tissues in the world (or my purse) to catch my grief as it slides down my face. How will I ever let her go?? She’s my only daughter! What if she never comes back????

I come awake still feeling that adrenaline rush of pain and sorrow, taking a moment to realize that it was only a dream. One that is still with me. No, my daughter did not join the military, though she did get married and move to another country. And obviously I miss her and, on some level, worry that she will never return. I know that she’s living her life… The one she’s chosen, that she feels God has called her to, and I’m proud of her for that. Her’s is the joy in the middle of my pain.

Funny that I was having such a painful, emotional dream but woke up with a Mikeschair song, All I Can Do (Thank You) in my head… A song of thanks and praise. Listen here.

All I can do is thank You
For this life I never deserved
Wanna thank You for the grace
I know I don’t have to earn
You love me, You love me
Your mercy is proof
All I can do is say thank You
All I can do is say thank You

I’m thankful God woke me up with this song this morning. He’s ever teaching me to be thankful in the middle of whatever is going on in my life. I don’t deserve this crazy, wonderful life I have, but I am so very grateful for it. I am thankful for His grace and mercy that I don’t have to earn. God loves me. Period. And I know there’s nothing I can do to make Him love me more or less.

I’m so thankful that I live in an age of Skype, Viber, Facebook, texting, and so much more. Though Sharon lives so far away, we can talk any time, or text any time. She’s expecting her first baby this Fall. Another reason for joy in our lives. My little Skype grandchild! And all I can do is say, “THANK YOU!!!”