Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Goodbyes


I'm not so great at goodbyes.  And I am not very fond of them.  I have had plenty of practice.  I said at least six goodbyes as we moved from houses, friends, and neighbors by the time I reached Junior High. I think it may have been easier being the one leaving. Now I am on the other end as the one staying.  Staying on this side of heaven.  Staying in my city.  Staying at our church.  So many goodbyes.  

I wonder if I could be better at this?  I don't think I'll ever like them. Maybe I can think a little more like Winnie the Pooh though.  Ponder how grateful I am to have someone that makes saying goodbye so difficult. The answer for sure is not isolation, to run from ever having to say goodbye again. Though the thought has crossed my mind.

There has to be an antidote to the sadness of saying goodbye. I wonder if Pooh bear actually was right?  Maybe being thankful will take the sting away. I am beyond grateful that I had my mom for so many years, thankful that she created fond memories with my kids.  Thankful for her legacy and her prayers.  I am so glad to have worshiped and served with many military families at our church.  Thankful for their insights in bible studies and sweet conversations. How wonderful my life has been because of these fleeting friends.

I took a pause in this blog.  I started this yesterday and decided to walk away and  pray.  I asked God what was going on in my heart.  Have you ever felt something and didn't quite understand what was going on? What God was showing you?

This morning I woke up and I think God is showing me something about regret.  When someone leaves, we can start playing the regret game.  You know the one.  It's not a very fun game.  All the "if only"'s are drawn from the deck of regrets.  One of my life goals is to live life without regrets.  Pretty sure that is not possible! God definitely is growing me in this area as I desire to please Him above all others.  And that is a life without regrets.

So I am working on a new game. When I have to say goodbye, I will have two decks (not literal, who has time for that, virtual if you will...)  One deck will be thankful cards: I will consider all the ways I can be thankful for that person or family.  And the other deck (that I may actually make...) God's Word: Scriptures that set my eyes on Jesus, not the "if only"'s. My regrets are the enemy's way of distracting me from pressing on and going towards my goal of living a life pleasing God, one without regret.

So back to goodbyes.  Can we say goodbye without feeling any regret? (I should have taken more pictures, I should have spent more time, If only I had....) I really just don't know.  I do know that we can choose what thoughts to entertain. Forgetting what lies behind (those things that entangle us - like regrets), and strain forward to what lies ahead (gratitude, good memories, all we have in God Himself). As we say goodbye let's fill our hearts with thankfulness.  The more we can pour in, the more the regrets get pushed out.  And maybe the sting won't be so deep. Goodbyes are here to stay until Jesus returns, I guess we'd better figure out how to do them well.

Here are some verses we can add to our new way of saying goodbye:

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (notice it says give thanks "in" all circumstances, not "for" all...hmmmmm)

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Psalm 34:4-5 I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.

1 comment:

  1. Once, when I felt as you do, I stopped and made a list of the top five things I wanted in life. After the top one of knowing God, the next was making sure everyone I loved knew I loved them. I started writing letters, giving attention, taking time with those I loved whenever they had time for me. It is like living in "good-bye" and it makes the actual parting so much easier!

    ReplyDelete