Tuesday, August 23, 2011

T-shirt idea: Goodbyes Stink.

Tell me how to fill the space you've left behind...how to laugh instead of cry...tell me why does following my dreams take me far away from you...how to say goodbye. -Michael W. Smith

I don't like change. And I don't like goodbyes.
I officially live ~3.5 hours from everything and everyone I've ever known. I love my apartment, and when the boxes are empty, I'll post pictures. But for now, on a daily basis (more or less) I want to jump in my car and drive north-east to familiar. To safe. To comfortable. To secure.To home.
Following Christ is none of those things...it is neither safe, nor familiar, nor comfortable. It is secure, and He is home. And where He calls I will go, because I desperately don't want to miss out on what He is doing and where He is doing it. However, tonight...tonight is one of those put on the sad music and be very present in your emotion kind of nights. For tomorrow I "turn it off" and begin grad. school...at 8am...and I become professional and strong, excited about my career and future.
I'm ready to be back into a routine, but it's hard when the people and places that you want most in that routine are not there. The girls in my department are very kind and seem friendly, and I know that soon they will become like family, but there is forever a Fort Wayne/ABA therapy/ IPFW/CSD 2011 sized hole in my heart. My apartment is flooded with pictures of the faces that fill these holes...faces that mean so much.
Will this go away? Probably, for the most part. I don't want to have to have it all completely go away, but I'm know my heart will grow to love this place...or at least the people here.
But as for now...

Well said, Michael Scott.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Blessed be the Tie that binds

Northpoint had a going away service for me today. I can't think of a better way to leave than this.
Service was normal, however, cut short. They had a special prayer time for me, and then the congregation gathered in a circle around the sanctuary, joined hands, and Pastor Tom led us in all 4 verses, a capella, of "Blessed be the Tie that binds." I had told him before service started that whatever happened, he wasn't allowed to make me cry. And I did do well through the first three verses. But here is what caught me up:

When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart,
And hope to meet again.

Tom Bussen, a friend, confidant, and "rough time give-er" of the worship team stood to my left, and soon after the song started, he grabbed my hand. When we sang this verse, I couldn't stop the tears from coming, and I stood there and silently wept while he squeezed my hand. Pastor Tom pointed to me (which, I never realized he had such a wonderful voice) when we/they sang "but we shall still be joined in heart". I wept. Leaving family. Leaving the most wonderful group of people I have ever been privileged to surround myself with.
After the song, Tom B. and I were both in tears, and he reached over and hugged me for quite some time. Pastor Tom had me stand by the back door to the sanctuary, and as almost every person left, I was greeted with a warm hug, (even from those I didn't know so well) and so many well wishes and words of affirmation, thanks, and love. Some goodbyes were harder than others...Tom, Nanci Strahm (our worship leader's wife), the youth group kiddos, Janell MacIntosh, and of course Pastor Tom. I got to tell him goodbye last, once the sanctuary had emptied out, and he said nothing; he only hugged me and we stood there for quite some time. I, of course, wept, and when he pulled back, his eyes looked somewhat watered too.
I've never felt so loved, or like such a part of the body. Friends offered to come visit, made me promise to not delete my facebook, and promised to call often. I know that I will visit, and the reunions will be sweet, but for now the leaving is hard.
I must say that, in all of this, I am so blessed  to have been led to such a wonderful body, a family, of believers; true representations of the boundless and joyful love of Christ. Its wonderful to be loved, and to love these people. So while the tears fall and it hurts to move, it's even better to know that I'm not going alone. That I am surrounded by such a truly great cloud of witnesses.
It's rained all day which hasn't helped to lift my spirits, and tomorrow begins a week of goodbyes and see-you-later-s to clients, my wonderful babysitting kiddos, and everything I've called home and certain for the last 4 years. I talked with a friend this weekend over coffee, and she talked about saying goodbye as a part of  the grieving process. I'm not sure I'm quite ready to go through it this many times in one week. But where He leads I will go and where He leads He will provide. As for today, my heart is rejoicefully heavy and I so I've embraced today as a day of healing and really preparing my heart for what's next. It doesn't quite help the packing process, but Friday will come and I will be ready, because God is faithful.