Preparing for goodbyes

I have a really hard time leaving people and places I love.  As I have been preparing my heart for this next big change, I’ve been overwhelmed by the enormity of packing our whole life into four bags and going to a new country, job, home, school and way of life far away from so many people we love.  I admit that a lot of tears have been part of this transition.

I brought this to our wonderful God and He just melted me like He always does.  He sat with me and wept with me because He understands what it’s like to be far away from loved ones.  He is far away from so many people He loves so deeply who don’t know how deeply they are loved or who don’t hear Him in their busyness.  That must grieve Him so deeply.  I am so grateful that we can look together with God toward the ultimate goal of being together with ALL our loved ones in heaven someday.

As I continued to sit with God, He overwhelmed me by two more amazing truths.

He reminded me that we are not going so far away all alone.  He is going with and will be working through us…we won’t have to do anything in our own strength!  These verses speak such beautiful and reassuring truth.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deut. 31:6 NIV)

“If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” (Psalm 139:9-10 NIV)

He is with us.

God also reminded me of all of His saints who are with us as we seek to be used by Him – the faithful people we have been privileged to know and the army of people who have committed to pray with us and partner with us financially.

This Christmas a dear friend challenged us:

“Listen to a life.  Take time, make time, to hear people’s stories.  Ask questions.  Be curious.  Try to notice where the divine is working in people’s lives.  Watch for it.  It is often subtle and quiet, a gentle whisper.  But it is there.  God is always working. Always speaking.  Listen closely, you and someone you love might just get to hear the voice of God together. Wouldn’t that be a fresh re-experiencing of the coming of Emmanuel, God with us!”

Here are some of the amazing lives we have been able to hear this last year:

  • A friend who is quitting her job for a year so she can devote her time to encouraging missionaries.
  • A prayer warrior who committed to give beyond what she thought she was able because God surprised her by telling her she could.
  • A pastor and counselor who knows Christ intimately and encourages, challenges and listens carefully to every person God brings to him.
  • The wife of a service man seeking to love her neighbors and raise her child to honor our God.
  • A wife and mother who is working full-time and aching to be home with her children….trusting God with her deep desire.
  • A friend who bought a home in a challenging part of town to join into life with his neighbors and wait for God to work in and through him.
  • A praying grandma with children and grandchildren near and far…finding ways to love each of them and encourage each of them toward growth.
  • Friends who have adopted children from overseas and are pouring their lives into them.
  • An 89 year old man who finds so much delight and joy in cutting squares of fabric to make blankets for children who need them.
  • Two friends struggling through school so they can bless others through nursing and social work.
  • A mother of two girls who is asking God to direct her as she models how to be a woman of God.
  • A nurse who brightens up her office with a sticker chart for the staff.
  • Two friends just married, hearts longing to work overseas, but waiting for God’s lead.
  • A man and his wife earnestly and creatively seeking ways to be used and be obedient to God as pastors, parents, speakers, writers and humans.
  • A friend who is patiently unsure of where God is leading and is so willing to follow wherever it is.
  • A prayer warrior couple who support, encourage and love every missionary that comes through their town.
  • A mother who is praying for her child who has chosen to not accept Christ’s love at this time.
  • Friends who are earnestly seeking how to honor God with their finances.
  • Friends who are a beautiful example of living in contentment, expectant for what God has next.
  • A missionary friend returning to the US and seeking God through all of the unknowns.
  • A teacher who daily loves her little second graders and pours her heart into them.
  • A nurse who gives financially any chance she gets…thanking God for the ability to give.
  • A friend who is purposefully entering into the lives and struggles of her coworkers.
  • And many, many more people who are willingly being used to glorify our God.

We have been overwhelmed by people’s generosity, prayers and passion for what God has called us to.

I am so grateful to God for the reassurance that we don’t go alone….none of us do.  God who is almighty and whose love is unfailing is with each of us and we are together as His team.  Whatever He has called us to, we never serve Him alone.

Thank you for reading.


7 responses to “Preparing for goodbyes

  1. Naomi,
    recently I recalled our “cousin prayer time” and your request for peace as goodbye times nears. I bless God for the ways HE is answering prayer and leading you along HIS Path! There is joy in going His way.
    A blessed last weeks!

  2. Thank you Ann! Yes, I am SO grateful to be with Him!
    Love you!

  3. What a great year of waiting it has been! Thank you for investing in our lives, for listening and participating in the WCC family, our community group, and letting us see and be involved in God’s work of preparing you two to be sent.

    • Thank you Jeff! We have just been so grateful for all of the ways WCC and our community group have welcomed us and enveloped us in support this last year. Thank you for sharing your lives withe us…it has been such a blessing to us! We will miss all of you so much!

  4. This post was recommended to me through the WordPress recommendations of related articles. I was so glad to read it. I grew up in Pakistan, daughter of missionaries and have lived overseas as an adult as well. There are those goodbyes that are best understood by those who make them frequently and live apart from that which is most familiar. I loved this post and it’s reminder that the God of the universe is with us as we say our goodbyes. My most poignant memory of a goodbye was at the age of six, going to boarding school….! So glad I found this and for the reminder of God with us.

    • Thank you Marilyn! I’m so glad to “meet” you! Wow, I can’t imagine starting the goodbye practice at the age of 6!! I was an MK in Papua New Guinea and South Africa and had to say goodbye to friends and relatives, but didn’t have to say goodbyes to my immediate family….how hard!! I was so blessed to read about your life…thank you very much for writing! I’m glad we will meet in person someday!
      In His Grace.

  5. Thank you, Naomi and Brendon, for once again encouraging me through your own musings.
    Probably we’ll be talking in the next week or so, tying up loose ends of paperwork, etc. Let me know what would be good time for you.

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