Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Honest Struggle

" with any long-term companion - even a cruel one - saying good-bye is difficult."

Carol Kent wrote the above quote in reference to saying goodbye to fear.  Goodbye's are always hard.  This year already I've had to say some major goodbye's and the thought of each one still dissolves me in tears. Life sometimes seems to be made up of a series of goodbyes.

I say goodbye to my husband every morning at 5:45am as he heads off to work.  I kiss my son goodbye and send him back to University after each visit home.  I pray over my Bible study girls weekly and wave goodbye as they go their separate ways.  I pay for my groceries and say goodbye to finances.  I have a friend over for coffee and hug her goodbye when she leaves.  These are all, Lord willing, temporary goodbye's.  I pray my husband will be home for supper.  My son most likely will return at Reading Break.  Bible study is scheduled to happen again next week.  A paycheck will hopefully replace depleting funds.  I'll make plans to see my friend again.

What about permanent goodbye's?  The ones you can't change.  The ones that leave a lifetime impact.  The ones God initiates.  Not quite so easy.

I think of times when God has called me to depart.  Two specific leavings come to mind. Both times His Word was clear.

"Depart, depart, this is not your place of rest." Micah 2:10

"Depart! Depart!  Go out from there, touch no unclean thing; Go out from the midst of her.  Be clean, you who bear the vessels of the LORD." Isaiah 53:11

I can't deny the direction, but the doing has been difficult. Both called for a release.  One from complacency and one from compromise.  One from a church fellowship, the other from a close friendship. So, why do they both still bring such heartache?  Shouldn't the assurance of knowing God's will and walking in obedience bring delight?

Following the Lord isn't easy.  Heartstrings get woven into relationships and when ties are cut, frayed ends unravel often leaving our emotions threadbare.  I write as one who is speaking from experience.

Mix this with the temporary goodbye to my daddy just three months ago.  Yes, he is permanently gone from this earth, but I have the promise of eternity.  That is one goodbye that waits a glorious hello.  And, isn't that what all goodbye's do?  Goodbye's make room for new hello's.

In her Bible study "No Other Gods", Kelly Minter writes, “The real travesty is going through all the pain of a goodbye but never enjoying the fulfillment of a new hello.  There is a finality that must be faced. Yet there are some surrenders that are purely necessary for life to blossom. Certain things - and I won't name them, because you already know them in your soul - choke us, wound us, and bind us in ways that keep us from moving forward. They deserve a farewell. Still we cling because the painful familiar is often more comfortable than the foreign amazing."

Although my heart knows the above to be true, I'm struggling with letting go.  Memories hold my thoughts captive.  I'm in bondage to longings and relationships that ended before I was ready to set them free.  There had been so much much good.  Who knows...maybe these present goodbye's will return in another season.  Maybe they too are for a time.  Maybe they are part of a test for the Lord to see, will I really surrender all to follow Him?  Will I leave what I love and treasure on earth for Who I truly long to love and treasure most?  Can He ask anything of me and I will obey?

"Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also". Matthew 6:21

Lord, my heart is still clinging to what You have called me to leave.  Father, remove the desire. I still want so badly what You've required me to "depart".  Change my wants.  I hate the hold still over me.  I am doing all I can to remove myself, but it remains a daily struggle.  I can't do this.  The hurt has cemented itself to my heart.  Only You can give me strength to press on.  Heal my hurt and the ache I feel for the hurt in others my leaving caused.  It's still hard Lord, and I need Your help.  I desire more than my actions to speak obedience.  Turn my heart towards home.

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Cheri Bunch said...

This is amazing, Joy. So well said. I love this line:

"They deserve a farewell. Still we cling because the painful familiar is often more comfortable than the foreign amazing."

Your message is so powerful and ministers so deeply. Thank you for sharing. I am praying for you!
Much love,

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Powerful words, friend. Ones I need to hear today.