Thursday, December 16, 2010

So long, farewall, adeiu, aufedersein

On Wednesdays I attend a Bible study at the Episcopal church near my house. I have to admit, I started going out of desperation when we resigned from our previous church and it became incredibly awkward to continue attending the women's Bible study and MOPS group there. I wanted a group of women to be plugged in with. I think that's the only reason I went. Studying the Bible seemed secondary to me. Not because I didn't need to study the Bible, but because I just assumed I'd get plenty of that from other sources. What I wanted was female fellowship. And I figured it would be a nice group of women.

However, as He usually does, God totally schooled me and in the process humbled me. The group of women in this Bible study have proven voracious both in their hunger for the Word and in their dedication to each other. I have been awed and inspired by how these women love and support one another. I have watched in amazement as they love on newborns and weep at the loss of a child. They pray without ceasing and cook dinners. They go to 537 birthday parties during the summer and get their tax dollars out of the splash pads. They wipes noses, wipe bottoms, wipe tables and wipe eyes. We have laughed, cried, gotten angry, gotten silly, gotten real. We come from a wide range of backgrounds and denominations. We don't always agree, but we let love rule the day. These women have challenged me, grown me, taught me, encouraged me, rebuked me and always loved me. I cannot describe how special these women are to me.
It has been one of the biggest blessings of my life. And Bible study was NEVER secondary. Some weeks it was the only real Gospel I got. We are Bereans!

This last Wednesday, we had to say goodbye to one of our dear Bible study friends. She is not going HOME in the big sense, but we prayed too well, and her husband got a good job in another city. They are moving right after Christmas. Where God is taking them is such a blessing. I'm just amazed at His faithfulness and tenderness to His children. He is taking them back to where they were before, only they are not the same people. He has grown them. They will be 1 block from their favorite library, one mile from their favorite park. They will get to go to their old church with their pastor they love. And while they were anxious about finding work for awhile, God had this job prepared for them all along and in His timing. They have a beautiful house ready and it is so obviously God's orchestration. So I rejoice with my dear friend.

But I also mourn for myself and my family. We will miss them. Terribly. Her 2 girls are my boys' friends. And she is my friend. And we will miss them. When I told my oldest that they were moving, he just wept. Truly heart broken. And I cried as our Bible study said goodbye yesterday.

But I mourn for the idea that it is only the first of many goodbyes that will come over the next few months.

I'm excited to move. I'm excited to follow God on this journey. That has not always been true. I have been mad--furious! I have been sad. I have had heart rebellion and heart idols. I still have reluctance and struggles. But for the most part, I'm looking forward to this adventure.

But I'm not looking forward to goodbyes.

And I'm not looking forward to my children saying goodbye.

I have such a deeper understanding of that simple verse, "By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country;" That's really powerful to me "even though he did not know where he was going". I have never set foot in Madison. I have never lived outside of Colorado and Texas and away from family. My boys remember no home except Temple.

As I think of that, I realize: What we are doing is crazy! We have a support system here, friends, family, babysitters. We know where the best priced gas is and where to get a good hamburger. For crying out loud, they finally opened a good liquor store in Temple and we're moving!

But we are willing to be crazy if Jesus is with us. We will be fools for Him. And ultimately He is our home.

Anywhere with Jesus I can safely go,
Anywhere He leads me in this world below;
Anywhere without Him dearest joys would fade;
Anywhere with Jesus I am not afraid.

Anywhere, anywhere! Fear I cannot know;
Anywhere with Jesus I can safely go.

Anywhere with Jesus I am not alone;
Other friends may fail me, He is still my own;
Though His hand may lead me over drearest ways,
Anywhere with Jesus is a house of praise.

Anywhere, anywhere! Fear I cannot know;
Anywhere with Jesus I can safely go.

Anywhere with Jesus, over land and sea,
Telling souls in darkness of salvation free;
Ready as He summons me to go or stay,
Anywhere with Jesus when He points the way.

Anywhere, anywhere! Fear I cannot know;
Anywhere with Jesus I can safely go.

Anywhere with Jesus I can go to sleep,
When the darkening shadows round about me creep,
Knowing I shall waken nevermore to roam;
Anywhere with Jesus will be home, sweet home.

The goodbyes are worth it for Him.

And the goodbyes are not the end...

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