"For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling; I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living." Psalm 116:8&9

Monday, December 12, 2011

Saying Goodbye

“Saying goodbye, why is it sad? Makes us remember the good times we’ve had.” - from The Muppets Take Manhattan

This month seems to be a month of saying goodbye. Already, I’ve had to say goodbye to two of my closest friends as they have moved away. And on Friday, I’ll say goodbye to another.

These aren’t just basic friends. These are people who have touched my life in a deep, sweet way. In fact, it seems shallow to call them friends – they aren’t friends any more. They’re family.

These are the friends that have been there for all of the big moments of my adulthood. We all had children at the same time and we figured out how to raise them (…not kill them) together. These are the friends who visit you in the hospital when you have a baby, come to all of your kids’ birthday parties (even when the Cowboys are playing), help you stay sane when your kid is up all night for weeks and celebrate every silly milestone you have as a parent.

These are the friends who study the Bible with you, pray with you, encourage you with the truth of Scripture and hold you accountable (even in messy, painful situations). They point you to Jesus – over and over again.

These are the friends who walk through the most painful situations of your life with you. They keep your kids for days while your husband is dying in the hospital, cry with you and pray with you in the middle of the night, celebrate all of those awkward and painful “first” holidays and anniversaries with you, sit with you while your child is in surgery, come home early from Christmas with their families when the doctor tells you your son has cancer and celebrate like crazy when the doctor calls back and says a mistake was made – there is no cancer.

These are the friends whose husbands love your family so much they agree to coach your kid’s soccer team, teach your son how to ride a bike, sell your car to protect you from creepy strangers, manage contractors so you don’t get taken advantage of and dress up in silly costumes so a bunch of five-year-old “super heroes” can attack them at a birthday party.

These are the people that God puts in your life to give you a glimpse of what His love for you is like.

This month I have to say goodbye to these special friends. And it is so sad. But with the tears that come with saying goodbye there is also overwhelming gratitude. I am so thankful for each precious moment God allowed me to share with them. I am thankful for how they have taught me and shaped me through all of the good and bad moments we have faced together. And above all, I am thankful that God loves and cares for me so much that He gave me these friends to share life with.

So, we say goodbye. We know that distance may separate bodies but it cannot separate hearts. We trust that God will provide new friends to encourage us and walk with us in this next stage of life. And we say “thank you” for the gift of friendship.

“Somehow I know we’ll meet again. Not sure quite where and I don’t know just when. You’re in my heart, so until then - it’s time for saying goodbye.”