Grace for Goodbye

“Can I come by for a few minutes?”
“What is it?” she asked as I entered her house.
Tears brimmed in my eyes, I hugged her, and stepped back. “We’re moving.”

In our almost 29 years of marriage, Terrell and I have moved six times, each related to a job change. First, God gets our attention to reflect upon the present. Then, he stirs our heart to consider what he possibly has next for us. Last, he shepherds our steps and heart as he brings the current season to a close.

In recent weeks Terrell and I have cherished time with friends in Houston, saying goodbye. We’ll stay in touch and hopefully see each other again, but our sacred season together to plant a church has ended. My heart is sad. It’s hard to say goodbye. Underneath each goodbye is the history of that relationship and significant shared experiences.

The beauty of the sad goodbye is the treasured story that led up to it.

God reigns over our stories. Line by line, we live them. Each relationship is a story. Each event, milestone, revelation, and challenge is a story. Some stories develop over years. Others are short in time, yet long in depth.

So, have you or your child experienced an end to a story recently—involving a job, relationship, school, or perhaps a move like me? It’s never too late to mark its end, in the warm light of God’s love.

Marking an end helps us say goodbye—to a place, a rhythm, a plan, and perhaps to people we’ve grown to love.

Marking an end creates space to celebrate God’s goodness—his faithful provision of all that we need and more, his insights to our self and insights to Him, new relationships that wouldn’t exist if not for the sovereignty of how God intersects lives, his patience, mercy, and amazing grace.

Marking an end helps us ready for the new beginning that God has in store.

When I mark an end, I spend time alone to reflect. I spend time with the people with whom I lived the story. We reminisce, laugh, share our hearts, and maybe cry. Especially, I thank God for giving me this time, for all that he did in it and in me. And then I commit it all to him.

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.” (Isaiah 26.3-4)

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