Thursday, September 22, 2011

“Every good and perfect gift is from … the Father"

… who does not change” (James 1:17, NIV)

September is a tough month for me. It marks the end of summer, our season of rest, family bonding, and adventures. It ushers in big changes such as early alarms, new teachers, colder weather, unfamiliar coaches, and a lot less “wiggle room” in the schedule! One little flip of the calendar page initiates an avalanche of events and responsibilities. But the hardest thing about September is this: saying goodbye to my kids as they set off to school for a new year. I’m reminded that each one is growing older and another year closer to her/his eventual departure. Time is ticking away, and I am forced to accept it – like it or not! My heart wants to screams, “freeze!”

Does this trouble you? Or, is it just me who’s prone to melancholy? True, I do have a hard time with goodbyes. My parents split up when I was 9 and we moved far away (half way around the world, to be precise). I never knew when I’d see my dad next. So when he finally came, I was overcome with grief, knowing that the goodbye would soon be coming. The feeling darkened the entire visit. But this is different, right? Tell me I wasn’t the only mom fighting tears at the bus stop (or the boo-hoo breakfast)!

This summer, our family took a weeklong vacation at Myrtle Beach, from Sat - Sat. We started a new tradition - taking turns listing our favorite memories. We went in a circle: “watching the sunrise on the beach, car air-conditioning after walking Broadway, the lazy river and turtle races at noon, Captain Hook putt putt, and boogie boarding on Wednesday”. Huh? “Why Wednesday?” I asked. My husband responded, “Because on Wednesday, you’ve settled in and still have lots of time before vacation is over. You’re just enjoying the moment without thinking of the end.” Yes! Perfectly said! And, my husband is the most stable person I know.

So, I know I’m not a nutcase. That’s good. But now what? What do I do with this insight? I’ve been asking God this very question. I think He’s given me His answer. God wants me to release my desperate grip on yesterday, in order to receive today and tomorrow. Release. Receive. Trust the author of every good and perfect gift to continue giving those gifts. The One who blessed me yesterday will bless me again today (and tomorrow). Our world says: “All good things must come to an end”. God says: My mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22 – 23). I’m going with God. Sad goodbyes happen. But happy hellos follow. I’m going to open my eyes to receive more good that’s coming.

Just before Labor Day, my mother-in-law passed away. It was very sad. She was an amazing person and we miss her terribly. Since then, God has shown me 2 things. One: Nothing stays the same. Our time is like sand in an hourglass and God knows the number of grains. We will all say goodbye to this world one day. Two: Since my mother-in-law was a Christian, she is now in heaven. (Thank you, Jesus.) No more tears. No more suffering. And no more goodbyes. Ever. Isn’t that the best? And it happened when she let go of this world (her yesterday) to reach out for eternity (tomorrow forever).

God is good, and He will always be good. This, James says, is a fact we can live by. So why not treasure the memories while allowing for new ones? God’s best is yet to come.

1 comment:

  1. Well put Jennifer....I too lost my father in law this year who was a MAJOR influence in my children's lives. I am comforted to know he too is in heaven. It's hard to see the kids grow up, but I am now enjoying a new chapter enjoying my "kids" as adults. Things change, but that's ok.