As I watched our daughters (8 and 11) cling to their brother (20) and beg him not to leave them, I hurt not only for our girls, but for the agonizing pain this plea caused our son. I watched as my mom displayed a calm and lightness that I knew belied her shattered heart--a parallel of my own feelings and my own external behavior. I wondered, "Will this saying goodbye ever get any easier?"
After the door closed and Eric headed for the airport with my mom and Teyler, I climbed back in bed and was talking to God, telling him of my pain and my trust in Him to comfort me. And then I heard Noelle's (8) soft whimpering. There she was, curled beside Katie (11), both of them clearly distressed. I sighed, I guess I would have to put my own feelings on the back burner and tend to theirs. It ended up being a good teaching moment to discuss how there is NOTHING that would ever cause us to make this decision to be separated from our family except our desire to follow Jesus. It was interesting to see their ability to grasp this, and surprising, the comfort this knowledge provided. So, today, we all feel a bit raw and a profound painful absence.
Noelle (8 years old), with her loss glistening in her tear-filled eyes, just requested, "Mommy, let's go to the beach today." I think that's a good idea. The solitude and beauty of the ocean is a healing place. It reminds us of the shelter we have in Jesus' arms.
Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than
For you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the foe.
I long to dwell in your tent forever
and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.