the essence of big love

The risk of loving big is that big goodbyes can wreck you. If you’ve lived long enough, you’ve experienced it. The reverberating pain of saying goodbye to someone you love dearly.

I’ve been to more funerals than I can count. My beloved father passed away when I was a teen, and three more people I loved completely – my husband’s mom and dad and sister, Denise, all died within a handful of years from one another.

But these are not the kinds of letting go I’m referring to. It’s the moving away from someone you’re crazy about kind of goodbye. (Or them moving away from you.) It’s the adjusting to a new season of life kind of goodbye.

This week my younger son and daughter-in-law left for new adventures in California. We’ll still get to see them, of course, but not nearly as often. I’m a sucker for “lasts.” And every last before they left felt like a paper cut on my heart. They sold their vehicle so I thought, this is the last time we’ll see them come up the driveway in that car. Silly and pointless, I know, but nonetheless, my brain continually swirled with these like-minded ruminations.

Am I the only one that struggles with change and wanting things to stay the same?

When our oldest took his first grown-up job after college graduation, and was packed and leaving our driveway for Orlando, FL, I completely lost it. I mean, the ugliest, sobbing-est cry you can imagine. We hugged hard and I didn’t want to let go. In fact, we didn’t for a long, long time. Aren’t I supposed to be the adult in these situations? Poor precious guy, I made that moment so hard on him.

The night before Collin and Jennifer left, I gave up on sleep when tears wouldn’t stop spilling on my pillow. His life was running on replay through my mind and the words below that came tumbling out could’ve been written for any one of my children, with the switching of a few lines and words.

< I delighted in you long before you were born

Before I saw your face, you were loved

I cherished your soul, the essence of you

You rolled and ran in my belly and Dad and I just shook our heads and laughed

We knew you’d give us a run for our money

And oh you did

You made us smile and you made our hearts swell, a boy of unending talents and wisdom and compassion far beyond his years

A boy that consumed each day as a sacred gift – striving, learning, discovering and achieving

A boy that grew into a strong, intelligent, caring and gracious, faith-filled man

A man who, along with his beautiful, thoughtful, priceless gift of a wife, is ready to take on the world

And change the world they will, one person and one heart at a time

My fellow prayer-warrior, no matter where you are in the world, my soul will be tethered to yours

My one heart is forever changed, because I love and adore the essence of you >

Those that God puts in our lives to love are truly what we’re here for.

In the end, when it’s all said and done, God’s love in us and the love that we, in turn, pour out for His glory is what will remain.

It’s painfully hard to let go of the past, especially when the past has filled us with immense joy. Seasons inevitably change though, even when we hold on with everything we’ve got.

BUT, new seasons are following just around the corner.

It may be time to “let go” of someone or something that has been your focus for many years. It’s difficult and you may feel empty and lost at first, but while we’re still on this earth God always has more.

I’ve been feeling him nudging me and whispering in my ear and maybe he’s doing the same to you. Do you feel and hear him? He’s asking, “Who can you invest in now? Who can you pour into today?”

Maybe your time hasn’t changed yet and you’re still fully immersed in raising the children that God has loaned you through birth or adoption. Maybe you, like me, have a couple that have left the nest, but have the wonderful blessing of one or more still at home. Maybe, your season of raising kids never came OR it has already completely passed, and God is waiting for you to take a new step.

Maybe he now wants your focus on your grandchildren or nieces, nephews or friends’ children. Maybe, he wants you to care for a teen or lonely mom or elderly man down the street who crave for someone to see and spend time with them. Maybe he wants you to get involved with the youth at church, a school tutoring or a Big Brother/Big Sister program. Or maybe … there’s a motherless child that, God already knows, would find the sweetest comfort in your arms.

The list of potentials is endless and there’s a probability that your next season may look COMPLETELY different than the last, and that God may show you passions and talents you didn’t even know you had.

Whatever it may be, there’s an enormous canyon of possibilities.

Let’s not be afraid to take that first step, out of the old and into the new. Even when it’s terribly scary and we feel we don’t have the strength or stamina, or we think we don’t have anything substantial to give. (God would disagree!) Even when pride wants to stop us from being real and when vulnerability is disquieting. Even when we know from experience that the lasts will eventually come and our first instinct is to put a wall of protection around ourselves.

Let’s pray for God to open our eyes to the relational paths he’d like us to courageously head down. Pray for him to keep us focused and intentional. Let’s dig deep, love ferociously and let the fragrance of God’s love hang in the air wherever we go.

Big love can and will wreck us at times, but the crashing of hearts is a beautiful mess that’s worth every risk.

1 John 4:7-12 “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is not love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”

Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

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