(Photo credit to Kiana – Easter morning)
My husband celebrated his April 15th birthday with a record-breaking blizzard. Or rather, he celebrated with news of a blizzard, while we endured our own frigid temps watching soccer in Kansas – 80 and delightful the day we arrived, and 30’s and horrid the day we left, and I guess it’s the way of things when you live in the Midwest. Last week’s melee faded already to the status of a bad dream in light of real SPRING finally arriving, and we’re a bit like Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas Day.
My mom emotions this week are a bit like the weather, which is to say, all over the place. I’m blaming Aaron. Our worship pastor, dearly loved, out of the blue announcing he’s moving back home to Alabama, claiming it’s not the fault of the weather. Claiming it’s God calling him back, and who can argue with THAT?
It happened on Tuesday. Our staff gathered for an all-day meeting, breaking for lunch. Me, not surprised, when during dessert Greg gets up to talk about Luke. How Luke’s served so well these past two years, and now he’s heading back to Colorado, and then moving to Iowa, and the whole time I’m thinking, I’m handling this nicely. I’ve been here and done this – this letting go and sending off. It’s part of adulting, and the boy is ready. My second-born kid, with all his fast-talking, and deep-thinking, and soul-rooted love. And it’s time. Time for the boy to fly wild and free, the way the Lord made him, a beautiful future, adventures awaiting. And I know I can do this. I’m handling this fine.
Fine until Aaron. Fine until they say there are others leaving, and then the tears take over and I tell my friends at the table – I don’t like surprises – but what I really don’t like is saying good-bye. Three years past, saying good-bye to Mike, another pastor, who was called to go home to Iowa, taking my firstborn, and this feels like that. Like bookends of this family story, even though I know it’s not even close to the final chapter. And yet. They’re part of us, too. Part of the stories we tell over dinner. Part of the reason our boys go to church. Felipe, especially. How many times has he talked about Aaron, could do play-by-play of Sunday mornings, and Rachel, too. Aaron’s wife who sings like an angel. And how are we supposed to say good-bye to that?
And then, yesterday, we’re mingling after church, and three different times somebody suggests it. Maybe Grant could come back. Come back home to Minnesota to lead worship back here. But I tell them – No way. No way would he do it, and no way would I want it. (Did I really say that?) Yes. I said it and meant it. He’s right where God wants him, at that church in Des Moines. Baby coming, and nursery ready, and five friends who are pregnant at just the same time – all of them raising their littles together, and what could be better than that?
Do you see what I mean about emotions and weather?
It’s part of the story. God calls and they leave and it hurts for a season. We’ll always miss them, but after a while you can see how it’s better, how it’s part of His plan. And you wouldn’t change it.
And who knows? Maybe someday. One day, in the future. God might call them back home.
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart…
God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.