Monday, January 30, 2012

Being grateful for Jenn & Erik...

The dreaded moment would not wait - that moment when happiness and hurt mingled - when my inner struggle between gratitude and grumbling threatened to render me speechless.

I knew it wouldn't be easy.  Saying Good-bye to friends never is.  I thought I would find more than a huge lump in my throat and tears ready to spill from my eyes.   I thought  I would be able to hide my sadness and say some appropriate words to communicate the joy I really do feel.

But all I could muster was a big hug with eyes brimming which held her face and spoke from my heart just how painful their move is for me.

Our church was saying Good-bye yesterday to Erik and Jenn and their 3 precious children.  They're moving to a new assignment and it's rather far away.  I'm excited for them.  They'll be blessed and be a blessing there.  It's God's plan for them.  It's not the end of the world and they'll sometimes come back to visit.  But for some reason, I'm sensing deep personal loss in their decision.

So I've decided to express my gratitude for how they've blessed me in the years I've known them.  With gratitude will come joy.  And joy will help me overcome my selfish feelings - those feelings that would prefer keeping life safe, stable, certain but which are actually devoid of the joys which come from following God's path.

On the altar steps at Jesus Savior Baptist Church in Chisinau, Moldova - August 2006
Erik and Jenn were newly weds when they joined the church staff.  They signed up for our Moldova Mission Team in August 2006.  The day we left that summer was the day the USA went to Code Orange for air travel.  I would learn later that they nearly cancelled trip plans as they fought fear that morning which threatened to overcome their confidence in God's protection for travel but they boarded the flights and carried out God's purpose for that trip.  They added youth, godliness and service to our team.  And God would use precious orphans there to help prepare them for how they would start their own family later through the adoption of two foster babies that joined their family from birth.

So thanks for being part of Moldova Team 2006 Erik and Jenn.  (They are in the upper right of this photo.)

Another element of gratitude comes for Jenn who started a photography business and has provided me with some of my most prized family photos. 

Thanks, Jenn, for studying that craft and being so good that your work brings continual joy for those who see your results.
Four generations over Christmas in 2007

My Mother whose lifetime commitment to Jesus shines through her peaceful expression in this pose.

Three generations over Christmas 2009.
And thanks, Erik and Jenn, for choosing a career that mirrors the path my husband and I chose over thirty years ago.  As I analyze the cause of my emotional feelings as I face your departure, I realize I'm flooded with memories of my own cross country moves.  Even when we felt we were following God's plan for us, we felt pain in the leaving behind of family, good friends and taking a path that was uncertain.  It was never easy to move and start over but our life has been filled with opportunities for spiritual growth and service.  Your move will afford you the same.

The hardest part is leaving.

Arriving will be filled with excitement, freshness and lots of promising possibilities.

I'm happy for you.  And I'm very grateful that Good-bye is not forever!

Maybe your new church will join our church and together we'll take another mission trip to Moldova.  That would be so sweet!  Let's start praying about that!

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