Thursday, May 28, 2015

Staying {here}

Farewell to Silja (far left)
Transition. It never gets easier. And it doesn't necessarily have to be you who is leaving in order to feel the effects of transition. Two families on our team are heading back to the states for 6 months, and four families will be arriving/returning in the next two months. We are one of two families on our team who are staying through this summer without getting on an airplane!

Staying means we get to welcome. But staying also means we have to say goodbye.

We just had a farewell brunch for a friend from my Friday Bible study. We have had those moments of exchanging gifts, speaking truth into one another's lives, affirming what God did in our friendship, hugging and praying over her. It has been bittersweet. And as I reflect on the 9 months I've known her, I see God's goodness in bringing the friends I need at just the right time. He knew I would need Silja just as much as she needed me. And He knit our hearts together bit by bit every Friday as we opened the Word and prayed. And now I know if I ever need a place to sleep in Finland I've got one.

Friendship as a missionary is tricky, and hard, and painful. But it is also necessary and beautiful. I need local friends, I need friends back home and I need other expat friends. My life is richer and more beautiful because of these relationships and each one adds a unique dimension to my life. My rag garland (pictured left) is a daily reminder of friends I've said goodbye to, but who have added so much beauty to my life. And as I stay the garland will only get prettier!

Sometimes staying means doing the hard work of building community, even when you would rather curl up in a blanket and read a book. Sometimes staying means saying the hard goodbyes. And sometimes staying means being the welcoming committee (which is, by far, my favorite!).  It is my prayer that I {we} would never grow weary in doing the good work of building relationships, just because it's hard and the goodbyes are painful. I want a tender heart that that loves the people He has placed in my path- whether they are here a week or stay forever.

Sometimes I'm the leaver. Sometimes I'm the stayer. So grateful for the One Who never moves. Watch this.

Linking up at the Grove on the topic of "staying".

2 comments:

  1. "I want a tender heart that that loves the people He has placed in my path- whether they are here a week or stay forever." Yes!! Love this and your garland.

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  2. I love your garland, too - and your perspective on loving well those He brings to your path. Thanks for linking up to the Grove at Velvet Ashes and sharing with us!

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