I've said a lot of goodbyes in my life. This summer is full of hard ones again.
It doesn't ever get easy, but my least favorite are the ones where I am being left behind.
The ones where you stand where you are and wave to the people as they drive away or disappear through the security checks. Because I have to turn around, go home, and its life as normal. No new adventures, life to set up, or cultures to explore.
This summer marks 10 years since I moved to South Carolina, during those 10 years I have had lots of family and friends that have come and gone, leaving me here waving goodbye. For probably the last 5 years I looked for ways to get out. I wanted us to be the ones getting to leave. I wasn't supposed to live in the States for this long. I was willing to serve God in the difficult places, uproot my family and go. But instead He called us to stay.
Staying is hard for my TCK [third culture kid] blood. Settling and putting down roots is not something I totally understand or am very good at. My family and friends are scattered all over the US and the world. But this year He has worked in my heart to help me know that it is okay to stay. Here's a couple of things I have learned in my years of being left behind.
God called me to serve Him wherever I am.
Location doesn't really matter when it comes to serving God. Coming from a family that was filled with people in ministry, I honestly struggled at first that God had called us to "regular" jobs. But I quickly realized what a great place that was to be! I didn't have to go far to be the hands and feet of Jesus. All around me there were needs. Living and working in the States helped change my perspective on the needs here.
I need to pray for the ones who GET to go.
I know what it is like to be the "goer." How hard that is too. How challenging it is to pack up your life and how hard the goodbyes are when you get on the plane. I need to pray instead of be jealous. Which is easy for me to want to be. I need to empathize with their feelings instead of getting lost in my feelings of being left behind.
Don't get too settled.Last year we took a step of faith that caused some uprooting in our lives. But God settled us again into a better situation. Whether its jobs, houses, cities, states, or countries, we never know when God is going to ask us to go and just like Abraham we will have to trust Him with the unknown.
So as I keep waving those goodbyes to family leaving, these are the things I need to remember. Not that it will make them any easier.