Friday, October 1, 2010


"... My soul finds rest in God alone..." –Psalm 62:1

Wouldn't it be nice if we never had to say “good-bye” to those we love? Wouldn't it be perfect if our kids were contracted to live with us forever or to at least live in our neighborhood?

Truth is, those we care for and love so much typically leave our home. The kids we raise and nourish and teach to fly on their own eventually decide to…fly on their own! It’s paramount that we deal with the goodbyes and separations in healthy ways. Our kids are taking mental notes on what they observe in us as they learn to cope with their own goodbyes.

Jeanie and I have been having a blast in Amarillo all week with our daughter Elizabeth and our beautiful granddaughter, Reese. Brian, my bro-in-law, came too. He’s on furlough from his missionary work in Africa and is living with us for 6 months.

But the trip has been tempered by the absence of our son-in-law Mark. He’s in his last year of Medical School and is doing away rotations for his training, this month in Jackson, Mississippi. He’s been away from home for 9 weeks. Everyone misses him and he misses his family, but all is okay.

I have been so impressed with Elizabeth and Mark and their perseverance during these weeks. Though they miss each other, they recognize that it’s a season and that their rest comes from the Lord always. Mark continues his hospital work, Elizabeth her school teaching and Reese keeps smiling. It seems we all long to be with someone, but true rest is never found in a place or a person. There are never geographical solutions to contentment.

There is another kind of separation too, which is emotional. I’ve been going through a pretty tough month changing ministry focus. I’ve been dealing with a lot of change and have not been much of a husband to Jeanie. I have apologized for being so self-focused these days, but she has been phenomenal. Though I’ve been grabbing all the encouragement lately, she has persevered and been such a model for me. I love her so much. Her peace comes from a deeper place.

Our kids leave for camp for a month, our kids go to school for the day, our kids travel to sports activities until late at night, our kids go away to spend the night with a friend… the list goes on and on. Bottom line, our kids leave. And eventually they pack up to move away. And then eventually we all, without exception, leave this earth and leave loved ones behind.

Things change, and we don't have to grieve like the world grieves. Whether for a night or a lifetime, our goodbyes should be different. I’ve discovered how much of my security is in what is familiar and not in my loving God who controls it all. I’m still learning to lean on Him alone.

Our kids (and I) need to learn that “our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.” Anything else is shaky and vulnerable. Sure, it’s okay for us to miss those we love, but we continue on.

Have the conversations with your kids about those you miss or long to be reunited with soon. Be honest about the pain.

Then, when your child’s wings begin to flutter, the goodbye will be sweet.

By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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