Tag Archives: encouragement

The courage to say goodbye and embrace hello

It’s been almost a month since we said goodbye that morning; loving on our precious friends at The Lost Bean before they made their way into their new life in Tennessee.

We had thrown them a southern “shindig” complete with bluegrass music, Tennessee Tea and shrimp and grits, then sent the off with a few redneck gifts to help them adjust to their new life in the South…a 5-gallon fashionably orange backpack for the college student, a beer belt for dad, mason jar & candlestick wine glasses for mom, and a harmonica for family entertainment in case they get bored hanging with bugs.

We even had their faces superimposed in the American Gothic picture of the farmer and his wife. (Yeah. We’re those kind of friends.)

It was an amazing evening and sucked all at the same time.

But isn’t that the way with goodbye?

It’s horrible. I should know. I’ve said a lot of that this last year. My last blog post of about six months ago chronicled my many goodbyes up until that point – not knowing then if blogging was going to be one of them. (Happy to say, it hasn’t made the goodbye list yet.)

Since then, I’ve had to say a few more goodbyes: letting go of my sweet one-year-old grandson and daughter who moved out of our house to start a new family; saying goodbye to my incredible brother as my husband’s business partner; and saying goodbye to our relocated Tennessean friends.

I now consider myself a professional Goodbyer. And, if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it is rarely an easy thing to do; whether you’re letting go of a job you love…a relationship that needs to be over…a dream that’s simply not supposed to be…an expectation that only seems fair…

Some goodbyes hurt beyond words. And leave you feeling like part of you is dying. And like you will never get up again. And breathe again. And really live again.

If you are there, I am so sorry. I get it. But I can also tell you, there is hope…

Because with every goodbye, a new hello is waiting to take its place.

Pinky-swear.

It will not look the same and in some instances, will never completely fill a void. But it is there; something on the other side, daring you to grab hold: a new opportunity…a new relationship…a new vocation…a new dream…

            a new, better, soul-rich you.

And that is the best hello that goodbye could ever give us!

But there’s a catch: we can’t handshake hello if we’re still holding onto something else. We cannot embrace the new with hands full of the old.

In fact, it’s when we refuse to say goodbye that we often remain stuck – no longer wanting to be where we’ve been, but not yet willing to do what it takes to get to where we could be. Like some caterpillars.

Did you know that some of them, for whatever reason, decide not to say goodbye to their plump little squatty selves and go through the metamorphosis of becoming a butterfly?

They stay in their pre-butterfly state until the day they die. Forever crawling on their bellies. Never sprouting wings. Never flying.

 What a shame.

But it’s the same with us. If we don’t learn to let go, we will never reach the potential that’s inside of us, dying to be known.

Last year, I said goodbye to a lot of things – and at times it felt like I was letting go of a part of me. Truth is, I was.

But unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it won’t bear any harvest.
But oh, if it does! Imagine the crop if it does!
(adapted from John 12:24)

I think I am beginning to see little sprouts coming out of all of my goodbyes. I am blogging, back in school, and even singing again.

It’s a hard thing to say goodbye with all of its comforts and predictabilities. And sometimes, it’s even harder to embrace hello, with all of its mysterious unknowns. But it is well worth it, my friend. It is well worth it.   

So, here is to having the courage to say goodbye and the bravery to welcome the new. Here is to new beginnings, both for me and perhaps for you too.

Happy flying.  :)

A Note for the Vulnerable

As of the writing of this blog, it’s been less than an hour since I got off the phone with a crying friend because of news she had just received. She was devastated. I don’t blame her. I got down on my knees before God and cried with her.

Life’s been very strange lately. Not just for me, but quite a few others I walk alongside with. Actually, “strange” isn’t quite the right word . . . how about crappy? Awful? Stressful? Unbelievable? You might be able to add a few words yourself.

Although my problems pale in comparison to so many others, they are still my problems and are not fun to deal with. For the most part, I’ve been handling them fairly well; but I do have my moments. Like yesterday, for example, when for a few seconds, my thoughts began to spiral out of control, taking me places no mind should go.

I found myself starting to panic. And before long, I was embracing my old friend Solitaire who faithfully distracts me from all of my troubles and lets me commune blissfully with her, for as long as I want, in a state of denial.

But this time was different. She wasn’t so faithful. As I played game after game, the thoughts persisted – my mind still racing, desperately trying to make sense of everything that’d been going on while dreading what might happen next.

And that’s when, out of the blue, for the first time in my whole life, my computer spoke to me . . . encouraged me . . . brought me back to sobriety. Two simple words, flashing briefly at the lower right-hand corner of my screen, caught my attention and arrested my soul:

protection enabled

Gulp. I had forgotten. Just like my anti-virus software is always protecting my computer in the “background” while I work, so is the God of everything protecting me and my friends. We may not remember He’s there, quietly working behind the scenes, but He is – faithfully intercepting unwanted, malicious threats, throwing them into quarantine, and rendering them impotent. Oh, they might still even be lurking around here and there – but ultimately they can’t destroy us. We are protected.

Are you feeling weak? Vulnerable? Tired? God has you. Right now, in the center of your storm, He’s there. Protection enabled. And what’s even more good news, is that our God has this insane way of turning the worst possible crap in our lives into good. ALWAYS. End of story.

So, if like me you are in need of some encouragement today, I will leave you with a few short Scriptures to reflect on this week or maybe even memorize to keep tucked away in your back pocket. Blessings! And may you wholly lean on God’s protection and provision during this time.

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33, NASB

The Lord will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever. Psalm 121:7-8

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Rom. 8:28

Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken. Psalm 55:22

But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 2 Thess. 3:3

In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety.  Psalm 4:8