Letting go…

This has been a particularly emotional week for me. It started last week with the preparations for my niece, Brittany’s wedding (where in the process, I began taking double the amount of hormones for infertility).
The wedding was wonderful, even though, it was an adventure with rain and relocation. Instead of outside in the rain at 7 pm, we all moved to Calvary Baptist last minute and had a beautifully simple wedding at 7:45. Not the thing you dream for as a bride, but I do not know if I have been witness to a more heartfelt, truth-oriented, Christ exalting wedding. The pomp and circumstance was stripped—and I think that people could see that Jesus is truly the most important thing to Ben and Britt. The reception was held outside–it stopped raining and was a pleasant temperature. I had a lot of fun, but it flew by.
After the wedding, we were exhausted. There was an emotional aspect I did not expect though. I feel like life had flown like the reception. Because my sisters are older, I have had a very unique experience being an aunt at a young age. In that, I have been the older fun sister type figure, the authority figure, and I have learned a lot about the joys and pains of parenting. This is the first niece or nephew to make this huge commitment into adulthood–to forge a new family where the allegiance lies there first. The nature of things change,,,and there is a sense of mourning as I see that and yet rejoicing (because it is good). I must learn to let go and let the relationship evolve. I was reminded at the rehearsal dinner of tender moments with a chubby faced 2 year old, a precocious 4 year old, an encourageable 6 year old, an independent 17 year old…I have been blessed with B and the relationship we have. Life does not stop, though. It is always changing–we cannot pause. So, I rejoice in the experiences we have had, and I look forward to the adult relationship we will continue to grow in. I look forward to encouraging her love and commitment to Ben in good and bad times.
In the line of work Greg and I are in, we see change all the time. I remember back to letting go of the first college students we invested in and loved on…Leah and Patti. It was painful and hard. Our life was rooted here, and everyone else was passing through on to the next phase. In the years following them, we have said goodbye to many, and I have gotten used to it. I realize that most relationships are for a season, and I thank God for those seasons. I also have realized that I am not as important as I thought I once was:). People get involved in their lives where they are (Just like I do). So, I have learned to invest well, and let go well.
This week marks a special letting go point for me, though. Tiffany, a young woman I have met with since she became a believer is moving with her new husband, Chris, to start a life in ministry in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. God has grown her mightily and me mightily as we have met together. In fact, I have learned a lot about forming WDC, writing curriculum, and leading through my relationship with Tiffany. I am not fearful to let go because she is ready. I am sad, though. I knew I was investing well for a season, and I have learned the urgency of doing that with others.
It is always bittersweet to let go. I know that growth will come, and that new opportunities will come for both parties. However, I also know that things will never be the same again. My friends in high school used to laugh at me as I would always say “we are never going to be together like this again…” It is true, but I know my hope does not lie in those relationships but in Christ. He teaches me that all the time.
This has been a letting go year for Greg and me in many ways. Last year at this time we let go of our small group that we had been in for seven years. At that time, I also let go of the small group I had led for 5 years. We have been learning to let go of our plans as Greg suffers with Rheumatoid Arthritis and we have been suffering with infertility. I have also seen us transitioning from young adulthood to middle adulthood. In reality, we have no control over plans. Often we put our hope in plans, and God has a totally different master plan–a relationally oriented plan instead of a mere circumstantial one.
All of these thoughts and experiences coupled with heightened hormones have brought some low times this week. There is an ache in me of grief that keeps swelling over infertility. And, in that, I am reminded to let go of my plans and expectations and have an eternal perspective. When I compare myself to others and their lives, I miss the picture of the hope and fulfillment I have in Christ–of his purpose to make me more like him, to bring deeper fellowship between me and him. This is preparing me for eternity (just as God is using motherhood to prepare hearts for eternity as well). Would I choose a child or intimacy with Christ? I choose Christ (not that having a child trades that–but to remember the perspective for now). This is an opportunity to know him and trust him that he is giving me. It is a place where the rubber meets the road—Do I really believe what I claim I believe? Is he really my treasure? Is he really the ultimate? When I look to his truth, YES. When I wallow in the treasures of this world, I forget. The balance is learning to deal with the ache and share it with him in trust. Letting go of my plan and surrendering to his good (which is the ultimate). And, taking the full opportunity today to pour into spiritual children. I am so thankful for relationships like those with Tiff, B, Mary, Laura, Liz, Kate, and Lillie that he is giving me right now. I REALLY AM THANKFUL.
The thing is, I know there will be a time that those relationships will change as well–with the addition of physical children. It will be another lesson of letting go. All of it for his purposes of making us more like him and for giving him glory. Life and circumstances here are temporary–whether the fast growth of a baby to adulthood, to the death of a loved one, to the loss of friendship and the beginning of a new one. I do not want to forget to enjoy what God has given in the now and trust him in his plans and ways for the future and rejoice and let go of the past.

3 Comments

  1. Jen,

    I have enjoyed keeping up with you through your blog…via Ben and Joy Finch’s blogs. As I have “read your heart” I have been encouraged by your deep love for Jesus and provoked by your passion for other women to know and love Him.

    This post “Letting Go” particularly touched me, because my life at the moment is filled, it seems, with this challenge. Bethany got married on March 14th. Jake will be marrying on July 18th, and Josh will wed on September 5th…and we found out Mother’s Day weekend that we are going to be grandparents! (Woo-hoo!!!) This is a lot of “letting go” in a very short window of time…barely allowing me to prepare and catch my breath before the next wave hits. But, God, in His sovereignty has ordained these days and in His kindness has given me grace to rejoice in Him…because that is what all of these days are about…right?…glorifying Him and enjoying Him…ultimately forever.

    Bethany and I were talking the other day about how quickly life changes and how challenging it is to trust God when the sheer speed of the merry-go-round of life seems like it’s going to throw you off. As I was talking to her the thought occurred to me that perhaps “change” is a means of grace by which God reminds us that He is unchanging…that His loving kindness is from everlasting to everlasting…that His steadfast love endures forever. “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36)

    As we are tempted to anxiety by the speed of this temporal life, may we remember and intentionally choose to rejoice with thanksgiving and hope in the great and eternal I AM!

  2. It brought back so many memories just thinking of hanging out at your house. It seems like a lifetime ago. I learned so much from you. I love you and miss you sweet friend.

  3. Thank you both for your comments. Kay, congratulations. You certainly are on a Merry Go Round of change! Ironically enough…Patti was pregnant in marriage at the same time as Bethany! She has two precious children, and is a wonderful mother. Thank you,Kay for sharing such Jesus exalting truth. This is a time for you that is crazy and sweet and to grow it is a time to remember our purpose of glorifying God and enjoying him–I cling to that as well. As the body of Christ, we need each other to give those reminders or we just listen to the world and the worthless idols. Love to you both.

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