There are times in life, sometimes unfortunate times, that we say “goodbye”. We say goodbye to friends and family, to jobs, to seasons in our life. Sometimes we say goodbye with the intent of seeing someone later, and sometimes we say goodbye and we know we will never see them again. Sometimes we may even hope that what we are saying goodbye to will never come again.
I wrote about letting go recently, and I feel that letting go is different from saying goodbye. We let go of people, jobs, thoughts, addictions and situations, just like we say goodbye to them. The main difference, in my mind, is the context. When we are letting go, it is usually to something that we found ourselves cleaving to. I let go of my kitten because it was best for her. I’ve let go of unhealthy thoughts and habits. I’ve let control of situations go to God who knows whats best and loves me. Letting go can feel like we are giving up something, or even seem sacrificial when we are doing it because its for the best of someone else. Someday I will let go of our children to go out and face destinies that differ from my own.
Saying goodbye is different because when we say goodbye its finite. We say goodbye for a measurable amount of time or we say goodbye forever. It isn’t about giving up something, or doing whats right for someone else, it just is the end. The end of the conversation or visit, the end of someones time on earth, or the end of a season in our life.
These last few weeks I’ve said goodbye to a few things. Most of them aren’t worth mentioning or I already have in one context or another. Some of them were good things. I said goodbye to a name that has treated me well for the better part of 30 years. I’m not sad to see it go, it had a good life and it just was its time to go.
The biggest thing I said goodbye to was a season in my life. God has been telling me to wait so long, for so many years that I had almost begun to think this season would last a lifetime. Now don’t get me wrong, I never doubted our God, I doubted myself. I knew God’s plans were bigger than me. I knew and could see the good God was working in my life. I’ve seen transformation beyond the imaginable over the last few months in myself, and my relationships.
I prayed and I prayed and I prayed some more up until the last minute I prayed. I asked God “are you sure God, Are you sure we are ready for this? This is not how I imagined it, I want to know this is his choice, not because he feels his hand is forced because of me.” Now our God has an amazing way of putting us in our place. Want to know what God said to me? He reminded me that none of this is because of me. He reminded me that HE is in control. How could I let my ego grow so big as to think I was big enough to affect Gods plans.
Then I realized, that everything was coming together just exactly as God had planned. We have come full circle. God let us go to the worst place, then brought us back to where we started. He has since brought us closer than we ever were on our own. I had told my husband I didn’t want him to choose this just because it was the right thing to do, I felt like this was one of the biggest decisions he would ever make and it shouldn’t be forced. My husband told me in his way that it wasn’t forced, yet I doubted me. I tried to read the response like I had written it, and was afraid he would be full of regret.
Someone close to me reminded me that I needed to read my husbands response as it came from him, not as the response I thought it should have been. I usually feel like I am pretty good at this but it was my own failure to embrace the language my husband speaks that put the doubts in my mind.
While looking at the photographic images from that day, I realize my husband did seem truly happy in most of them. I was scared until the last minute he would change his mind, when in actuality I think he felt the same about me. The text “40 minutes to change your mind”, was a sincere concern that I might, while my response was ” yeah you need to hurry up if your doing that!”. When I thought my husband looking away from my eyes while listening before making confirmation of his decision was doubt in his mind, was more likely worry that I would not also confirm the decision.
In that moment I said goodbye to a season in life I no longer needed. A season I didn’t foresee as ending so quickly. In this I am reminded of how God’s timing is perfect. I also am reminded that Gods mighty plans are so much bigger than what I can see, as I can see how he’s used what the enemy meant for evil in our life and turned it into something amazing.
“There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens” Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV