In a matter of days, I’ll say goodbye to a dear friend and neighbor who I’ve grown close to since our move to Holyoke almost three years ago. Katie Wilson and her family have been a treasure to my family. She’s changed my youngest son’s diapers, we’ve celebrated our girls’ birthdays together, and she’s watched our kids any time we had a need.
When I needed encouragement, she’d bring me chocolate and coffee unannounced (yes, hold on to that friend!) I’ll always remember our shopping trips to Denver and Greeley and her wisdom and insight from sitting beside her in Bible study the last 2.5 years. I’ll always remember her girls raiding my pantry for food and how they loved playdates. Katie has been a true friend and a delight to know.
Katie’s husband, Dr. Wilson, has been a part of our family as well- he was always available to answer any of Jeremiah’s medical questions after the shooting accident in 2016. He never cared if it was after-work hours. He was a blessing to many people in our community as a wonderful doctor and a man of integrity who loved and deeply cared for others.
In these coming days, I’ll be preparing my heart and my kids’ hearts to “let go” of their playdates with the Wilson girls, hearing their girls’ voices echoing across the road while on the tire swing, and just knowing they were always there.
Change is never easy. Sometimes the very word causes us to cringe in our seat. In fact, our human nature is pretty resistant to it. But it’s a natural part of life that if we don’t embrace, we may become bitter at God for allowing something into our lives that we didn’t ask for.
Perhaps, in your own experience you’re having to let go too. Or maybe you’re bracing yourself in regards to a different situation – sending your child off to college, a career change, saying goodbye to a family member or someone you love, or trying to figure out the new normal in your present situation. I think of Abraham in Scripture who the Lord told to,
“Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:1-3)
Further on, we see that Abraham obeyed immediately and left idol worship in the wicked land of Ur to settle in the land of Canaan. He was seventy-five years old and I’m guessing he was quite comfy living right where he was. But God had called him to go. He had a plan that involved some pretty amazing things including that many nations will be blessed because of his obedience, his descendants will be more than all the stars in the sky, he will inherit the land, God will act for Abraham even though he is childless with Sarai, and that through his very lineage, Jesus Christ- the Savior of the world- would be born.
It’s important to note that God says to Abraham, “Go to the land I will show you.” This was not about Abraham’s plans and agenda, but about what God was doing through the people of Israel and the plan he had for the redemption and rescuing of mankind. He was going to use Abraham in a mighty way, even though Abraham had no idea how God’s promises would exactly unfold.
Sometimes in life we’re forced to move forward and it’s beyond our control. Or sometimes we’re quite comfortable living in a land of prosperity and would rather stay complacent. Or sometimes we just know it’s time to move on. Whatever the case, God works in all our circumstances – good and bad. He never changes who He is, but he’ll often call us to change for our own growth and to fulfill his plans in our life.
Saying goodbye is never easy on my end. I can be selfish and want things my way but God is helping me trust him through the different seasons. I can thank him for the precious memories I’ll always have with the Wilson’s in Holyoke. I can give him thanks for bringing them into our lives when we needed them most. I can thank him for giving me a sweet taste of real friendship. I can praise Him for using them in a great way to better the lives of so many people in our town.
There’s so much to be thankful for even when change is hard and there’s a temptation to doubt God’s goodness. Just as we see the flowers starting to bloom and the deadness from winter disappear, let’s watch together in anticipation with how the Lord longs to bring newness and life to our situation that we’ve never experienced before.
Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. Through personal stories and scripture, she is passionate about helping women live out their faith in real life. She is the author of Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches.