Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Bittersweet Side of Life in Ministry

Two of the dearest women in my life are best friends.  They are best friends who met...sixteen years ago?  They also happen to live on opposite sides of the globe from each other, and have been for more than two years now~

They always knew the day would come, the inevitable day when the Lord would pull them away from the comfort of proximity as He called their families to ministry elsewhere.  I was influenced by the kindred nature of their friendship, and moreso when they made that friendship work even separated by miles.  I recall them both telling me on different occasions that this reality of their relationship is one of the bittersweet sides of life in ministry.  Now more than ever, and more than I could have anticipated at such a young and inexperienced age, I'm feeling the weight of their influence and encouragement.  Two things happen as the years go by; I savor the relationships the Lord has given so much more, and experience more and more the tension that accompanies making dear friends during an inevitably short season.

We are getting ready to part ways with a couple whom we have grown to enjoy and love dearly in a very short amount of time.  They came to Louisville a few years ago to attend seminary just as the rest of us did, and welcomed their precious twin girls into the world just six months ago.  He has been interviewing for music ministry positions for some time, and the Lord has now provided that opportunity for them to move and serve at a church in Georgia.  We are ecstatic for them, excited that the Lord has opened this door much sooner than many who go through the seminary season.  There will be a hole where they have gladly served in our church body here these past few years.  While I am personally blessed by each person who serves each week with me on the worship team, he stands out in both passion and skill (and I know the others would agree!). 

And his wife, my friend...how I will miss her.  We laugh, we text, we share burdens, we laugh some more, we exchange recipes, we love on her baby girls, we ask what the other might need when heading to the grocery store, we veg on the couch, we have a treasured and rare kinship that doesn't happen everyday.  I've become so accustomed to her being just a text or 5-minute drive away.  The proximity has become a comfort, so I can't help but feel a bit sad that she won't be nearby in a few short weeks.  I am encouraged by her trust both in the Lord and in her husband as they turn the page to this new chapter.  It has been such a joy to my heart to pray with her, and for me and my husband to walk with them during the steps of this process.

Bittersweet indeed.  While my eyes were welling up the other day upon hearing the official news of their move, my husband put his hand on my arm and reminded me of the gift of friendship we have shared even if the season has been short.  I'm thankful that we have made the most of the season, even when we knew their move to Georgia was just short of definite.  That is a big takeaway for me from this time we have shared with them; make the most of the time you do have.  Don't neglect the fellowship even if you know the time is limited.  Make the most of the time because you never know just how much the Lord might bless you in a very direct and personal way.  That is my testimony from the bond that has been cultivated between me and my friend.  She is beautiful through and through, so open to all levels of conversation, and I would have never known these things about her had I not taken the opportunity to do so.  I am blessed by her from here on out, no matter where years or distance take us!

We meet to part but part to meet, when earthly labors are complete...
("Soldiers of Christ in Truth Arrayed," Southern Seminary Hymn)

Something brought you to my mind today,
I thought about the funny ways you make me laugh,
And yet I feel like it's okay to cry with you
Something about just being with you,
When I leave I feel like I've been near God,
And that's the way it ought to be....
Oh you have blessed my life, more than you'll ever know
(Christy Nockels)

1 comment:

Funderstorm said...

"Another chapter ended. Another page in this pilgrimage is turned...there's so much I've learned. So I'll start a new beginning and set a course for the open road ahead...I wonder what lies ahead. But I will remember these times we've shared together for the rest of my life and I'll thank my God when I think of you. For giving me this moment in time. For giving to me another treasured memory to hold inside this tender heart of mine. Oh, I'll thank my God, when I think of you."

I know you don't know the tune because my sweet hubby penned these words as well as the tune when we were stepping out on our first big journey some 20 years ago. I've never forgotten it because it spoke clearly to my heart in the moment. I sing it to myself at times when the distance from around the globe seems too vast. I remind myself of the blessing and cherish the season and thank Him in all things and For all things.

Thinking of you during this time~much love