Oh, my Sarah girl, where have you gone? (also a giveaway)

My legs felt heavy as I wearily climbed the steps to my bedroom. From three trips in three weeks, with one memorial service of my sweet mom, sending Joel back to California, getting Sarah ready to leave for 3 months to be a counselor at Summit Semester, and Joy starting college, I had hardly had time to breathe.

The schrapnel of life battle was littered around my messy home: piles of correspondence unread, clothes strewn all about my bedroom with two worn pieces of luggage spilling over, I knew life would soon have to be tamed in order for me to move forward with grace in the months ahead.

But there was this gnawing hole, almost a hunger that I had yet not had time to think about or identify--and then I realized, "Oh, a part of my heart has been cut out. Sarah isn't here anymore.And where has my Joel gone?"

Sarah, my first born, my always sweet, responsive, encouraging, loving, inspiring best friend---gone. Not here to bubble over with new thoughts and ideas, or to grace my day with a surprise card or cup of tea. Gone would be my welcome when coming in from a chore-filled busy day with the house sparkling as a surprise to keep me cheered. No more Saturday morning walks in the chill air of downtown amongst the Victorian homes, followed by steaming mugs of espresso and a croissant.

Gone. Away. Gifted to the others who would now benefit from the light of her presence.

And Joel, my gentle, helpful, knight in shining armor, bearing my burdens as I sifted through the relics of my mother's life, would not leave me alone for the sentimental journey, as Clay prayed from home, an injured back limiting his presence with me. Joel who with always a smile, prayed for me, shared the ideals of his heart as we bounced about for 15 hours in a rental truck on the deserted dry plains of Texas moving through the hours of the sifting of memories on my way home. Now, feeling the longing for your long arms around me to assure me of God's presence, now you also are away to your new world. But you and our Nathan, now together in California to help, protect and pray for one another as you foray into your own life of valiance in Hollywood.

After all the years of loving, serving, teaching, praying for, training, inspiring and correcting, I only hoped that the fruit would taste so sweet in my home-grown leaders who were being prepared to go into a world that would need them. And so it is with discipleship--the sweet, satisfying fruit, gifted  back to the mother who embraced her call. My heart is the one blessed because of the eternal spilling out of these who are my own precious children, but oh how I miss them, and what a hole they have left. But God showed me many years ago, they are not mine, they are his, simply shared with me for a time to invest. The world needs their light. And so I comfort myself, that though far away, they still live in my heart and we will always be forever friends. But, if I had known what a hole they would leave, I might have celebrated and enjoyed the moments of their growing a little more when they were yet young. But oh how I celebrate the memories of my four precious ones now.

The gift of discipleship from home is the deepest, best companionship I have ever known. Hearts alive to beauty, comfort at sharing the depths of our souls, commitment and hungering for kingdom living and closeness to God, laughter and delight in each other from countless days shared over life. And now the hole in my heart, a consequence of having loved and lived fully together.

I think I will probably kiss Joy too often this fall, hold on to her a little too much, because I now know the way of life so well, too soon she will be following His call for her, out into the world of her own story, and the hole in my heart will deepen, but I will be the more blessed for having shared in her journey fully, deeply and with all of my heart.