Monday, July 12, 2010

When Restoration Hurts

In three weeks Aaron will get on a plane and leave for Haiti.

I can hardly believe it.  Where has the time gone this summer?

Our time here in Brenham has been a treasure.  I've been extremely thankful to be here, but in some ways being here makes leaving my family harder.  The times when I think of leaving them cause me to burst into tears.  Like right now.  Hello tears.

A few months ago it would have been difficult to tell my family good-bye.  After being here with them for this long...seeing each other every will take everything in me to kiss their sweet faces and get on that plane.

I am thankful for this time with them, but in the end it will be bittersweet.  Knowing them so well means when we tear ourselves away, that rip will be deep and raw.

It makes me think about how painful but worth it truly connecting to others is.  To be honest...there are a handful of people in my life who I love so deeply that it will take me a long time to recover when I hug them for the last time before leaving this town.  What a tragedy it would be if I could leave this place without sobbing.  I guess it's weird to thank the Lord for relationships so real, honest and sincere that the thought of leaving them makes me a sick mess.  I've been saying to the Lord, "You better be strong enough to heal in me all that will be hurting when I say good-bye."

We have been truly blessed here with relationships that are so constant and comfortable that it is hard to imagine my life without them.  These people could unload my dishwasher and know where things go.  I could do the same in their homes.  Deep.  Real.  Inside your life.  Inside your soul.  These are my friends.

I caught myself asking the Lord, "Why now, God?  Why now?  Why didn't you ask us to go when we didn't have any real friends?  When we weren't so attached to our community?"

There was a time in my life when I could have left and it would not have bothered me.  Until just a few years ago, I'm not sure if I knew how to deeply connect with others.  Something was terribly broken in me.  For the most part, relationships were disposable and surface-level.  Lots of that probably had to do with my past.  Lots of it probably had to do with thinking (for whatever reason) that since we were in "church leadership" we were somehow different than other people.  Lots of it for sure had to do with the fact that sin has ruined this world, and for most people learning to deeply connect with others is extremely difficult, if not impossible without God's help.  For all those reasons, a few years ago I just didn't know how to have relationships in ways that really mattered or endured.  I could have left for Haiti with very few tears.

As I sat questioning God, thinking how incredibly cruel this seems...just as we seemed to be "getting it" He asks us to leave it all behind, it occurred to me...a few years ago, I would have been leaving here a broken person.  Pieces.  Not a whole person.  How ironic to think I could walk into Haiti and bring the message of reconciliation and restoration as a person walking around in pieces myself.

I am still incredibly broken, no one needs to doubt that for one minute...and thankfully God uses broken people to do His stuff.  All I'm trying to say I look over the last five years of my life I see God's hand.  His touch.  Wherever He is, restoration naturally happens.  He has been healing me, and the ability to connect to people dearly and deeply has been a symptom of something greater...God making all things new in my soul.

I have cried off and on like the old saying the drop of a hat.  Tears seem to sit and wait right behind my eyelids.  They make an entrance as soon as I think of hugging Kirby for the last time, or hearing Sara say something witty for the last time, or making fun of Ryan for the last time, or sitting next to my brother for the last time, or cleaning up the kitchen and talking with Lynsey for the last time, or laughing with Brock and Megan...staying up late talking to my aunt...I could list several others but I'll stop because I can barely breathe right now or see my computer screen.

All that to say, I've been crying a lot.

How weird it is to be crying...grieving really...over the goodbyes that are coming and in that same moment be praising God that He has been gracious enough to heal me in a way where I could have ever learned to enjoy these relationships in the first place.  He has been so good to me and every sob...every dirty, snotty, ugly cry over the people I'll leave behind is a true testimony to how gracious God has been to give us such a sweet, deep connection to the people in our life.  What once was terribly broken has been made new and useful.  The gospel.  It's always a beautiful thing to look at your life and see where God has touched it.  Reconciliation with God has brought reconciliation with others.  So much so that it will be so horribly painful to say good-bye that I'm having a hard time believing God can bind up those wounds.

With every round of tears, there is a round of rejoicing over all the restoration God has brought into my broken life.  Although a lot more painful, God has sweetly reminded me that we're leaving for Haiti as people who have been restored and continue to be restored because of the gospel.  Who knew restoration could make you such a snotty mess?

Praise God for community and for heaving over the thought of saying goodbye to people...the gifts God has sweetly given to us.  Makes me long for heaven where we will get to say "goodbye" to good-byes forever.  Where we will live like family for eternity...knowing Jesus and one another deeply and intimately.   Unashamed.  Fellowship sweet and unbroken by time, space and sin.


Anonymous said...

I am sooo proud of you and you family...What a blessing ou are to ALL those whose life you touch. Love you...Jana

Sara said...

WHY DO YOU HAVE TO MAKE ME CRY!! Seriously, I want to keep living in denial that y'all are leaving, but posts like these will just not let me. Your family is so precious to us...I don't know what we are going to do. I just keep praying that all that you have taught us will equip us to be the family you have been to us for some other couple or college students. We have learned to question and dig deep into the Word and in to what God is calling us to. We pray that this won't stop when you leave, and that God has taught us to stand on our own. Thank you...for ever dinner we mooched off of y'all, every minute of sleep you gave up to have those late night convos with us, and for every hard thing you have challenged us to do just by living out what God tells you to.

We love yall!

Heather Diaz said...

Heather, I follow your blog and I've never met you or even know you at all, but this post made me cry! I think it's because all of that Restoration and transformation that God brought to your life is what I seem to be in the middle of right now. While it is tough, I cannot wait to see what is in store!! I think the tears I have from reading your post are tears of hope for the future -being used for His Glory in a way I can not even fathom now. Thank you for your words and sharing your story! I can't wait to see how God fills your friendship and family voids in Haiti!!

The Mosiers said...

I will never forget the days leading up to us leaving CS. Some of the hardest days of my life. I don't think I've cried over leaving other people so much or for so long in my life. It's been a year and I still grieve for those friendships, that community.

We love you guys and are praying for you as you begin your goodbyes. Also that God's faithfulness will be shown in the Hellos in Haiti.

Love you Hendrick people!

thoughtsbyryan said...

All I'm saying is that Aaron better have unlimited texts because I have yet to find the replacement for the person who I call or text about 30 times a day when I need to know everything from how much a piece of lumber costs to what time something starts.


I don't think that's really the word I was looking for... but, you know.

Alright... back to living in denial...


Megan said...

Being in San Diego it has been ridiculously easy to just ignore the fact that y'all are moving. I have just been looking so forward to being home and finally getting to hang out that I haven't allowed my mind to skip ahead to the 4 weeks later that we will be saying good bye again.

And the fact that about every other day we throw around the idea of Brock just quitting his MBA and us moving to Haiti has kept my hopes alive. Today in fact we had a missed call from Joe Terry. We made a deal that if he was calling to say that our house sold we would just move to Haiti.

There is no way that I am going to believe that this is the last time our sweet community will live together. I think the Lord has big, big plans for our lives. Y'all are just the guinea pigs.. I mean, someone has to go first. I am trusting we will follow suit.

We love y'all more than you know...

the Birkenfunkies :)

Susan, wife of 1, mother of 4 said...

Oh Heather, your posts are SO SWEET. I love your honesty, and you say it all so well - far far better than I ever communicated when we left our "perfect" set of friends.

God WILL sustain you. You WILL feel even closer to Him than you do, and it WILL (truly) be one of the sweetest times in your life (although hard at the same time). He will provide for ALL things, and you will come out of it all feeling amazed at His goodness and truly blessed that He used you as His vessels.

I'm praying for you. Those real friends - they will STILL BE THERE when you return! God is SO good. Heaven will be amazing and wonderful, won't it?! Thanks for keeping things real. You are still touching lives for His kingdom, and you haven't even left yet!

ashley said...

First time commentor! :-) And you made me cry! Get used to it, I'm a cry baby :-)

I was looking for a photographers recently and came across Ryan Price's blog which led me to your blog and I've been mesmorized with your family the last week or so :-)

I'm amazed and love the honesty that flows from your posts. It compells me to be more open about my walk with God and the struggles I face.

I'll be praying for you and your family as you begin to say your goodbyes and head off to Haiti. I can't wait to continue reading your blog and hearing about where your journey takes you. Thanks for sharing your story :-)

mandi said...

oh heather...i just don't even know what else to say.

Kimberly said...

God also knew that you would NEED this community of yours to survive and thrive in what he is asking you to do. It's all in the plan kiddo!

Carl Crew said...

How amazing Heather. God really is so good. You have a beautiful heart. I pray that God will bring that kind of restorative community to your family in Haiti as well. And this post has made me realize how much I am yearning for that in our new home too. We love your family and miss seeing you.

The Carl's

The Kramer Family said...

okay....i've been avoiding commenting here because then it means that i'm acknowledging that you are actually leaving.

i'm so thankful for this summer and am savoring every moment with yall. the "lasts" will be hard when we get there. The last time to eat dinner together, the last time to clean the kitchen together, the last time to swim, the last day. Gosh, now I'm crying.

I think I'm going to have to plan a trip to Disney World the day after you leave to get my girl's minds off of you being gone. My heart aches thinking about that. The norm has been living life by your side everyday.

You guys are leaving this place so LOVED it's not even funny.

Hendrick Family said...

Let's keep living in denial, Lynsey. I'm all for that.

You made me cry. I love you.