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 day...it 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 much..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 is...as 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 goes...at 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.
Posted by Hendrick Family