Pensive Ponderings of a Church-Planter’s Wife: Leaving People

As I curl up on my comfy brown couch this morning, I cannot help but reflect on how after over a year of praying, praying, and praying some more, my husband and I sit on a brink of change. With great diligence and extreme fortitude, Bradley has completed the renovations on our home of 22-years.

We will meet with the realtor this afternoon.

We will put our home on the market.

We will move forward.

What has felt so surreal for such a very long time now enters the birth pangs of intense reality. Much like an expectant mother “knows” she’s pregnant for months, so have I walked in this indefinite time of awareness: both she and I understand a great change is upon us, yet neither she nor I can fully comprehend the impending truth until…

…one day…

…the reality sets in.

That moment when a woman realizes that far sooner that she can accomplish her to-do list, her life will absolutely and irrevocably change.

And for me, this is my morning of reality.

Far greater to me than any to-do list, however, sits my people list: my precious list of the dear and sweet people who have supported my husband and me over the years–those who particularly have encouraged us during these past three years. My heart aches to spend time with them–each and every one–before we leave.

As well as managing social engagements and preparing to move…all with a vastly limited energy base.

And take care of my medical appointments.

And normal shopping and laundry and housework.

All while my list grows with each tender remembrance of kindness.

And as others realize that our days tick down, they also hope to spend time together.

And the list grows.

Until my heart grows…anxious.

What if I can’t accommodate everyone? What if, because of my health, I have to cancel on  someone–and I can’t reschedule? What if I hurt someone’s feelings?

Yet I cannot live in anxiety. Neither can I make right and just decisions when my heart and mind become enshrouded in apprehension.

I go to the One who treasures and cherishes each person on my list–the One who designed and is, therefore, intimately acquainted with each of their ways. I go to God.

In the sweetness of His presence, my soul finds rest. The grasp of anxiety loses its stranglehold on my heart as His truths settle across my spirit like a warm blanket.

Truth #1: I don’t have to meet with everyone on my list today. Whew! What a load off! One reason a list can feel overwhelming lies in that sensation that it all has to get done today. Sometimes a list does have to get conquered in a day and, although this list does have a timeframe, that timeframe is not today.

Truth #2: God won’t hold me responsible for what He doesn’t equip me to do. God will provide the energy and time I need to accomplish what He has planned for my days. If He does not provide the energy to meet with a full list of people, He will not be the one to condemn me.

Truth #3: My husband will cover and support me. After walking through the past fifteen years of ME/CFS with me, Bradley understands that my energy level can deplete quite rapidly. Although his priority for me during this season allows me to invest the best of my vitality in time with loved ones, he also will stand as a shield should my inadequacies not meet someone else’s expectation

Truth #4: Those who love me will truly understand. Over the past several years, I have had to cancel, reschedule, or simply not get scheduled many, many social engagements. I even have a history of trying to follow-through on an event, only to leave minutes after arrival. When those situations involved a true friend, each and every time the response was love and concern. And although we face what may now be our final good-byes, I know that those who love me most–that I love most–will walk through these next few weeks without condemnation.

Truth #5: God will guide me with His wisdom and surround me with His peace. As a daughter of God, I don’t have to walk through these weeks alone. Like every other aspect of my life, I get to lay out my plans before Him and merely follow in His steps. Many a time have I upheld my own plans and felt the dread of disappointment thrash my desires to the ground. Yet each time that I simply surrendered my desires I found a path of peace unfold before my very eyes. I could stroll through my day with the joyous comfort of accomplishing all that was on God’s heart. Therefore, each day before we leave I can live as just another of those wonderful, peace-filled days.

I love people. I love the ones who fill the nooks and crannies of my life. The ones who peak around all my corners. The ones who share their smiles in darkness and their pains in private. My heart longs to reach out and hold each and every one before we move away.

And I will. If only in my prayers.

“…always offering prayer with joy, in my every prayer for you all…” (Philippians 1:4).