The invitations went out and I didn’t stress. It’s taken years to learn that it’s okay that the entire guest list doesn’t show. It’s okay when people RSVP and forget to come and others forget to RSVP and simply show up. We welcome friends who arrive at the end of a get-together because their day didn’t go as planned.
The modest dining table offered six-dozen of the finest local donuts and slowly dwindled down to none. That morning the coffee pot filled and refilled as often as needed as our house flexed with the coming and going of friends unexpectedly into the afternoon.
What our friends don’t know is that morning nearly didn’t happen.
Because I often speak with strangers as if we’re already friends and I write vulnerably and publicly many are confused when they learn I don’t like attention. Those who see my confident outside are surprised when they learn obediently using how God created me to serve Him doesn’t mean I’m comfortable.
A close friend asked, “Are you having a farewell party?” and I shuddered because I couldn’t bear the thought of the specific attention. It wasn’t a kid’s birthday party where the attention could easily be diverted or a get together where I could stow away in the kitchen prepping or cleaning if I needed a break (because yes, I need a break).
After our challenging year my capacity to extend met its threshold and my insecurities flared and retorted, “Who on earth would need or want to say goodbye to us?”
Because I truly don’t like attention and battle self-worth I cringed at the idea and protested…
…I don’t need to say goodbye.
…Why would anyone need to say goodbye to us?
Her Socratic way began to prod with questions that revealed my one-dimensional perspective. To satisfy her I agreed to consider the idea before I completely dismissed it.
Then it happened, the unexpected wave of grief crashed down. My heart drowned in sadness over the friends we’d no longer share daily life with and the reality that we’d lose meaningful contact with most.
Our past life in Denver, where friendship was a revolving door because people frequently moved, flooded my heart. How many of those important friendships still exist? Sometimes we’re not ready to say goodbye, but God sends us on anyway. That’s how this felt, as if God said the play date was over and we must go home.
What I know of life is that it is different stages of hard. My heart pleaded with God, How hard is this move going to be? You created me to be among people, yet You’re taking me to a tiny town. Please provide friends like these. Please don’t leave me alone.
The thing about God is that He always gives us enough of what we need when we need it.
Despite an abusive marriage and divorce, financial highs and lows, the welcoming and sorrow of life coming and going I’ve yet to look back and find a way God could have done a better job. In the moment I seem to know what God should do, but looking back, though it may take years, I see God.
People: A Perfect Portion
Quietly I sat and reflected on the friends new and old God poured into my life. I contemplated how these women shaped my heart, challenged me spiritually and set an example with how they used the gifts and talents hard-wired by God into the fiber of their hearts.
God’s portion is always perfect, including the people He brings into our lives. I think about Christ and how during His ministry Jesus didn’t stay in one place longer than necessary to present His love and hope. Before modern travel conveniences the disciples traveled to encourage, instruct and exhort the early church.
“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
Our family headed into the unknown full of loose ends and question marks but I was confident in Him and overflowing.