November slipped rather quickly into our memories, fading into the stories of life and ushering in a new season marked by wreaths and boughs and red ribbons. The last leaves that bravely clung to the tree are also being blown away by the winds of change, echoing unknowingly the very thoughts swirling past my mind as well.
Last week I said goodbye to the kids I have had the privilege of praying with every week for the past ten months at a church in Wheaton. We have gathered weekly for a time of play, worship and prayer and it has been a highlight of every week to see the Lord at work here. Proclaiming alongside these kids that, "We're like stars burning with love so bright, blazing with hope and life, bringing him glory, showing the world that we love Jesus," never gets old!
These kids and the children's ministry director at the church had a mini-commissioning (sending out to Czech) service for me on Wednesday, and my heart burst with gratitude to the Lord for these kids. He is working in their hearts in such a way that the presence of Christ in them blesses me so greatly too. I am humbled by their prayers and their faith. And I will miss these kids greatly.
A few other bittersweet goodbyes happened this past week too. These goodbyes bring great hope for the future, great rejoicing in what the Lord has already done, and great thankfulness for the blessing of relationships and the body of Christ. They also bring sadness. I lacked words this past week to express all of that paradox, yet moving forward always involves leaving something behind. And it's ok to grieve those losses.
The Lord is near. Great things are yet to come.
And for now, as autumn fades, so does my time here in the United States for the time being. Two more weeks. I look forward expectantly, look back gratefully, and look at the present with joy and sadness wrapped up together in one.