Sunday, September 25

A Sanderling.

This is a small bird that finds himself on the Carolina coast in the fall.  I am sure I have probably seen one before, but it has been a LONG time since I have been on the beach in September.  He and his feathered friends darted in and out of the waves and provided a lot of entertainment for me this past week while I was at the beach.

I needed this week.  I had a lot to process and think through, and I needed the time to sit and just be.  I did just that.  My kiddos ran in and out of the water, built entire sand villages, and played between the jetties.  I watched. I counted to four a lot (Mags took a friend).  I contemplated many, many things.  And I watched these cute little birds who were new to me this year.

One of my very best friends is leaving our church.  I have known it in the depths of my heart for a long time, and the reality of it all for a few weeks.  And when I say one of my very best friends what I really mean is my friend, and my daughter's best friend at church, and my son's best friend, and my other daughter's best friend.  Oh, and our children and youth pastor.  It's all wrapped up in one family that is very dear to our souls.

I have seen it coming for a long time now. We have walked with our friends for the past few years.  I have prayed with them and for them and begged God to  I have cried many tears throughout the last two years, but I am positive that these last two weeks have been the hardest.  Mostly because God has called them elsewhere, and despite my selfishness, I know it is a great plan for them.  I still hurt from the thought of loss (for myself, for my children, for my church), but it is outweighed greatly by the joy I have for my friends.  It is such an odd place to find myself.  

My friend told me a few weeks ago.  I had a chance to really process it this week.  I was able to finally tell my children.  They are completely okay.  Sad, but okay.  We are learning what it is like to listen for God's directions and to follow them, and we are learning as a family.  It isn't such a horrible thing.  We are thanking God for his great plans that must be so much better than ours because these certainly aren't our plans.  We are growing in God's grace and love.  It isn't easy, but it must be worth it.  It just has to be.

And God ALWAYS takes care of the smallest details.  I begged of God for many, many seasons...please don't make them move.  I knew that he would never be able to fully use his gifts and talents at our church, and I knew that would mean a new church home for this family.  And I begged that God would provide that somewhere close by so that we wouldn't lose our friends in this season of our lives.  I am just not sure how much more I can handle, and for once, I am confident that God heard me, just as a father hears the heart-felt pleas and cries of a small child.  He gave him a job, in this horrible economy, where he can use his gifts AND doesn't have to move his family.  We are losing them at church, but not in our lives.  I am confident that this is God saying to me, "My daughter, I really do love you.  I know you are fearful because everyone always leaves.  I am not going to take them far.  I told you I will give you what you need, and for now, I know you need this."

And these cute little birds that played at my feet all week?  John tells me that they are sanderlings.  They nest in the tundra and find themselves along the east coast during the fall months as a part of their migration patterns.  Had I been at the beach at any other time, I might not have been entertained by them as I processed all my thoughts.  And the street that my friends live on and get to stay living on?  Sanderlings.  His plan pays attention to all the details.

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