Five

Since we announced our date, a lot of people have said to me, “you must be so excited.” And my response has consistently been affirmative. After five years of working, trusting, and hoping, we’re finally seeing God’s calling in our lives coalescing before us. What’s not to be exited about?

Today we hit one of the hard parts. For literally years, we’ve been saying goodbyes. One of the downsides of living in limbo is you never really know when the next time you’ll see someone is. I’ve said goodbye to my brothers and parents many times now, and while each time is difficult, I know that it really isn’t a goodbye because I’ll see them again. Even if I don’t see them again in this life, I know they’ll be there with me in the next.

That isn’t true in every case. Tonight we had to say goodbye to our dog, Aslan. She’s been with us for nine years, since she was just a few week old puppy. While she hasn’t always been the best behaved dog, she has been a fierce lover and protector of us. She’s going to live with some wonderful animal lovers here in Connecticut. But will we ever see her again? At nine years old, it’s doubtful.

That wasn’t the only goodbye of the evening though. Just across the way, the Calvary Chapel teens have put together what they’re calling a coffee house. I didn’t actually see any coffee, mostly soda, and junk food, but the idea is similar. They all hang out in a big room and take turns performing, and — in this case — trying to share the gospel in innovative ways.

Not surprisingly, Britt managed to bring together not just her church friends, but a large contingent of unchurched friends as well (which seemed to be predominately made up of male admirers). She had a great time, and refrained from being even slightly dramatic. (wink).

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Note: this isn’t one of the skits. This is just a candid of her chatting with friends.

Amid the skits, contests, speeches and even a girl solving a scrambled Rubick’s cube in just over a minute, Britt sang her goodbye.

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She chose a song by Barlow Girl called Here’s My Life. It’s a song that explores fairly deeply the feeling of loss that we experience when we have to sacrifice for God while reaffirming the commitment to make the sacrifice. The chorus says:

And God I’m crying out tonight
Cause I’ve given You my life
But I’m tired and I’m missing what’s behind
So once more here’s my life

If you know Brittany, you can imagine the passion she poured into the song as she sang it.

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She’s wrapping up the evening with a sleep-over/friend-a-thon at Aslan’s new home, hopefully easing our dog’s transition, and giving her a chance to say a longer farewell to some of her dearest friends here.

In truth, we have it so easy compared to so many of our brothers and sisters in Christ, it’s almost silly for me to be writing about this. However, coming from our comfortable American life, giving up our beloved dog, and saying hard goodbyes is tough stuff. God keeps asking me this week, what am I unwilling to give up? I fear to even answer the question. The perversity of my human nature wants to respond “haven’t we given up enough already?” And yet I’ve a dear brother in Africa trying to balance the safety of his family against the calling God is laying on his life. My sacrifices are pretty petty, but they still hurt.

Bless you all.

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