Today I‘ll be at Target…all day. Or maybe I’ll watch nine or ten back-to-back romantic comedies. Anything to help me forget people I love are leaving and the changes in my home and church are really happening. I must ignore all of this because I’m too tired to cry over the inevitable. Crying doesn’t change anything anyway, except the look and positioning of my freshly applied mascara. So today I’m going to shop or eat (or both).
Our youth pastor of 9 years is moving. I’m sad for our church, but I’m also sad for me. He is taking with him his wife (my dear friend) and his three children that my daughter adores and has babysat for years (the nerve of this guy). Our middle school director is leaving for college and our rental son left for Africa today. He left early so we didn’t even get to pray with him or hug him goodbye and worst of all, five days after he returns we’ll do this all over again when he leaves for good.
Then there’s August. The month when the days are getting shorter, nights are getting cooler, and the evil first day of school reminds us our children are a year closer to moving on as well. The month that plagues me with the thought that summer is also leaving and I didn’t do one-tenth of the things I planned to do with my kids.  How late is Target open?
What lesson can be learned from checking my Cartwheel app and eating Fritos in lieu of dealing with reality? What spiritual insight can be gleaned from my desire to watch John Cusack movies and cry into a bowl of popcorn? Honestly, I’m not really sure, but I do know this.
Before becoming a sold out follower of Jesus, I would not have let someone live with us for six weeks. I would not have gotten as close to our youth pastor’s wife. Before Jesus got ahold of me I didn’t love as deeply or care as much about other people (who weren’t named Laura). Before becoming a Jesus girl I got hurt less, but I was empty. I cared about people if they first cared about me. Before becoming a Jesus girl I was safer, but I was weak, lonely and relationally poor. What did I learn today trying not to cry? That I wouldn’t go back to my controlled, benign and less hurt-filled life for anything.
“Dear Lord, thank you for all the sweet friends and family members you have allowed me to love and that I will miss. Please bless and protect them as they go. Thank you for showing me that in You I love, care and hurt more deeply and that that’s good. Thank you that following You means my pain has become supernaturally and beautifully intertwined with gratitude, peace and love and because of that no tear or hurt is ever wasted. In Your Name, Amen.”