What joy the gospel gives me. I can approach the throne of God with confidence, not because I've done a good job at my spiritual duties, but because I'm clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. ~ C.J. Mahaney

A Higher Purpose {Goodbye through a sister's eyes}

 Lacy and Abby 

{The following post was written by Lacy as we drove home from saying goodbye.}

As Abby, Jonathan, Kyle, {and little Ellee Renée} leave for Africa my heart is heavy and my eyes overflow with tears. The thought of them moving halfway across the world saddens me greatly. However, I take comfort in the One who is sending them: Jesus Christ. It’s because of Jesus Christ that I can face tomorrow. It’s because of Christ that I continue to live and have motivation. It’s certainly not easy to see my sister and her family leave, but God has done so much to prepare me, as well as my family, for this.

Mexico was Abby and Jonathan’s first destination as missionaries. I still remember saying good-bye to them the day they left. My heart was torn in two as I watched them go. I wanted them to stay here, yet at the same time I wanted to go with them. I also remember my mom being worried about communication. I remember the anxiety I felt as they left for a place that I was not very familiar with. Even though it was only for nine months, it was still hard to see them leave.

You want to know the best part though? I remember God hearing our prayers and comforting us during that time. God allowed us to Skype with them on an almost daily basis. I can assure you that the Internet connection wasn’t great, but it was better than nothing! God healed our aching hearts and brought comfort through Skype, a future trip to Mexico for my parents, and His peace.

Nine months later they felt called somewhere else. So they packed up all their belongings and moved back to the US. They found an apartment about 3 minutes away from us. Abby was pregnant with Kyle during this time. Oh my! That was such a joy! I loved watching Abby get bigger and bigger every day. I loved being able to feel Kyle kick, and it was pure bliss when I was finally able to hold that little bundle of love in my arms!!! I’ve loved watching Kyle grow from a helpless babe to a toddling car-obsessed little boy!

As they leave for Africa, it seems like a part of me is being ripped away. I’m excited for them, but at the same time I wish they could just stay here. I LOVE my family and I love it when the WHOLE family can get together under one roof and just laugh our heads off! Sadly, that’s not going to happen again for a while. Today was our last time together. We drove to the AIM headquarters in Atlanta to have a farewell luncheon with all the missionaries that are leaving today, tomorrow, and in the next few weeks. It was a wonderful time of fellowship as we heard the newbie missionaries express their goals/desires and prayer requests with us. Seeing all of them with a heart for missions and personally knowing what they are leaving behind encouraged my heart even more for missions.

After the luncheon we went to Abby, Jonathan, and Kyle’s hotel room. Everyone wished time could have just stopped for a while, but sadly time kept moving and eventually we had to face the dreadful good-bye.

It was hard hugging my sister one last time before she left. I probably would have clung to her much longer, but I knew we had to leave and others were waiting for their last hug. I’ve always looked up to Abby. In a way, she’s my best friend. Just because she’s moving halfway across the world doesn’t mean our friendship will end; in fact, it will keep blossoming and growing. It’s because of Abby that I have the passion for missions that I do now. Abby has been the perfect role model for me when it comes to my faith. Seeing Abby grow into a mature married adult, a mother, and now a full time missionary has had such an impact on my life. To see her with only nine suitcases of their belongings tore at my heart, but showed me how much they were sacrificing for Christ. I’m so proud to be able to call her my sister.

Next I said good-bye to Jonathan. It filled me with joy to see Abby go with her God-given man! It was such a blessing to see that Abby and Kyle were well cared for while they were here. Every day Jonathan would wake up and go to work. Even though his job wasn't mission-centered, he was a faithful worker and a wonderful example for me as I wait for my future husband. Their faith has amazed me. As they prayed for a specific amount of support money one month, I watched God double that amount! What a blessing it has been to be a part of their lives!

Last, but certainly not least, I said good-bye to my little Bambino Kyle (and Ellee). Words can’t describe the feelings I had when I hugged Kyle one last time. How much fun it has been to watch him grow from an infant to a toddling babe. Hearing him say “Bye-bye” felt like a needle piercing my heart. I will miss my sweet Kyle's voice, I’ll miss his baby chatter, and I’ll miss watching him grow up. And to think that my little Ellee Renée may be someone I never personally know saddens me.

In Christ, however, there’s always comfort and peace. I may miss them terribly but God has told them to go, and they have followed faithfully--to the point of sacrificing basically everything they have, leaving behind family, and leaving the comforts of the US. To dull the pain, Christ has given us another little blessing through my brother Bradley and his wife, Hannah. They are expecting a baby the same time as Abby which gives me something to look forward to right now. I’ll miss not holding Ellee Renée when she is born, but having little Jeremiah around will be wonderful! We serve such an amazing God who will not give us more than we can bear! Even in the midst of trials, He gives us blessings.

Abby and Jonathan are truly living life with a higher purpose.  I pray if and when God calls me to that kind of life that I will be able to sacrifice everything I have and follow Him!

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
~Matthew 27:19-20

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
~Acts 1:8

Click this link to watch the video of our last day together.


Living in China said...

This is beautiful, Lacy. I'm so proud of you for letting them go graciously and bravely. I know it helps them greatly that their families understand and support them. I wish I could take the sting out of it. I cried when I read this because I well know the pain of it, and the glory of it, and the grace IN it...

Love and prayers to you and the family.

Cathy Sirmans said...

Lacy, that was beautiful!!! Written with so much love, understanding and maturity!! What a special family you all are! I cried all through the video. God has amazing things in store for your whole family. My prayers are with you all during this difficult but exciting time. I received a beautiful card from Jonathan and Abby today. I will place it where I will see it daily and will be praying for them as they begin this incredible journey! Love to your entire family!!

Cathy Sirmans