Grieving the Goodbyes…Again

I said goodbye to my youth pastor yesterday.

That was difficult.

Even though I’ve only known him for a few years, it was still so hard. I tried to hold back tears as I thought about him leaving.

And I don’t even cry at funerals.

I drove away from our church pondering the reality that I may never see him or his family again. I can’t remember specific events that impacted me so much, but I do know that he and his family impacted my church and desired to draw us toward Christ.

Are goodbyes supposed to be this hard?

He wasn’t supposed to leave so soon. He was supposed to stay at my church forever…right?

True, it wasn’t my turn to leave. That made the situation slightly easier because I wasn’t going anywhere new. (You may remember I did go somewhere new last year–and it was an adjustment!)

But it was his turn to leave. And I had to trust that he was following God’s leading…even if it was far away from us.

Have you ever had to say goodbye to someone who was leaving? Maybe it was a sibling who was joining the military or a parent who was starting a new job or a friend who was moving to a new home? I’m sure you can relate. Goodbyes are hard, even when you’re not the one leaving.

Sure, my youth pastor and his family are just a call, an email, or a text message away.

But they won’t be with me.

Sure, I could visit them sometime if I wanted to.

But they won’t be with me.

Sure, I could catch up with them over Skype and see their happy faces.

But they won’t be with me.

Who will be with me? Who will be with them?

He will.

Jesus will.

“…and lo, I am with [them] always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)

There is One who my youth pastor will never have to say good-bye to. He doesn’t have to worry about being alone because Christ will be with him to the end of the age—even at a new church that is hours away.

My youth pastor knows what his goal should be: to draw people to Christ. And in this new season of life, he can do exactly that. Glorifying God and leading others should be my top priority. Even in the stages of sadness and adjustment, we can still share Christ with others.

Before I end this post, I wanted to say this to my youth pastor and his family:

I know you are well-aware of this, but I just wanted to say that I’m going to miss you guys. I’ve enjoyed our last few years together, and our church won’t be the same without you. This is going to be hard transition, but God is with you. He is with you at your new job, your new home, and your new church. He holds you as you say the hard goodbyes and the hard hellos. Jesus will never say goodbye, and we never need to say goodbye to Him. I know you guys will be a blessing at your new church, and you will be in my prayers as you begin this new season of life. Jesus is with you. Always.

16 thoughts on “Grieving the Goodbyes…Again

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  1. It sounds like you have said a lot of goodbyes! That’s tough, and I know how you feel.

    I do believe that, if we are Christians, the Holy Spirit lives inside us and doesn’t leave us. That can and should be our comfort when we say hard goodbyes! Thanks for reading!

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  2. Grace, I’ve definitely experienced hard goodbyes as well. I’ve lost a very close loved one, my sister went to college 12 hrs away, and some of my friends live an hour away, some 5, and some 24. It’s so hard to say goodbye after I see them, cause I never know if I’ll see them again here on earth. Being WITH them is what I want, BUT GOD IS EVERYWHERE. That is my comfort! Thanks for writing this post. It’s encouraging!

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  3. I agree, goodbyes are so hard… but what you said is so encouraging and so true, even if we must say goodbye to every single person we know, we will never be alone because Jesus is with us always, how comforting! 😀

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  4. That’s insightful, Sara. I think it’s definitely hard for the one leaving because they’re going somewhere completely new, but it’s also hard for the one staying because someone they love won’t be a part of their life anymore. 😦 But that doesn’t make the situation unbearable; it just creates an opportunity to rely on God!

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  5. Goodbyes can be so hard! I’ve moved around a lot on my life, and I sometimes wonder if it’s harder to be the one staying behind. Those of us moving have something to look forward to, even if it’s new and strange and we’re leaving people we love behind. But those staying behind don’t get that.

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  6. There can definitely be a balance between making goodbyes too easy and too hard! If you trust the Lord, He will sustain you through any goodbye.
    And it’s good to not form too strong an attachment to any place or any person. After all, this world isn’t our home and we’ll have to leave it someday. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve experienced youth pastors leaving too. It’s hard. And having to say good bye to a friendship was hard too. Thanks for the reminder that Jesus is always with us no matter what! Our goal should always be to glorify Him! Your youth pastor sounds like a neat person. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow! I can definitely relate to your pain. I have moved around a lot in my life, and with that have had to say goodbye a lot. I might be moving later this year and have begun to worry a little bit. It has been hard lately for me, so thank you, thank you, thank you for the reminder!!!

    Madeleine 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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