How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.
-Winnie the Pooh
Earlier this summer we were honored to throw a going away party for dear friends. (Side Note - Going away parties are a bit odd, aren't they? It is a party celebrating the fact that someone you dearly love is leaving? We may never see you again- Let's Party!)
Circumstances and decisions beyond our friends' control led them to seek a new direction from God. Sometimes the decisions of others affect our lives, and it can cause significant pain with unexpected life change. In those moments, we have a decision to make. Will we trust a perfect God or will we allow bitterness and anger to dictate our lives? I have tried the bitterness technique. If I am honest, it feels good for a few weeks. But, the hurt starts to eat at my soul. It becomes cancer, controlling my behavior and blocking how I relate to God.
Forgiveness is not easy and does not condone the behavior of those who hurt us. But, forgiveness frees us to be open to God’s movement. God can use pain to change our trajectory, prune our hearts and move us closer to Him. So, as we celebrated this family, our eyes looked upward not inward. Trusting God’s goodness and faithfulness because He brings us through pain and into something breathtakingly beautiful and new. Our going away party became a celebration of God's great vision for our lives.
We made lemon and seeded eucalyptus arrangements. Placing them on craft paper with scripture about God's calling written in between the arrangements. We set the silverware in small paper bags, found at Michaels, wrapped them in twine with a single silver dollar eucalyptus leaf on it.
Why lemons? When the rental company brought the tent and tables the mustard-yellow, dated chairs were a complete surprise. Expecting white, I wondered how I could make them look better? Cover all 50? Then I remembered the lemons! Yay citrus- some how the yellow in the lemons tied together the ugly chairs. It was a "going away party" miracle!
Another mishap-after arranging all 15 centerpieces in cute mason jars a gentle breeze came by and knocked them all over. WHAT??? So, I hunted through my house and used every pot, watering can, and pitcher I own. Ta-da an "eclectic" table!
My daughter designed the Kids Tent. We used a table folded with blankets under it to provide this sweet picnic area. We had markers and crayons ready for them to create under twinkling lights of their own.