By Dr. Rev. Linda Hollies
My girlfriend and editor, Kim Sadler, called me to ask for prayer as a co-worker-girlfriend of her's had died from the effects of cancer, leaving a three year old son behind. The whole department had rallied around her to say how much they loved her, how much she meant to them and how they were going to care for her baby and other children. They had the time to say good-bye sufficiently.
My girlfriend and editor, Kim Sadler, emailed me today to ask for prayer as another co-worker-girlfriend, who had been at the other co-worker-girlfriend's funeral, had been found dead today! She had appeared well, happy and quite full of life. And, it's apparent that no one had an opportunity to say good-bye to her. She left suddenly, without warning and has left family, friends and co-workers without the ability to give her long and intense good-byes.
Saying good-bye is a living art. Saying good-bye, farewell and asking God to bless other's along the way is something that we can learn. Saying good-bye is difficult, hard and not fun, however, we should all prepare to say good-bye on a daily basis. In these weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas there are some things that we need to examine and say good-bye to indeed. We are approaching the season of Advent and it's our time to make sure that our hearts are a clean manger for the Holy One! This is the time that we have for cleaning out junk, throwing away negative attitudes and old garbage from our life. I pray for the gift of "good-bye"! I pray for the ability to let loose, let go of and say good-bye to as I allow God to bring in the new, the better and the best!
The Apostle Paul knew that he had to say good-bye to the churches that he loved so well. He had founded and worked to establish congregations in southern Greece, Asia, Macedonia and Achaia. As a missionary he had lived with the people, he had worked with the people and he had taught, counseled and loved the people. Paul was a chief shepherd who worked diligently to bring new sheep into the Jesus fold! Paul had some powerful memories of his travels. Paul's ministry had encompassed both the highs, the lows, the good and the bad. He says in Acts 20: 18-21: "You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. I served the Lord with great humility and with tears, although I was severely tested by the plots of the Jews." Doesn't sound as if this great man of God had an easy time in ministry! For he says in verses 22-24: I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me."
Living the life of a believer is not one of easy roads and safe journeys! We are always in conflict with the world around us. Being a Christian was never meant to be a "comfort zone" because we are in a war. So, the enemy of our soul, Satan, is always alert, seeking to pile more baggage on us, so that we can be tripped up, loose our faith and our place in God due to foolishness. In our naivety we allow too much junk to be loaded onto our backs. In our naivety, we hold onto too much garbage. In our naivety, we allow little things to build up, to fester and to aggravate us into doing or saying or thinking ungodly "stuff" as a response. This is where we need to learn the art of saying "good-bye"!
The memory verse for the week comes from Paul: "Keep watch over yourselves....." (Acts 20: 28. Of course there is much more advice in the memory verse, but these four words, alone are priceless! Keep watch over what you allow to rub you the wrong way and you hold it and ponder it, over and over again. Hit the delete button of your mind. Say to yourself, "A godly person would not have done/said this and an ungodly person doesn't know any better." Say good-bye to it!
When you are hurt by rejection, separation or a love gone sour, just remember, "Keep watch over yourself." Learn to thank God for the good times in the relationship. Make notes of the lessons learned from the relationship. Then, hit the delete button of your mind. Say to yourself, "A godly person would not have done/said this and an ungodly person doesn't know any better!" Say good-bye to it!
When disappointment seems to be your legacy and a dark cloud is hanging over your head. Remember, our steps are ordered by God! Our gifts will make room for us. And, all things work together for good to them who love God...! Say good-bye to disappointment, failure and "luck gone bad"! Hit the delete button and don't give it as much energy as it desires. Whisper a prayer when it comes to mind. Light a candle, let it pray for you. Put on some soft, wordless music and chant the name, "Jesus" over and over until he fills your mind with what is good, what is pure, what is lovely, what is awesome in you, around you, because of you and in spite of you! Say, good-bye to it. Don't dwell on it. Don't allow it to take up space as we travel to Advent, awaiting The One who came before and who will certainly come again. May God bless us all to learn how to daily, hourly, even by the minute, to learn the art of saying good-bye to the old, so that we might embrace, with open arms, the new that is coming soon!
On the journey with ya! Shalom! Sista Linda
Rev. Dr. Linda H. Hollies
Let's live holy; laugh often; and let's love with flair and with extravagance!
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