“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
One week ago today I had to say a very painful goodbye to our first grandchild Reagan Faith, who is 16 months old, and her Momma, our second daughter Hannah, as they left Fayetteville, NC. They were leaving to join my son-in-law, who was already at their new duty assignment in Ft. Rucker, AL. It was a very sad day for me. You see, I had the privilege to care for my granddaughter almost everyday as her Mom completed her commitment as an active duty nurse on Ft. Bragg over the last 13 months. My daily interaction and precious time watching her grow, learn, and love as children do had been precious, and as I prepared to say goodbye, I knew they would soon be coming to an end. I knew in my mind they needed to go! Our sweet Raegan Faith needed her Daddy and our Hannah needed her husband! They had already been separated for three months and now they would finally be together as a family.
The truth is my heart was breaking weeks in advance at the thought of our granddaughter being so far from us. Every time I tried to speak a word of encouragement to my daughter, as she counted down her days left in the Army and looked forward to being reunited as a family, tears would fill my eyes and I could not speak. Oh, how my heart was hurting.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” It was in each of these moments I would recite this verse and pray. I would ask God to comfort me as I wrestled with my Grandma’s heart and His best plan for their lives.
“Rejoice always!” God knew we needed to hear this especially in the most challenging and painful times in our lives. He has given us the spirit of joy, and it is a choice to walk in it when we find ourselves in difficult times. Joy overflows from a heart that believes God is good and His ways are perfect. I believe this for my life, but now I must believe it for my adult children and their families.
“Pray without ceasing!” Prayer is our lifeline to God. God created prayer so we could connect with Him anywhere and all the time. All I knew to do as my heart was overwhelmed was to talk to God. As I did, He drew me close and comforted my heart.
“In EVERYTHING give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you!” God commands us to remember to be thankful no matter how painful or difficult the circumstances in our lives. This was difficult but I continued to thank God for each day as my hope was in Him. I knew I could trust Him with this new season of my life as a grandmother.
By God’s amazing grace I was able to follow the instructions given in this verse to help me in the weeks, days and even each painful moment as I approached the day of saying goodbye to my precious second daughter and our first granddaughter. I was truly able to rejoice for them to be reunited as a family. I know it was because of the constant connection to my Heavenly Father through prayer that comforted my hurting heart. Finally, I was reminded to be thankful. I thanked the Lord for my daughter who made the tough decision to lay down her Army career to join the ranks of the most important profession of all, a full time wife and Momma. I thanked the Lord for sending our adult children to a new assignment where they could be a light for Him, and finally I thanked the Lord for the gift of my beautiful granddaughter and for the special place she would always have in my heart because of our daily time together.
I am so thankful God is good, and my place of refuge. He is a trustworthy Father who used this painful situation in my life to teach me to rely on Him even more.