Goodbyes are difficult, but they also mark a new beginning. Yesterday was bittersweet. It was yet another day for me to say “Goodbye”. This time to my church family.

I can’t remember a time when these people were not in my life. My family started attending The Church of the Nazarene when I was only two years old. I was in nursery there. I went through the children’s program and the youth group. I formed lasting friendships there, fell in love there, and met Jesus there.

These people had seen me through some of the brightest and darkest days of my life. They were there at my wedding. They were there for death of my grandparents. They threw me a shower to celebrate the birth of my child. They prayed me through one of the worst times of my life, a time in which our family felt rejected, without purpose, and unable to support ourselves.

Then, there were the kids. My husband and I have led the youth at this church for nearly two years. During this time, I have been lucky enough to call these precious teenagers my kids–and they are great kids!

We’ve done concerts, camp outs, fundraisers, parties, and service projects. We’ve shared secrets, discussed ideas, and learned lessons.

This was the bitter part–leaving them behind.

We were sad and nervous. We worried about what would happen to these kids, to the youth program we had built, once we left. But then we got to sit down and talk to the new youth directors, who are also old friends of ours. They were so excited–and I was excited for them! As they told us their plans for the youth group for the year, my heart sighed. I was so relieved to pass the torch to people with such a heart for youth–for these kids who we have grown to know and love. We gave them counsel and advice when necessary, and they shared with us the call that God had placed on their lives. Before we knew it, we had talked for a full hour, right through church service, but in a sense we had our own church service that morning, for God was present through it all.

Afterwards, we hugged and told them to call us if they ever had any questions or needed anything. Then, we said our goodbyes and got into the car. We left with such peace in our hearts, which was such a blessing and a relief after we’d struggled to make this decision for so many months. This. This was the sweet part.

Now, we are off to encounter new adventures, and we are excited to see where God will lead us. But our friends and family at the Nazarene Church will always hold a special place in our hearts, and we will keep them in our thoughts and prayers.

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