Another "Last" Thing

Forest Home has become something of a second ministry home for me. Even though it's only for specific events like summer camp, winter camp, and Young Adult Briefing, my connection to their ministry has truly felt like a partnership--such that saying goodbye to this place and this community (for our move to New Jersey for school) feels a bit like it has felt to say goodbye to my church (which I am preparing to do in the next few weeks). This is my final summer camp at Forest Home as the Youth Pastor at FCC Ramona. It's just another "last" thing on a long list of final things that have come or are coming before we move--last conference, last staff meeting, last visit, last month, last sermon, last talk, last day, etc. I really am going to miss this community.

But what has become more real this week is that I am going to miss the students I've been bringing up here for the past few years, the students of FCC Ramona. As this week has progressed, God has helped me come to terms with one outstanding fact: saying goodbye is hard. And I realized that I've still got some grieving to do over leaving these students. For the past four years I have had the incredible privilege of occupying a space in their lives, of having a role in the story of their relationship with God. In a matter of days I will have to surrender that space and give up that role. I will have to trust God enough to let go of my control and my legacy. Brent, their new Youth Director (who has already started working this month so that we can have some intentional overlap) is here, and watching him bond with the kids and lead discussions has been a bit surreal... the best comparison I can come up with is that it's a bit like giving your kids up for adoption, watching yourself be replaced. But it's simultaneously exciting, encouraging, and painful.

This process has been really good--good for me, for the students, and good for Brent. I am learning to trust God as I say Goodbye to the familiar and watch it develop, and there is so much promise in the future, even if it's a future I hadn't truly expected. God is good! God is faithful! This has been proven to me over and over. And though I grieve, though I cannot deny the difficulty of leaving people I love, I can trust and I can follow and I can hope.

Thank you God for the things you are doing.