by Denise Spooner
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One year ago my oldest son, daughter-in-law and two wonderful grand-children moved away to Arizona, leaving me a very lonely, sorrowful and devastated grandma. I searched my heart as it broke to leave their sight as I boarded the plane and wept all the way back to Oregon. How was my world falling apart just because I could no longer hug and hold Nathen and Tahlya anytime I want to, or see their adorable faces when I'd look back at them in the car while making our weekly lunch run to McDonald's, or pick them up from Sunday school and feel the warmth of their embraces fill my heart to the brim. I pondered on my feelings, the ripping of my heart as I had to let Tahlya's hand go and hug Nathen goodbye as I turned to stand in line with my ticket. For the life of me, I was shocked at the severance that was going on inside of me at that very moment. My tears were hot and salty and I felt as if I were drowning in them. Looking at Tahlya falling apart made me fell like running away with her and holding her until she could breath no longer. When I saw the look on Nathen's face it reminded me of how I felt watching my mother fly way after her last visit to Oregon before she passed away. Everything in me screamed "NO!", but the reality of it all was that I had to board that plane, leave my sweet son, daughter-in-law grandbabies in order for God to begin a new work within me.
I was reminded of Philippians 4:13 which states, "All things are possible through Christ Who strengthens me." How true that was at that very moment. Without God behind me and Jesus carrying me, I would have broke and remained useless to everyone I knew, including my precious family in Arizona. Upon examining my heart and having many chats with the Lord, I found my priorities were way out of whack. I had given my heart to Jesus in 1984, yet the move of my grandchildren, son and daughter-in-law was able to shred my heart to pieces. How could this be?
My heart belonged to my Savior and I needed to guard it with everything within me, yet I was allowing it to be controlled by offspring of my body. Scary indeed. I had made them the center of my world. So where was Jesus then? I cringed to imagine.
The next several months I contemplated what God had been showing me, repenting as He revealed one issue after another to me. I began to feel a burden lift from my shoulders and knew I was finally getting the point. If He is not the center of my life, challenges such as enduring one of the hardest event's I had ever experienced, would overwhelm me and I would be like water in His hands. I had allowed myself to be poured out and split before Him only to be of no use or of any purpose to anyone. What a shame when I lived with the very Spirit of God within me. I was robbing God, my family and friends as well as everyone God put in my path. I needed to be strong for Nathen, Tahlya, Doug and Jess, but if I was not getting my strength solely from God, even they could not rely upon me for anything.
Surrendering my life to God once again had been a challenge I must admit in the area of letting my grandchildren go, but I knew I had the victory once I re-visited them and while tears flowed and I missed them before I ever made it to the plane, my heart did not break but lept for joy to see them again and I was thankful for the time I had visiting them. Peace fell over me about half way home and I realized life was not over and they needed a grandma to be strong and pray for them until we held each other again in some of the tightest hugs a grandchild and grandma could get into.
Challenges can bring victory to our lives, if only we remember who must remain at the center of why we exist and Who is our source of strength as we are given the desires of our hearts because we have put God first and foremost in our lives.
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What an important lesson to learn - learned the hard way, but not easily forgotten. Thank you for this.