Goodbyes, Lasts, and Good Change

So, in the spirit of leaving for college in LESS THAN A WEEK, I’ve decided to write a little bit about the absolute emotional wreck I’m turning into. I’ve entered into the days of lasts and goodbyes. And let me tell you, goodbyes and lasts absolutely SUCK. I’ve experienced my fair share of them in my life and they’re awful, they’re the worst, they are emotional. But now they’re happening to me and all at once and very quickly. I knew that one of the hardest parts about the transition into college was going to be experiencing my “lasts” and saying my goodbyes, I knew it months ago but it’s actually happening now and it is scary. Somehow leaving for college crept up on me and I’m being completely overwhelmed by all of the feelings. My eyes look like I repeatedly got stung by a hornet or something and I feel like crying every two seconds that I’m alone. But I’m really excited too, so not sure how both of those feelings can exist at the same time. But for future reference, packing through sobs helps.

Last night was my last night of youth group as a student and I’ve been anticipating that day as being  pretty emotional for awhile but now that it’s said and done…boy was it emotional. I actually did pretty well until it was nearing its end and the official “graduating out” part came. But it really was a super sweet ending, my youth group came around us and put their hands on us and my youth pastor prayed for all of the departing seniors and we got ice cream and I sobbed and got lots of hugs. But in all actuality, it was SO GOOD, I wouldn’t have wanted any other night with any other people. I’d been dreading the night for weeks, knowing that it was going to be hard and emotional but I made it, here I am 24 hours later and I’m doing okayokay meaning that I’m not completely going insane but it is hard and I will never deny that. In those moments of quiet and calm it finds a way to hit me and I’m learning that it’s okay to feel, I am the kind of person that feels very deeply–everything. I am emotional, and crying is my response to most things, but this time mourning the end of this chapter is a much needed thing for me. I’ve been trying to find some sort of anchor to all the tears in the last 24 hours and so I keep reminding myself of a few things:

  1. I know that I’m going exactly where God is leading me. I am completely confident in my decision to go to Liberty and every time I think about going to Liberty I get those little flutters of excitement and I get really excited for all of it, I know that I’m not making a mistake there and I have this peace in knowing that all of the sadness isn’t because I’m making a wrong move, it’s because this part of life is a little sad, everything is changing and that’s good reason to be a little emotional.
  2. I’m not losing. Youth Group was an amazing 7 years of my life, no doubt, not a moment of it would I say otherwise but I also know that God has amazing things ahead of me too. This group of kids and leaders in my youth group have helped me through and been there through some of the hardest and most joyous times of my life and that’s so special so it feels like I’m the one losing here because I have to leave all of them and this group behind, but God has such awesome things and people planned for and to be a part of my life in this next chapter too. I know that really I’m not losing at all because yes, youth group was absolutely, positively fantastic but my future is going to be that too, the new people that I come to love will be too. Youth group is not the end of amazing spiritual experiences, God has a new adventure waiting for me at Liberty!
  3. Change is GOOD. If I stayed in youth group for the rest of my life (like I really want to do at the moment) then I would never grow. Part of growing up is change–it’s super uncomfortable, it hurts a lot but God is using this change to draw me toward Him and to teach me to rely on Him more, He’s using this change to stretch me and to change me. Change is part of life and it IS good, sometimes really difficult but good nonetheless.
  4. Trust. As I’ve talked about before, trust is huge. Throughout all of this, I’m having to learn how to trust God more. It takes quite a bit of that to just take God’s word for it and pack up everything and move 4 hours away for college, leaving everybody you love behind. I’m learning to trust that God’s plan is bigger than my own, God is bigger than my fears, God is bigger than my disappointments, God is bigger than my sadness.
  5. I’m so loved. Part of what makes leaving so hard is because I’m fully aware of how loved I am which is something that I struggle with. I do this thing where I never think that I am enough to be loved. I love my friends and family here like no other and it can often feel one sided. But something that really seeped into my soul last night was how absolutely I AM loved. There is no distance that love can’t reach. Not only that, I am loved by the maker of the universe and He is holding me right in the palm of His hand. I’m going to be okay and I’m going to be so loved in this next chapter even when I don’t feel it.

I don’t think I was expecting the goodbyeing process to be so painful honestly. I knew I’d probably cry a little and it would be sad but nowhere in there did I expect full on ugly sobbing (looking back I should’ve guessed though). It’s just the part of leaving behind people who have poured so much into my life and loved on me so hard that is the worst. Like I know I’ll literally see these people in like a month so it’s not even a rational response, they aren’t even goodbyes. And this week I’ve been trying to figure out what about it makes it so hard then. Here’s what I’ve concluded: I’m human, humans don’t like change, leaving for college means change, friends at home are comfortable-they’re easy, friends at college are uncomfortable. And really I’ve been so incredibly blessed by my friends at home so naturally I think it’s normal to feel sad, to feel uncomfortable, to feel the hurt of the break. But I’ve said lots of goodbyes this week and not one of them was easy, and I think that makes me lucky more than anything else.

So all of that said, crying is okay. I’m a literal mess right now and I can’t stop crying but I know that I’m where I’m supposed to be and God is using this weakness for His glory. This change is hard, these goodbyes that are happening in the next few days are going to be really, really hard and emotional and I’m probably not going to stop crying for the next week straight. But I’m learning to put my trust, put my weakness, put my fear, put my sadness in God. He is walking with me through the hard days that are coming, He isn’t leaving me, He loves me, He has a plan for me. I know that this whole college thing is going to be a rollercoaster of emotions, and stretching, and growing, and change but regardless of how much this rollercoaster tosses me around, no matter how much it hurts, God is holding onto me. So as I pack up, as I say those goodbyes, as I do things at home for the last time, I am going to trust that in all of it, God has a plan that’s bigger than mine, bigger than my fears, bigger than my disappointments, and bigger than all of these tears. I’m in for one crazy, awesome, God-led ride!


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