My oldest daughter is away at camp this week.
One would think that with five kids still in the house, the absence of one wouldn’t be felt as keenly.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
I miss her so much, the thought of her brings tears to my eyes. And yesterday those tears made their way down my cheeks many times – it was my birthday, and I didn’t think it would be a big deal that she wasn’t here.
But it was.
And trust me, my brain is aware of how silly this is. I mean, really, she’s at church camp, for heaven’s sake! For four measly little nights! And telling myself the truth does help me dry my eyes (and my cheeks) and get on with my usual routine.
But my brain can’t make my heart stop missing her.
I miss the way she brings specialness to the ordinary, and the way she brings over-the-top to special. I miss her baking and her crazy ideas and her smile and her creativity and her enthusiasm.
Missing her this week has given me the slightest insight into how empty-nesters might feel. I certainly don’t envy them. If I didn’t trust God so completely to give me the grace I need when I need it, I might even dread the whole kids-going-away-to-college thing. But instead, I’ll cross that bridge when I get there, and be grateful I’m not there yet.
I’ve also come to see the utter foolishness behind some of my previous thinking about loss. Whenever someone has lost a child, I’ve found myself thinking, “Well, at least they have other children. It will help with this loss.”
Maybe it does help in some ways, but I’m now pretty sure that the help of having others is probably pretty minimal when compared with the loss of the one. No matter how many others there are.
God’s Care for You
Perhaps the best lesson of all this week has been a teeny glimpse of God’s care for each of us. Personally. Individually.
I think He misses us when we’re not in fellowship with Him.
He misses you in particular. And He misses me in particular.
Because in spite of the fact that He likely has millions of followers in the world today, not to mention the fellowship of billions more in heaven…
the company of the others doesn’t erase the loss of the one.
I understand a little more clearly why Jesus spoke of leaving ninety-nine behind to search for the one (Luke 15:4).
Because even when you have ninety-nine…
you still miss the one.
Do you find yourself distant from Him today, having wandered away from the safety of His fold?
Have you been lured away by distraction…
He’s missing you, friend.
Missing you enough to wait anxiously for your return.
And not only that. He misses you enough to search relentlessly for you.
Enough to pursue you.
And enough to meet you right where you are with a warm embrace and a welcoming kiss that will feel a lot like home and belonging and the sweetest love you could ever know.
But while he was still a long way off,
his father saw him and felt compassion,
and ran and embraced him and kissed him.