It’s Okay….

And so it was that yesterday was the official ‘send-off’ for our family –

moving to Africa

I’ve heard it said that Americans {and probably most of the world} don’t really like to allow time to properly grieve.

No doubt, grieving, in any form, can often make people quite uncomfortable.

There’s a loss, a drastic change, a death, a move, a relationship vastly altered and friends and family just want everyone to feel all better – quick!   Sometimes friends and family ignore the person who is grieving or they pretend that everything is okay, as though talking about “it” will make the person grieving think about “it” – silly us – they are thinking about ‘it’ – no matter what!

Most want to ignore pain, loss of any type, drastic changes or deep heartache…after all, it’s work to properly grieve.

I know, as a counselor for all those years, that many sat in my office completely unable to be honest about their feelings.  Rather they had stuffed all the God-given emotions and feelings from years of heartache, loss and pain –  thinking it was not fun to be honest {or perhaps there had not been anywhere safe to be honest} about how they had felt over the years – and actually that is precisely why they had ended up sitting in my office.

Personally speaking, I remember, all too well, standing watching our home burn while firefighters, fully suited and wearing oxygen tanks, rushed back and forth, alleviating each other of the difficult task of attempting to stop the flames that were ravishing through our precious log home.  In the midst of all the chaos a very kind friend from church stood next to me and cheerfully quipped, “Hey, you’re going to get new furniture out of this!”

I stared in disbelief, thinking, “Tell me, you did not just say that – Really?”  

I actually wanted to respond, “I don’t want new furniture {we had saved and saved for about 20 years and had finally about a year prior purchased a new sofa} and that I didn’t want the fire, and no thanks, I don’t want anything different!”

No doubt, this friend {who really did mean well} was undoubtedly uncomfortable with sadness and grief and was not able to grasp that I needed the opportunity to grieve for a season.

And so it is in my soul right now.

I know it was only God who gave us our precious daughter.

I know God called Emma to serve in Africa many, many years ago.

I know God is going to do mighty things through our treasure-girl.

I know that lives have already been changed {forever} because of Emma’s unwavering devotion to the orphan and serving the God she so desperately loves.

And I also know that thousands and thousands of more lives will be forever changed in the days ahead because of Emma’s selfless life.

I know all that.

But right now, our hearts ache for the very real loss of not having Emma live at home ever again but rather on the other side of the world.

And it’s okay that I say that.

It’s okay for each of us to cry {alot}.

It’s okay that our hearts literally ache.

It’s okay that we feel that.

It’s okay that we are honest.

It’s okay not to pretend.

And right now, as tears are truly ever-present, I’m going to just regroup and spend some time grieving.

Although I’m rejoicing in my soul that God has called Emma, I’m also grieving that things will never, ever be the same again.

I’m grieving that our beautiful brown-eyed, tender-hearted, hysterical sense of humor, easy-going daughter is not sitting at the kitchen counter smiling back at me as I type this.

And it’s okay to say that. 

Thank you to all who have left messages on Facebook that we are on your heart and you are praying for us.  With each comment, text, message, email, I have dripped tears – no doubt, each are much-needed, gentle love taps from the Lord.

Thank you for caring –
and showing it. 

68 thoughts on “It’s Okay….

  1. Oh Linny. I am weeping as I read this and see the pictures of your sweet kids saying goodbye to their sister. I am so sorry you had to say goodbye to her, I can't even imagine how hard this is on your mommy heart. I love you.

  2. Oh, sweet friend, you have been in our prayers too as you all grieve what was and will never be….You are so right on that we need to grieve, for if we do not it will come out some other way in the future. In my heart I am holding you gently as my tears mix with yours while you and your family live with the sadness you all feel at the same time her adventure is just beginning. Quite the mix of feelings I am sure. Hugs and more hugs….

  3. Oh Linny, thank you for being honest with your grief. You are right, some people are just so uncomfortable with grief. And those of us who enter into any type of grief that has long lasting implications often find ourselves feeling alone and longing for understanding. I'm swallowing tears just reading the post. I will be praying for comfort for you all, and for you to be able to ride the waves of grief as they come. And I'll pray that God will put people in your life who aren't afraid of grief and who have a gift of sensitively loving on you guys in these coming weeks, months, and years when grief pops up out of the blue.

  4. My Sweet Linny I grieve with you as a mom what a hard thing to do even when we know God has them in his hands. I am so proud of her and of you for letting Go. She is very brave. PRaying for you my precious sweet friend. Love Anne

  5. I have been thinking so much about you. It's hard for me when I know my kids are doing exactly what I know the Lord wants them to do, and I'm so stinking proud of them….but it just makes a mama sad when they are called away from us. I loved your heart in this post. I never know how to handle my sadness because I'm afraid people will think I'm sad for their choices…and I couldn't be happier…I just miss them when they are gone. God bless you Linny.

  6. Praying for your sweet family, and Emma as she begins this new journey. And thank you so much for sharing the truth of your life! I only recently began following your blog (as we are fellow Phoenicians and God is beginning to tug at our hearts to adopt), so this is my first comment – but I so enjoy reading your posts! Thank you for being real and being a blessing to the rest of us!

  7. Oh Linny and family…my heart aches for you. The majority of my family lives overseas as missionaries. Good-byes are so tough. Yes, they (an Emma) are doing God's will, but we still grieve the time apart. Even after 25 years of this in our family, it still hurts. Every.single.time. You're right, it's okay to cry and grieve. It's all a part of the package. May you feel His presence as you cry out to Him. I am praying. Love and Hugs!

  8. We love you so much, Linny! We rejoice and grieve with you too! Thanks for being honest! We are PRAYING for you. We know he is holding you close to his heart during this emotional and difficult time. Annalisa

  9. Prayers for all of you as you grieve. Thanks for your beautiful words on grief. And thanks for being a momma who lets her little birds fly even though it breaks your heart.

  10. wow – i bet your heart is in pieces but at the same time i bet your heart has grown, more than doubled in size, with the pride and love and the amazement you have for your daughter. Things will never be the same…for you,your family or for Uganda 🙂

  11. I hear you Linny! I pray that our girls will be a blessing to each other. I still have a hard time thinking that Amy is not coming home. When she went in October she was going with the intention of coming back in a year. After about 2 weeks she said, "Mom, I am home, I can not move back to Canada. This is where God has called me and I will be here until He shows me differently"
    Thank-you God for choosing this child of Yours to be Your hands and feet for those dear dear children.

  12. Tears here too. Praying for this precious daughter of yours. They are only given to us in Trust. Prayer for her safety now and in every step. Prayer that she will always feel the presence of God and not dispair. Prayer that she will have a long, happy and productive life in Africa. For we do not know the future, but can only put our faith in Christ.

  13. As another daughter who "moved to the other side of the world for an unknown length of time," know that you are in my prayers. When people say that I am brave and courageous for what I did…. I explain that it's my parents who are brave. TO love and support me in China even though I know they miss me greatly.

    Praying for you!


  14. I hope Emma has a safe journey! I think you are right about Americans do not know how to grieve. 3 weeks after my momma died, my brother and a few cousins couldn't believe that I wasn't over my mom dying.


  15. So thankful that you are willing to share your sweet daughter with the world. Praying for you that the God of all comfort will give you sweet visions of His plans for her life. Praying for your babies because I know they will miss her so much!

  16. Oh Linny my heart hurts right along with y'all as I sit here with tears running down. Brings back so many memories of when I said goodbye to my husband as he left for his deployment to I#$q and Afg@#istan.

    Hugs to you all.


  17. As a mother myself I understand how you feel, pray that God for bring healing your grief. It is joy that God has chosen your daughter for a particular task,and that Emma has been obedient to God's call. Will continue pray for Emma's safety and also DW and team.

  18. aw, sorry that Emma is now too many miles away from you. But so glad that she has a heart to serve God and to help the orphans. Oh Linny, I'd be crying too. I will be praying for you and the family as you all adjust. I'm sure Emma is missing all of you as well….sigh! :0_

  19. It is the hardest thing to do, to say good bye to a child going far away. I went through it many years ago when my son left to live and work in Australia, and my daughter in Canada. thos moments as they went through the check out gates were so sad. But they tell me that the best thing I ever did for them was to encourage their independence.
    I hope emma managed to collect everything she needed for her trip. I did offer to gift her some things but never heard back, so presumed her needs had ben met.

  20. Oh!! Feel – feel it all – embrace it and love it too – because it is as much a part of you as joy…and no that there will come a time when peace returns…and when you and Emma will meet again!

    hugs and prayers – aus and co.

  21. Praying for you all!! Your girl is gonna change the world!! And God is with her all the way.

    on a side note, DH and I are trying to adopt from africa, we have had a difficult time…Congo they say wont allow large families…help please 🙂

  22. Praying for you, your famiy and Emma during this season of transition. It is so wonderful to know that she is following the Lord's call on her life, and that He will use her mightly! But also bittersweet in that you want her near you. What a jumble of emotions and feelings to work through…praying that the Lord provides comfort to you all. Hugs sent from our famiy to yours!

  23. I've followed along a very long time and occasionally comment. But wanted you to know that your family is on my heart today and I'm praying for you as you grieve, and praying for Emma as she continues this amazing journey God has called her on. (hugs)

  24. I will be praying for all of you during this time of transition…I understand the need to grieve, as my marriage of 23 years is now coming to an end due to domestic violence. As someone from my church said to me, "It is like a death that never happens." I am thankful that the Lord meets us in our grief, right where we are, and holds us in His arms. Blessings to you as you walk through this time.

  25. Praying for all of you. Hoping her calling lives up to what she is heading to. I am sure she will touch many hearts while she is there. Thank goodness for SKYPE!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Hugs your way.

  26. Dear Linny,
    My heart aches for you and your family. I know the pain of saying permanent goodbyes is so real and so hard. It is good that you are grieving even though it is hard. I am praying for each one of you.
    The LORD your God is with Linny,
    He is mighty to save.
    He will take great delight in Linny,
    He will quiet Linny with His love,
    He will rejoice over Linny with singing."
    Zep. 3:17
    Love to you and your family,

  27. Oh! What precious words you share!

    It is so okay with God for us to mourn a loss or a change in our lives…and so much more precious when we thank Him for what we had when we had it through. Oh, Linny I am crying as I type just being a mama and knowing how hard those changes are for us.

    So – lots of tears and smiles and empty hearts and laughter are to come. We are praying for you and the family and looking towards hearing all the wonderful stories and praise reports coming from her obedience.

  28. Praying for sweet Emma and your family. Praying God continues to guide her hands and feet..that HIS name is made famous and that HE gives her joy. What a wonderful young lady, I have been blessed by watching her, via blog, grow in the Lord, excited to see what God does through her. All is grace

  29. Oh my, having a wonderful 7 year old daughter safely at home with me, I can't imagine how I'd grieve if she ever left…especially the country. You and your family will be in my prayers because although I know you want God's will for Emma, surely you must also want her home with you. Thank you for your honesty, that it would give others the understanding that it IS okay to grieve.

  30. I'm still crying in RI! Every time i look at Olivia I think of Emma. The relationship the two of you have so reminds me of mine and Liv's.
    Two peas in a pod! Grieve and cry all you need to Linny, we're all missing her with you!
    Hugs and kisses!!!

  31. Ah yes, the grow 'em up and watch them fly idea is great until they really truly leave the nest…for good. Said goodbye to our oldest yesterday and sending out third oldest to Haiti in a week. The partings come faster and faster as they grow older. Praying for you through this time and for Emma as she goes to serve.
    Keep up the God work.

  32. It is okay. I'm thankful you wrote this post. I have some experience with grief and am currently experiencing it through my newly-adopted daughter in a very real and emotionally consuming way. I never thought a 2 1/2 year old with Down syndrome would grieve so profoundly, but she is. It has vividly brought back the time when I had another 2 1/2 year old grieving. But my son had just lost his dad. My sweet girl lost everything. She doesn't realize that it had to happen so she could have a good life and a family. She doesn't know that she couldn't stay at her wonderful child care center forever. She doesn't know that all of her friends are (hopefully) going to various families all over the U.S. She doesn't know that her loving caregivers went home to their own families at night and we're going to care for her for the rest of their lives.

    I'm sorry for going off on my own tangent, but I have been immersed in grief for the past few days so your post really struck home. We definitely are uncomfortable with grief in this country as all of the widows in my young widows group would attest to. I am thankful that you are so wise and are teaching your children the truth about grief (not to mention, everyone grieve, but it comes out in unexpected and often ugly ways when it is not properly dealt with.)

    Praying for you and your sweet family, and especially your wonderful girl on the other side of the world.

  33. Praying for you…..Our hearts are aching with yours but knowing that Emma being in God's perfect plan/will for her life is the absolute safest place for her to be. Such a scary but very proud moment for you as her parents. You've raised her to be the woman of God he knew her to be before he formed her…Thank you for sharing this personal time with us, we love you and are praying for your family!

  34. You have no idea how this post touched my heart. I, too, am grieving. My son Matthew, his wife Regina, and our only grandson, Matt Jr., will very soon embark on their journey of a thousand miles to serve the people groups of South Asia. This very evening they moved out of our house to live with Regina's parents before their travel begins. I treasure your words and will continue to allow myself to grieve through this process. My prayers will continue (I have followed and prayed for you for some time now) to include you and your family. I smile when I think that God showed me your blog long ago so that I could fall in love with you and your family knowing that I would need your wisdom and that we would share this journey with our children. Blessings to you and thank you for your testimony to so many.

  35. I am crying tears for you remembering how my mom, kids and myself cried and grieved when we moved to Australia. It was terribly hard to leave and I thought my heart would break in two even though I was sure it was the right thing to do. I'll be in prayer for you and your family. Even though we don't know each other personally, I am so proud of the daughter you have raised to love our God and His children!

  36. Linny,

    Know that me and my family are praying for you all, but also know that you are not alone! My mother found that when she said goodbye to me when I left at 19 to move to the Philippines, that God had called her to a new ministry also. She was able to come alongside other mothers, esp those who had children that were being called into missions. She was able to encourage the mothers and help them in how to grieve and process the transition and what to expect when their children left or came back for visits. She realized that when God called me to missions, He also called her to the ministry also, just a different angle of it.

    We are praying for you all as you adjust to a new 'normal'.

    love and blessings,

    ~ To God Be the Glory

  37. oh my- I so understand… when Katie left for Germany the tears flowed. I couldn't stop them even if I wanted to…

    Thinking about you all and saying prayers for you…

    Prayers going to Emma too…

    HUGS dear friend

  38. Oh Linny…what a great post. I think you are right about how we all try to just move on like everything is okay and not take the time to grieve. I've seen it time and again in my own life. I hope you take the time you need and know you are all being lifted up in prayer. The pictures tug at your heart strings and brought tears to my eyes. I am so excited to see what the Lord will do through Emma's obediance! With love, Charissa

  39. I so know this pain…I'll never forget the day our son pulled away from our home to head to North Dakota where he is still stationed in the Air Force. I felt as if a part of my heart had just pulled out of me. And a dear friend told me a part of your heart is gone but that's the part that your son took with him because he needs it! Hang in there and cry all you want there are still days I cry and it's been 3 years!! We are blessed to see him about 2 times a year and each time we put him back on that plane to North Dakota my husband & I walk out of the airport crying with a broken heart. I don't think I'll ever get use to him being so far away. you could try what my husband did…someone told him chocolate makes people happy so I got up one morning at 6am to find him crying over a huge bowl of chocolate ice cream…he said it didn't help…but you could try! praying for all of you!

  40. Linny, I have fasted and prayed with you over the past few years and I will continue to pray for you, your family, and Emma. I know that you are very proud of her. on December 7, China told us "no" that we could not complete the adoption of our son- we were waiting for TA. We are grieving. It is a pain that just will not go away. So much so, that we have asked again, to please reconsider. We are believing, despite how impossible it sounds, for the impossible to be made possible. Will you also pray for us? Love, Kim

  41. OH, Linny! I have been so far behind on blogs of note. I hardly have time to update my own. My heart rejoices and aches with you. Rejoices that Emma is serving God is such a mighty way. Rejoices that you have yet another grandbaby on the way.

    Grieves with you that you heart aches at seeing Emma go.

    Oh, how we must let go and grieve sometimes. Our son spent his first Christmas away from home…deployed….this year. I did fine until he called Christmas Eve. So glad to hear from him, but the reality of his not being there hit hard at that moment.

    And, my husband and I will no longer be married next month. After nearly 30 years of marriage. Oh, boy have I grieved. This was not part of the dream I had after adding child #6 and #7 to our family.

    I grieve some days, but I also look forward…to the great adventure God has in store for each of us when we look to Him and trust Him.

    Bless you, sweet Friend, for sharing the joyous and the painful.

    Blessed Mom of 4 and More

  42. Dear Linny, I check your blog a couple times a day to see if you are doing okay!!! We love you and we're praying for you!!! What a sacrifice you have given to God- like Abraham giving up Isaac by faith. I've been going back and reading older posts! Thank you so much for the way you allow God to use you and the way you share his heart for the orphans. It had really changed by life! Annalisa

  43. I keep coming back here to check your blog, and every time I see that last pic of Emma and Graham, my eyes sting with tears! Have you packed your bags yet to move the whole family in with her in Africa? :O)

  44. Dear Linny,
    As I sit here with tears pouring down my face for your family, I just wanted to say that I know this pain. You are so right that in this country, many people don't know what to do with grief and sorrow. We will morn to to end of time the demolish of our car, but our child is to be passed on to the next phase with a tear and the wave of a hanky and then move on and don't bother me with your grief. I wish that I could give you all a big ole hug around the neck and that we could blubber and sob till the cows come home. Linny, I'm praying for you as you find your way and hold on to Jesus and your Treasures while doing so.

    Love to you and yours,

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