Yesterday was Joel's last time at church with us before he leaves. He wanted to say goodbye to the Jr High Sunday School class we've taught for the last 2 years, so we stopped by to see them before the main service started. We love our kids and it was great to see Joel's face light up when he saw all of them again - we haven't taught since the beginning of April due to Joel's work schedule and Autumn arriving a bit early. I'm going to miss seeing them for an hour each Sunday, but I'm excited to get back to teaching when Joel gets home.
After we saw our kids, we headed to find seats for the main service. It was communion Sunday, and I was really looking forward to some quiet reflection time. We sang a few hymns, and I just soaked it in as Joel and I sang together with Grace next to us - I love that special family time of worship. I started getting teary during the songs, because I kept thinking about the next several months of me doing Sunday's alone and how much I'll miss Joel next to me on a Sunday morning. Then our Worship Pastor told us to put on our "happiest face" and greet those around us. Happy face? I wasn't feeling it. At all. So much so that I just completely broke down and tears started coming full force.
I think I told Joel something about needing to check on the baby, and I ran out of there. Every one was standing up shaking hands and making small talk... I had to bob around people in the aisle to find the quickest path to the door. By the time I made it to the back, I was a mess. Tears were dripping off my face and I started making that blubbering noise when the tears just come too hard. The ushers in the back took one look at me and parted like the Red Sea. I ran to the bathroom, tried to pull myself together. But I just couldn't.
I knew I couldn't make it through the service and I sure wasn't going to hang out in the bathroom for the next hour, so I decided to hang out with my smallest mini-me in the nursery. Fortunately, two of my girlfriends at church were in the nursery for the service. They've seen my cry plenty, so I knew I was in a safe place. For the next hour, I rocked Autumn and cried off and on. It felt so good to just get it out.
Over the past few months I've tried to prepare for the deployment in my head and have held back the tears. Well, for the most part. I've made list of to-do's and lined up help for the yard work and the girls. I've tried to prepare practically, but have ignored my heart in the process. Mostly because I didn't want to deal with a flood of tears.
I know in my head that I'll survive the next several months. I know I'll have the help, if I ask. I know I'll have many great adventures with the girls. I also know, that most likely, Joel will come back just fine. I know that our marriage will be stronger at the end of this and that I'll be able to do all that's ahead of me. I also know of how hard the separation is, how awkward the phone calls are because of the delay and how my nights will feel incredibly lonely.
But I've kept things so much in my head that I think my heart needs to catch up some. It's ok for Joel to see me cry. As uncomfortable as it makes him feel. Hopefully he sees it as a sign of how much I love him. I'm glad to have friends who are fine with me crying, as ugly as it may get. I'm thankful for family who can hear me vent and not feel the need to offer advice, but merely offer a warm hug. And I'm most thankful for a God who knows my every need, my every hurt and sees my every tear.
I know from past experiences, that God does His best work when our hearts are open and often broken. I love that He is known as the The Great Comforter and that He promises to help us in our weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:9 "But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly for my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."