I only lived in Oregon for a few months. February through June. Less than half a year. But leaving there wasn't easy... I knew saying goodbye to the now-three Stegalls would be the hardest part. And it absolutely was. Cathi and Mark are family, not friends, and I hated leaving them. And while I'm so unbelievably grateful to have been there for Lincoln's first week of life, I am so sad to be missing all the weeks that have come after that. I'm thankful for pictures and texts and Skype that make Oregon not feel so far away. And no matter where we are, we'll always be the Stodginos. (Stegalls + Hodges + Ronzino... get it? All together now: Awwwwwww!)
It was no surprise that I cried---a lot---over those goodbyes. Or that I was overwhelmed by the mere thought of yet another move... more change... more transition... I talk often of my love/hate relationship with the revolving door of my life. Saying goodbye to new friends who adopted me in when I moved in with the Hodges... well, that just plain sucked.
What I didn't expect was for the Hodges' last weekend at their church to impact me like it did.
It felt like such a gift to be with them for their final weekend of services at the church they helped pioneer and launch. This move was a big one for their family, and the significance of that was not lost on me. But as their pastor spoke such beautiful, honoring words about Brent and Tam and their 13 years of faithful service, I was struck with the weight of all they were leaving behind. The roots... The history... The lives they'd impacted... The community they loved. Hearing the pastor say "13 years", it clicked with me in a new way. 13 years. That's how long I lived in Africa...
Brent and Tam were part of the team that founded the church. They were a vital part of starting, growing, and establishing a now-flourishing ministry. They gave their blood, sweat, and tears to that place... To those people... And God called them to walk away and step into something new.
I couldn't help but be moved to tears at the gravity of all that. Of all they were leaving, but also of their incredible faith to follow. Change is never easy, but I have seen the Hodges embark on it---and embrace it---with grace and fortitude. And tremendous faith. I'm so blessed to do life with this family...
How do you handle change and transition?