It’s been rough physically, it’s been rough mentally, and it’s been rough emotionally. This is the last time that the store will be open in Eldersburg. Memories are thick in that little space. A baby took her first steps there. I wept with a mother who came in to tell me that her dear, sweet, terminally ill daughter had died. I hugged and squealed with another woman who had just gotten engaged finally to the man she had waited all her life to meet. I met my god-daughter there. I have stood behind that counter for years and encourage people, listened to them pour out their hearts, and prayed for the ones that brought in broken pieces of their life to show me.
I’ve also been encouraged by brothers and sisters in Christ who have strengthened me, prayed for me, and held me when I needed to weep. In between all of those things, I have introduced countless readers to amazing authors, helped grandmothers select just the right Bibles for their grandchildren, and pointed out my favorite videos to customers looking for something to watch. It has been an honor and a privileged to serve the greater body of Christ there. It’s been fun, being part of a real small town where everyone knows everyone else.
Emotionally I vacillate between being tired and numb to being incredibly sad. Mentally, I have fought to stay bright and pleasant to the customers who are coming in asking the same question I’ve answered for six weeks. I don’t know how many more “Oh no! You’re closing?!” I can take without rolling my eyes, pointing at the sign on the door or snarking back “No we’re staying open, we just decided to take all the stock out and have you guess what we are carrying from now on.” Physically, I hurt. My back hurts from gardening, my hand got cut on a piece of glass (it’s healing) and my legs ache after carrying, carting, and sorting all the product that is still there.
However, despite all of that, I am very aware of a strength running through my soul that is not my own. It is Jesus who gives me the ability to be kind to the person who has asked for the 4,000th time “Oh no, you are closing?” and it is Jesus who keeps me from breaking down completely. Without Him, I would not be able to do what it is that I am doing. I would not be able to face my uncertain schedule, I would not be able to get done what needs to be done, I would not be able to make it to the end of the week. Even though it feels like I’m drowning, the truth is He will not let the waters of depression, sadness, anger, fatigue, or fear close over my head. His grip is firm, it is true, and it is around me to accomplish His very best for me.
He is even showing me things, parables if you will, as I go about undoing the store. For example, when I was taking away the store’s name from the front window, scraping away the letters, I discovered a message stronger than what I had seen there for years.
In the same way, sometimes He removes from my life good things, so that the very best (the declaration that Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords) is visible when others see it.
What about you? Will you share with me some times that He has removed the good in your life that His best might be clearer seen?