If you’ve known me for a minute, you’ve probably watched me cry as I’ve said goodbye.
I hate them, the last hugs and heart ache as I let go, not knowing what will happen before I see the person next. Airport goodbyes with a hundred eyes watching and all I want is to drop my bag and say, “I can’t do this, I can’t go back.”
Unfortunately for cross-cultural workers, goodbyes come with the territory, don’t they? I’m sure you can conjure up images of your own teary farewells, those last hand-squeezes and the ache that doesn’t quite go away.
In the last section of Sacred Siblings, Sue Eenigenburg and Suzy Grumelot talk about letting go. This is such an important topic for all of us, no matter what life stage we are in. Our parents and siblings say goodbye to us. We might need to say goodbye to kids and grandkids. We watch teammates make the hard decision to return to their passport country or move on to another assignment. Or we take the step of obedience that involves hard goodbyes.
Sue wrote in chapter sixteen, “We follow, even when it hurts. We obey, though the cost is steep. We know in our hearts—and desire our children and grandchildren to recognize fully as well—that Jesus Christ is worthy of such sacrifice”.
As I was thinking about this section and reflecting back on the book, I pondered how release is needed in so many aspects of Kingdom work and teammate relationships. Jesus is worthy of our sacrifices as we say goodbye to home and family and we reflect His glory when we sacrifice for one another. As a single, there will be challenges to loving and serving my teammates well but I can be a light to the culture around me as I do so. And my brothers and sisters are so valuable that these sacrifices are worth it.
I can serve my teammates well as I let go of my expectations and listen to their hearts and needs. I can serve them by communicating my own needs well, sharing vulnerably and honestly as I let go of pride or fear and let them serve me too.
Reading this book this month has built up a desire in me to communicate value, to look for ways to encourage the people around me who may not feel that value. It has reminded me that I’m not there yet. As we talked about at the beginning, team is a journey, a place of growth that must happen in humility.
What has this book catalyzed in you as you think about growing as a teammate? What do you desire to see changed in the culture of your team or organization when in comes to sacred sibling relationships?
I want to close with these words from Sue and Suzy as they shared with me what they desire for those who read their book.
“We hope single and married cross-cultural workers will come away with a greater respect and appreciation for those who are serving God in different capacities and situations. We would love to see each reader encouraged and stimulated to see each other as brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ, and to model spiritual family in the cultures where they are serving. We also hope that organizational leaders will be challenged to examine practices and policies to keep improving morale among their members.”
Thank you to Suzy and Sue for being part of our discussion this month! And thank you to all of you who have read along and brought your thoughts and experiences. I’m so grateful I got to dive into this book and the topic of teammate relationships with you!
Schedule for next month
We’ll start with the book And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman. This book is about an elderly man’s struggle to hold on to his most precious memories, and his family’s efforts to care for him even as they must find a way to let go. While it is beautifully written, it is also intense, and may be triggering if you have dealt with or are currently caring for a parent or loved one with dementia.
August 4th: And Every Morning Part 1- Beginning to Page 36/location 227/37%, the line “He holds the girl’s hand tighter and tighter and tighter…”
August 11th: And Every Morning Part 2- to the end of the book
This week we’ll chat about marriage overseas- the beauty and the challenges! Join us live on our Facebook page, or watch the replay.