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Sorrow and Joy

By: Gillian Dean


This week we say goodbye once again… Not an abnormal thing in YWAM. 


A couple on our staff team are leaving to head up island and partner with a ministry reaching some of the country's more isolated people groups. We are so proud of them.


Blaise and Ali have been on staff for three years and Blaise was there when our base leaders first came to Nanaimo in 2018. They met in our training programs and after getting married through Covid came back to serve the team, the city, and the nation through their lives surrendered to God’s call. What they are going to do next is worthwhile and God’s timing. Soon we will send them out with our prayers and support for the next season of their lives. 


But for those of us that stay behind, this is one of many goodbyes that we have had to face as a team and as ‘global nomads’ in missions. All of us are not from this city or the island. Four are not from this country at all. All but one of us have called different countries and bases home in the past. And we all have settled here because of the call from God. 


Many goodbyes, many losses, many Hellos… 


“Blessed are those who mourn,

    for they will be comforted.”

 - Matthew 5:4


"When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight."

- Kahlil Gibran


Everyone experiences loss, great and small.


If I lose my pen, I might get annoyed but I simply stand up and grab another pen from my junk drawer. Life is back to normal.


But with people, it is not the same. For no one will be the exactly the same or fill just the place in your heart that the other did. 


No one will replace the father that you lost. The mother the left. The friend that doesn’t speak to you. Or the workmate that ‘just got you’. Nothing can replace the dog that died or the spouse that is no longer in the bed beside you. These we do not replace…


Then How do we move on? 


That is an age-old question that I dare not try to answer in a ‘5 min read’ blog post. All I am here to offer is the small lessons that I have learned from being in a unique position: learning the hearts of people deeply for 6 months and then saying goodbye, most of them, never to see again. 


So this is my humble offering; flawed and unfinished as it is...



How to say Goodbye…


  • Grieving has no set time or season. - Never put a time limit on your grief. It ebbs and flows. Comes to you in the sounds of a motorcycle, the joke no one gets, or the color of a wheat field. It is unexpected many times and always seems to stay too long when you have other things to do.  

  • Take the Good with the Bad - Neuroscience shows that when we suppress bad emotions and memories, though that whole experience fades to gray, the only emotion we will remember is the negative ones. Therefore, remember the times you were together, even if it is painful. For if you forget that which was good so that the memories of the loss do not come, your brain will only remember the negative. 

  • Let it go… - “Easy for you to say!” Ya, I know. I don’t know your story. I don’t know how much it hurts. But what I mean is that when you move away, or they move away, things will never be as they were. Let go of your expectation that they will be all to you and you will be all to them that you once were. This is unrealistic. Things change… life changes. Your relationship with them must change as well. This does not mean that it breaks but it means that it will flex, bend, move into something new. In the freedom of new hope, something beautiful can form all its own. 

  • Have grace on yourself. - Jesus cried too (John 11:35), even when he knew that death was not the end. We can give ourselves room too. 


“Blessed are those who mourn,

    for they will be comforted.”

Matthew 5:4


Gillian’s Paraphrase

Congratulations to those that have experienced loss. For God will come and meet you there. 


“Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you.”

Revelations 3:20 (MSG)


Grief is not the enemy. Loss is not the end. If you wade through their waters you will find that they are passages to joy. For so far that you let yourself love and lose, so deep will your cup be for joy. So true will your heart be when you give it again. For you will know what you could lose and you will choose to risk it anyway. That is a good friend. This is the way of God. 



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