God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand.
   I’m an open book to you;
      even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.
   You know when I leave and when I get back;
      I’m never out of your sight.
   You know everything I’m going to say
      before I start the first sentence.
   I look behind me and you’re there,
      then up ahead and you’re there, too—
      your reassuring presence, coming and going.
   This is too much, too wonderful—
      I can’t take it all in! 

  Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit?
      to be out of your sight?
   If I climb to the sky, you’re there!
      If I go underground, you’re there!
   If I flew on morning’s wings
      to the far western horizon,
   You’d find me in a minute—
      you’re already there waiting!
   Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark!
      At night I’m immersed in the light!”
   It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you;
      night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.”
Psalm 139:1-12, MSG Bible

One Tuesday down. Two to go. I found myself tossing and turning last Monday night. Knowing that my oldest, Candace, would be flying to Europe the next day-for ten months-made sleep a little difficult. But, with the dawn, came the day. No turning back. Flight plans were made. We all headed to D.C. to take Candace to Reagan Airport. All five of us crowded into our small SUV. We couldn’t help but reminisce past vacations. Remember the 12 hour trip to Massachusettes? How did we make it without DVD’s? Imagine. . .we read books, played games, fought and whined. . .and had loads of fun and memories. We had a great ride.

A few miles out from the airport, Candace’s friend and traveling mate, phoned to urge her to get to the airport as fast as she could. The airline wants to bump us to an earlier flight in order to avoid the possibility of thunderstorms delaying our arrival in Philadelphia and making us miss our connecting flight to Sweden. So, we put the pedal to the metal (all while maintaining the speed limit, of course) and arrived just in time to literally drop Candace off at the airline entrance, grab a very quick, tearful hug (okay, two or three hugs) and say our very quick goodbyes. We had planned on a two hour, relaxed-sit-at-the-airport-and-sip-ice-tea-goodbye, but God had another plan. A much better one, I admit. The rush brought a hush to my mother’s emotions. It was too fast to hold on. I had to let her go.

In the span of two minutes, we said goodbye. There were no words shared in that two minutes, but as I looked into her brother and sister’s eyes and then Rob’s eyes, I knew we were all thinking the same thing. Life as we once knew it was over. A new chapter is being written in the Rardon Family book. About five minutes into the drive home (after we found our way back to the interstate), Rob looked into the back seat of the car and said, “And then there were two. . .”

I found myself completely drained from our trip. I even went to bed at 9:00 p.m. Totally out of character for me. As I was shutting down my computer for the night, I noticed Candace had left me a note on my desk. I opened it slowly and began reading. Her words ministered deeply to my sad soul. Having spent the whole summer together, I think it was even harder to let her go. But, in her letter, she spoke into my life. She encouraged me to follow God’s call. Pursue my dreams now. And, that she would be praying for me. Strange how things change. Each word brought more tears. It felt so good to cry. To let it out. They were not sad tears, but tears of gratitude and humility to God, who has allowed me to be a mother. What a privilege it is to cooperate with God and be used by Him.

And then, at 3:05 a.m. I woke up. When I looked at the clock, I smiled. Candace’s flight was arriving in Sweden at 3:05 a.m. (9:05 a.m. Swedish time).  I couldn’t believe my eyes. Lord Jesus, I prayed. You are amazing. Rob turned over and asked if I was okay. I told him that Candace’s plane should be landing right now and that I was definitely okay. I knew that she was in God’s hands and went back to sleep.

The next day, it took awhile to get going, but Grant and I had made plans to go college shopping at a nearby outlet mall. Retail therapy is a good thing! It does wonders for the soul! We had a car picnic, shopped til we dropped and had loads of fun. Shopping with a boy is so easy! The day trip was a grand diversion from the previous day’s emotional wear and tear. It forced me to be present in the moment. To move forward. To delight in the day.

My “Three Tuesdays in August” are teaching me one very important lesson, which is found in the beginning of Psalm 139:

 “I look behind me and you’re there,
      then up ahead and you’re there, too—
      your reassuring presence, coming and going.”

God is my ever present help. His reassuring presence is with me as I come and go. As the seasons of my life come and go. As those I love more than anything in life come and go. Life is a constant cycle of coming and going, isn’t it? But in the middle of all that constant change, God is present. I will always remember August 2008 as being a month of emotional highs and lows. Of loving and letting go. Of clinging to my God whose constant presence is an anchor to my soul. Hebrews 6:19 (MSG) says:

“We who have run for our very lives to God
have every reason to
grab the promised hope
with both hands and never let go.
It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline
reaching past all appearances right to the
very presence of God where Jesus,
running on ahead of us, has taken up his
permanent post as high priest for us,
in the order of Melchizedek.”

We all face change. You may be in the midst of a big change in your life. Your family. Your desires. Your plans. I pray that the words of the psalmist (Psalm 139:1-12) and Paul (Hebrews 6:19) be a great “spiritual lifeline” today. Grab the promised hope with both hands. Hold on for dear life. God is faithful and true to His word.

If you’d like to follow Candace’s adventure, check out her blog and be blessed at http://www.candaceroserardon.blogspot.com/.

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