My sister moved to college this weekend.
My best friend, my roommate, confidante, giggling and crying, girl-talk and movie nights sister…she now lives miles away.
I know it isn’t so very far. I know I’ll get to see her again before too long. I know this is a good thing and where God wants her to be right now, that He has amazing things in store for her and that He is going to use her time at this Christ-centered university to build her up in Him and empower her to reach out and touch the world with His love and light and for His kingdom.
But when my parents and I got home to our empty house on Sunday afternoon after the family dedication and send-off service, I went up to my sister’s and my room, shut the door, knelt by her bed and cried.
I miss her.
In recent days, the “Sunrise, Sunset” song from Fiddler on the Roof has often run through my head…especially the parts about how swiftly fly the years and days, as “seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers, blossoming even as we gaze.”
My little sister I held and carried and chased and played dollies with is now a beautiful, mature, godly and gifted young woman ready to step into the future God has for her.
She might not feel like it right now…she might feel overwhelmed and lonely and like she wants nothing more than to run home to her family and the life and people she knows and loves.
But I know she is ready.
A few days before she left, my sister posted on facebook a link to Godspell’s “Day by Day” as her prayer for her new life at college. Then the morning we moved her in, I saw her go dashing back into our bedroom shortly after she woke up. I figured she was hurrying to pack or something. But when I stepped into the room a few minutes later, I saw she was reading her Bible and writing in her prayer journal. Her top priority on this hectic day was first spending time with Jesus, because she knows she needs Him more than anything else.
And on Sunday, as we prepared to say good-bye as a family, my sister took the chalk each family had been given after the service and drew her own little circle “altar” on the sidewalk near the theater building, where she will be spending much of the next four years. She drew a tree by a stream of water, with “Jesus” written at the roots, rain and sunshine falling on the tree, and the reference Jeremiah 17:7-8:
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
That’s how I know she is going to be okay, however hard this transition might be at times, for her and for us. And I want to make the Lord my trust and confidence too, to not fear in seasons of heat and drought but still bear fruit.
To be like that tree.