Goodbye meals, Christmas parties, and men buying presents…

Ok. It happened. I finally cracked.

I just shed my first tears about leaving Inverness.

I’ve been doing pretty well this week… But today was my final day with the three guys that I manage projects with in Scotland. And saying goodbye tipped me into I-really-am-leaving-so-I’m-going-to-cry-zone. Ironically, none of them are even from Inverness. My boss is based in Glasgow, my two fellow counterparts are in Edinburgh and Dundee… But this was our last team meeting. And I was doing ok at work. We had laughed with the same exuberance that normally overtakes our management planning time together (In fact, it might have been a little more exuberant than usual…) But then we went out for dinner. And I was doing ok at dinner itself. For the whole dinner in fact. Until we were hugging goodbye. And then the tears hit me.

I walked away and all I could think was, ‘I’m such a typical girl!’

Understand me, it’s not so much sadness about leaving. I’m totally stoked about my nomadic Christmas travels and I’m totally, completely stoked about moving to Japan. But I’m just really, really going to miss working with these guys. Because not only have I learnt so incredibly much from them, I’ve also laughed with them, and shared frustrations with them, and received massive support from them.

And as exciting as moving on is, saying goodbye is just a bit sad.

Your last week somewhere is a weird feeling… Especially so close to Christmas. It’s truly bittersweet. I mean, for the last week I have been having an array of outings, and meals and parties with my favourite people. Combining leaving events and Christmas events. And I have laughed so hard and eaten so much that I’m not entirely sure whether my stomach hurts from the overindulgance or laughing-till-you-cry-and-just-can’t-breathe. (I am truly testing the limits of the remarkably fast metabolism that the Lord has blessed me with all these years ;))

But I simply feel so loved by some of the best people.

And I am struck again today, that I am so incredibly, flipping blessed! I feel floored with thankfulness actually.

Which is kind of the point of today’s blog actually.

The guys I work with brought me some great leaving presents. Really great.

And they presented them to me at the end of our meetings today. The package was beautifully wrapped. With ribbons.

Which I admit, led to my first suspicions that they had perhaps not totally purchased this gift themselves.

My suspicions continued to be peaked when I actually opened said gift.

And found some really stunning accessories. Like a scarf and gloves and corsage by one of my favourite clothing brands.

Hmmm… I’ll be honest. The guys I work with have many, many, many talents and skills. But I’m not sure that buying me perfectly coordinated clothing to take to Sapporo in time for the Snow Festival is up there in the top 10.

So, I looked at my freshly opened gifts, admired my freshly opened gifts, and laughingly (With a slightly quizzical look in my eye) said, ‘Seriously guys, did you buy these yourselves?’

They kept their straight faces for at least a whole, solid 45 seconds.

My boss looked at me and started nodding… ‘Yes, of course we… (And then he couldn’t keep the rising laughter down) Ok, ok, no we didn’t… We got some female assistance…’

The guys admitted that if left to their own devices they would have probably resorted to buying me a six pack of lager. Which would have quite frankly been absolutely-terrible. Because, 1) I don’t drink any alcohol, let alone lager, and 2) I much prefer presents that have lasting-memory-quality about them. Like accessories.

So, I’m really pretty stoked that they got some present-buying-guidance. Because now everytime I wear some ace-looking winter wear in Sapporo, I’ll remember some pretty-ace times and some pretty-ace people.

And quite simply, receiving a physical gift today, that I was incredibly touched by, made me reflect on my overflowing thankfulness to a wonderful God, for the abundant and uncountable and undeserved blessings that He has poured out on me.

My heart is so full.

I’ve been listening to Jaye Thomas’s new single this week (Which if you share my LOVE of Gospel, you should totally buy!) and it has this lyric in it that’s just been circling in my mind and heart,

I won’t give up, ‘cos Love, He never gave up on me.

So simple, but yet, I can’t even put my thankfulness into words tonight.

My thankfulness that my Heavenly Father, He who is Love, that Jesus, He who is Love incarnate, He never gave up on me.

He never gave up.

The greatest gift. The Greatest Gift.

Beautifully and perfectly wrapped. With the red ribbon of grace that entwines our stories to His tapesty of love that changes everything. 

Our salvation, that He purchased with His own sacrifice. His choice to clothe Himself in flesh forever. To walk amongst us. To live as the perfect embodiment of the Torah. To bear the penalty for my sin. To take the death which I deserved upon Himself. To present me before His Father blameless, clothed in eternal hope.

I’m so floored meditating on John 1 right now.

The Gift of Jesus undoes me.

And I am so in love with everything He is. And so thankful for everything He has done.

 

Oh, and last night me and some amazing friends had the funniest Christmas party I’ve been to in a long time. Christmas dinner, Christmas jumpers, hilarious games, and some serious love and laughter. Enjoy some festive pictures… 😉

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