Pain and Pride


I’ve been putting this piece off for a week because honestly, I don’t feel like crying again. But I know if I wait too long, I’ll not do it justice. So I’ll attempt to convey a little of my heart to you today.

Recently, our good friends Bob and Bri and their family made a move to Texas. Last Sunday we packed up their house and loaded them on the truck. You may say, “What’s the big deal? People move all the time.” That’s true, but this was a little more personal. The day was filled with tears, for these weren’t just friends, they were family. They are family. We shared our hearts with each other. We shared birthdays and holidays. Bri was and is my heart’s sister even though we weren’t technically related.

We used to joke that God made us enough different so we wouldn’t compete but similar enough to become best friends. When I first met Bri through my sister-in-law, Jeanine, I was teaching high school English outside of Rochester. We happened to be teaching the same book at the same time, so Jeanine suggested I contact her friend Bri to get some creative ideas. “Sure. No problem,” I said, but in my mind, “I” was the better teacher! Then I found out that she sang. Not just a little singing in church, but really SANG. But in my mind, “I” was the better singer. HA! I laugh at this now because I know Bri thought those very same things. As far as the teaching goes, she was and is the better teacher, but that’s okay because I have this writing gig I’m working on. Over the years we discovered how our gifts were not in competition with each other.  God made her a soprano and me an alto so our voices would blend and complement each other to bring glory to Him. There was no competition necessary.

I say all that to show a little of what our relationship was like. With her leaving, my heart was breaking. Here was my friend, the one God designed to complement me, and she was leaving. Her voice will no longer be a part of our worship team. Her gifts are being used elsewhere. That’s okay. I know God has good plans for her, but I don’t have to like it.

Last Sunday was her last week in church. Everyone knew it. The entire congregation recognized how difficult it was for the worship team to get through the songs with Bri sitting in the pews. We sobbed through the lyrics, “You give and take away. You give and take away. My heart will choose to say, ‘Blessed be your name.'”

But that wasn’t the hardest part. I was struggling to keep myself together and still give praise to the God who deserves it no matter what we feel. Then my son and my nephew did something that turned the whole church to

At the end of the service, Pastor Joe offered prayer for anyone who wanted to come forward. The band started to sing when I saw three little heads clearing the seats and moving toward the front. Ian, Nathan brought their friend Cameron, Bri’s son, forward for prayer. They were having a hard time losing their friend, but they knew that in the midst of their hurt, they could turn to the God who had them all in his hands. No one prompted them. They chose it all on their own.

At the same time my heart was breaking, it burst with pride that my son and my nephew knew to turn to God in their hurt. Jesus said “Let the little children come to me.” Scripture also states, “A child will lead them.” That day, our church was moved by the heart of two little boys who wanted God to take care of their friend.

So today, I’m thankful for my son’s and my nephew’s heart for Jesus and for their boldness to step out and teach people generations older than them what it means to trust God. I’m also thankful that my God here in New York is the same God in Texas.


About jvdlandersen

I'm a young adult author. But more importantly, I'm a Christian, a wife, and a mom. Sometimes I'll write about writing and my journey through publishing. Other times, I'll write for my kids and myself. You can read it too if you want. To find out more about my books, check out To find out more about me, follow this blog. :)

6 responses »

  1. Jessie, this was fantastic. Thank you for this. I admit, I was always jealous of the family you shared with Bri. After all she was “MY” sister. So your post made me laugh a little. I always was so jealous that you all got to spend so much time with her. My sister Bri raised me when my parents got a divorce. She didn’t have to stay, after all my mom was not her step mom any more, but she chose to stay for me. I was always so sad that I didn’t get to see her often. Days seem to pass by, and you forget, take advantage of the fact she is right down the road. Until she is to leave- and the 1x a month trips will turn into 1x a year. Who is going to teach Cam Man that its cool to have dessert before dinner? And who is going to teach Miss Ellie bellie that being rough and tough with the boys is the only way to go but being a pretty princess is pretty stellar too?

    Since you all viewed Bri as family- I know what you are going through… in fact its probably way more intense for you all (y’all). But just know- she never really leaves. She always comes back. Because once you are family- you are always family. Take it from me, she didn’t have to stay, yet she came back. She always comes back.

    • Carrie, you are right. Once family, always family. I know this move of theirs must be hard on you too. I’m praying we all take the time to keep the connections that we worked so hard for when they were here. Thank goodness for computers, right?

  2. Jess this brings back memories of when we left New York and moved to Texas. It was really one of the most heart wrenching things we ever had to do. I remember your mom and dad telling us that they would love to come visit but honestly didn’t see it happening because of the distance when everyone else was telling us they would visit. Guess who were the only ones who came to see us?

    • Dorothy, I still remember that trip. I think I was five! That was the first time I’d ever had gummy bears. I can remember Brick taking them out of a jar and putting them in my hand. We also tried to bring home a live tarantula in a metal band aid box. He didn’t survive!

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