Today's guest post is by Ellen Rosenberger. We welcome the input of our readers - check here for ideas if you're interested in writing for TCKmom.


Why is it called a “good” bye anyway?  What about it makes it good?

I looked up the word “goodbye” and was reminded that it originally was the phrase “God be with you” which, over the years, has become shortened to goodbye.  Interesting how the original intent was well wishes, a blessing, a prayer, a sending off with the best Person you could go with.

And yet, it is still not a favorite word of mine.  Especially when said to close friends.  Especially when there’s been a stream of goodbye’s to close friends and family in the past year and a half.  No matter what anyone says, they don’t get easier with practice.  Sure, we may get better at preparing for them and doing them well (which is indeed very healthy), but they are still not easy and hardly enjoyable.

Because it’s not merely a goodbye to a person.  It’s a goodbye to doing life together. No matter how quick a click of a button is for connecting on social media, it really isn’t the same as being in the same place geographically and experiencing all of the realms of life’s joys and struggles together.

I was thinking of these things on my way back from taking our good friends, Chase and Julie, to the airport this morning.  I thought about renaming the goodbye to any of these:

“sad bye”
“bad bye”
“deny bye”
“not-okay bye”

And yet, in the end, I know I can still call it a “good” bye.


Not because it feels good.  But because God is good.  Always.

And it is He who leads and shifts people.  Not only does He go with them, but He stays with me.  And how grateful I am that He can also handle my emotions and thoughts as I wrestle through the pain of goodbye’s.

And He even teaches me thankfulness for goodbye’s, knowing that all things pass through His hand for my life.  The good and the hard things.  And I can take it as an opportunity to thank Him for the reason that this goodbye hurt so bad -- because it meant that I enjoyed a relationship that was a gift from Him in the first place.

And so dear friends, (and others we love and have said goodbye to recently):  “God be with you”.

That’s not a wish or a hope.  It’s a statement.  And an assurance of His presence in our lives no matter how many physical miles separate us.




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  • Guest - Vallerie

    Thank you so much for this post. It allowed me to cry. I cried as I thought of past good-byes - life together that we HAVE ALREADY missed - and as I thought of some not-too-distant future good-byes - life together that we WILL miss. Crying is real and healing for me, and crying is dealing with my emotions instead of just carrying on. It's okay to cry, even though we know that the separations are right, and good, and under the control of a Loving Father who is in charge of all things. Good-byes don't feel good. They do mean "good-bye to doing life together". That is real, and painful.

    I am not a missionary, and never have been, but my children are missionaries - ALL of them. FOUR years ago, in December, we said good-bye to our daughter as she left for three years with her husband and our tiny, first-born grandchild. THREE years ago, in December, we said good-bye to our youngest, our unmarried daughter, as she left for possibly up to a year of service. At about the same time, we said good-bye to our son and his wife and our only other grandchild. For most of the following two years, all of our children and grandchildren were overseas, serving our Lord in far away places. We each lived our own lives, far from one another. ONE year ago in December, they all came "home". Last year, the month of December was full, even hectic, as we welcomed each of them back "home" and learned to live life with our children and our (now four) grandchildren, close by. We had to learn to be grandparents in a way that we hadn't been able to do before, by hugging and touching and playing and doing... together. But the good-byes have started again. Our daughter left in October, to go to a work she loves, and our son, and his wife, will be leaving with their family in a few weeks, returning to the work he left behind a year ago. One grandson and our only little granddaughter will go with them. She is little more than a baby, but the next time we see her and hug her, she will be a little girl, our baby will be gone, vanished into a life lived far from us.

    Good-byes hurt. They aren't "good" in the sense of FEELING good. But our willingness to make the sacrifice of saying good-bye to the ones we love so dearly declares, to all who will listen, the glory and worthiness of our God. It is not for US that we part, it is for HIM. That is what makes good-byes good even though they are painful.

    Here is a quote that my daughter passed on to me before she left in October. I have found much comfort in it and keep it posted on my computer desktop during this season of good-byes:

    In every goodbye you and I whisper, we loudly and clearly declare His worth. - Patty Stallings

    He is worthy of our pain at separation. He is worthy of our saying "good-bye to doing life together". He is worthy! And we are blessed that saying good-bye IS painful. It means that God has blessed us with sweet relationships, with special people. And that is a blessing that we can be thankful for, even through the pain.

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  • Thank you for sharing. Your comment should be another article - one for the parents of overseas workers - who have many of the same griefs and losses, but none of the recognition and support. I think God has some pretty special rewards waiting for you on the other side.

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