My teenage daughter set her alarm before the cock crows on Saturday for a yard sale. I overslept.

It isn’t the picture frames and candle holders that pull Murielle out of bed on a day she normally slumbers until it’s time for a chicken salad sandwich and a Coke. It’s the relationship with her youth leader. She’s having the sale in preparation to move to Pennsylvania with her family.

It’s worth shivering on a driveway of Barbies and cribs with an empty stomach, to savor the moments with someone who believes in you.

Four years ago we bumped into Sayward on our first trek through the church before our moving van arrived.  All the worry about my middle school girl navigating new pavement melted off as I watched genuine eye contact through a smile of wide-eyed enthusiasm.  She painted a vibrant student ministry, elusive to us thus far.

We arrived expectant. Look back thankful.

Because alongside the thirty hour famine, car washes, weekly times of worship, beach days, early breakfasts, one on one lunches, summer camps and mission trips, we witnessed the heart of our child grow from a spectator of Christ, to a pilgrim travelling the dusty road.

Yesterday Murielle and I navigated foil covered casserole and green beans around the pod plunked in Sayward’s driveway, up the stairs through a toy strewn living room to the kitchen.  Her husband doesn’t cook but he wears a badge, and plays horsey on the floor with the kids while she starts a new job a few states away.

In two weeks we’ll wave goodbye to the leader who greeted us with a handshake of hope and an invitation to a pool party. And we’ll let go of her weekly influence at the church, the cousin we visit occasionally after the family split up.

Murielle sits on the couch with her laptop researching airfare to Pittsburgh. And I wonder why it takes the absence of someone to realize their value.

Perhaps it’s why Christ left the earth.

Have you experienced letting go of someone of great influence in your life or the lives of your loved ones?

This is #18 in the series 31 Days of Letting Go. You can read the collective here. If you are a writer, I invite you to link up any post you’ve written on the theme of letting go in the comments here on Friday. Subscribe to receive the series in your inbox or feed by adding your address in the side bar under Follow Redemptions Beauty.