Love hurts. It feels a lot like sacrifice to love someone so much and then let them go halfway around the world, 15 hours time difference and yet if you love them, that’s not very far at all, is it?

Of course I’m talking about my daughter who left  today to go back to her job in Japan, which she loves and a country that is much more polite and considerate than the rude Americans who checked them into Houston late Christmas Day.

Teresa Parker with daughter, Jenny Parker.

Teresa Parker with daughter, Jenny Parker.

She misses her students and fellow teachers, but wishes she could take every single person in America she loves back to the nation she loves.

I always accepted the fact that my children would grow up and leave home. That’s just what happens. I just didn’t really factor in going nearly as far away as someone can go from me where my night is her next day and her night is my yesterday. It gets very confusing when you to talk. Even skype has to be well coordinated to be sure all parties are functional at the same time.

Yet, I refuse to complain or be sad because I believe this is a God-direction for my daughter. She is living out a tug, an urging, a calling to experience more than just the American God from the American point of view. After all, He is a God who so loved the world not just the United States of America.

Only one percent of the population of Japan claim Christianity as their religion. How will they know unless blonde-haired American with hair dyed red show them?

When I graduated college I moved a good distance away from Missouri to Richmond, VA. I only got one week vacation so I used it at Christmas and spent a lot of that time staying at my Grandma’s house. When I would walk in the door, she would hug me and then start bawling. The first time she did it I thought she was sick.

“What’s the matter, Grandma? Is something wrong? Did you get bad news?”

“Oh Honey, I’m so glad to see you but I’m just thinking about how sad I will be when you leave?”

I spent the rest of the vacation worrying about leaving her.

I determined I would not do that to my daughter who was here for only a week. Even thinking about her coming for that short of time made me extremely happy and extremely sad. I understood how Grandma felt.

Instead I focused on what we could do while she was here, times we could talk, get our hair done, go shopping, go out to eat, have friends over, play board games, get together with family, talk to 2 a.m. in the morning about life and everything and anything.

It was as special as I knew it would be, but that last morning all I wanted to do was hug her and never, ever let her go.

It’s a love-laden mixture of deep sorrow at not being able to touch her again for months and supreme joy at having been able to have her here for a short period of time.

When pondering the depths of love, I can’t help but think of Jesus. He knew the real meaning of love hurts. He went through every type of anguish—physical, mental, emotional, relational, spiritual. He did it out of love knowing exactly what it would cost in order to extend life to you and me.

Teresa Parker and Jenny Parker

Teresa Parker and Jenny Parker

Love hurts, but loves heals all wounds and brings exceedingly great joy, as well.

For most of my life, I have loved at arm’s length because I was afraid of being hurt. And now I’m afraid of not loving enough. I want to love more, give more, encourage more, heal more.

Love does not mean controlling or holding people back. It means releasing them to fly and be all they were meant to be. And if there is a little hurt at not being close enough to talk whenever we want, I will endure that for the sake of love.

After all, if Jesus could die for me, I can weather not being able to reach out and touch my daughter for a few months.

Love hurts. Love heals. Love releases. Love lets go. Love expects nothing and gives everything.

Love helps the one I love be grounded while helping her find her wings.

Fly free bird. Fly.

“The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know Him if you don’t love. This is how God showed His love for us: God sent His only Son into the world so we might live through Him.” I John 4:9-10

Teresa Shields Parker
Teresa Shields Parker is a Christian weight loss author, coach and speaker, who has lost more than 250 pounds. Her book, "Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God's Favor", is the number 1 Christian Weight Loss Memoir on Amazon. Her other books include: "Sweet Journey to Transformation: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Live Healthy", "Sweet Freedom: Losing Weight and Keeping It Off With God's Help", "Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation" and "Sweet Hunger: Developing an Appetite for God".

She also offers Overcomers Christian Weight Loss Academy and VIP one-on-one coaching program, both available under the weight loss tab. To book Teresa for your next event, check the Speaking tab on her website. Also check out her blog and Sweet Grace for Your Journey podcast under the tabs by those names.