Bittersweet Goodbyes

When the “bitter” is greater than the “sweet”

Romans 15:13 (ESV)

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.


You know the goodbye that’s not really a goodbye? Not the one when you say goodbye to someone and don’t see them for another 2 years. No not that one. I’m talking about the goodbye that isn’t really a goodbye- saying goodbye to someone who is still going to be in your daily life but just not in the same context as they were before… yeah that one. In my opinion, that one is the worst.


I’m hurting. Too many goodbyes in such a short period of time. I won’t go into depth… but truth is, I am hurting. There are many types of goodbyes- the ones that are bittersweet, the ones that are permanent, temporary, just flat out sad and terrible… and then there are the ones that aren’t really goodbyes but they sure do feel like it.

I hope you are not experiencing a painful goodbye, but if you are, you are not alone. Welcome to the club…

So, “Abby,” you ask, “what are your practical, step-by-step answers to overcoming the sadness that comes with saying goodbye and moving forward?” I would respond as follows: I have absolutely no idea. That is a prayer that has simply not been answered yet.


Something inside me was telling me to not write about it yet. To just wait until I had it all figured out so encouragement could be spread more efficiently. But it didn’t take me long to say “no” to that thought. This blog is not about having it all together, because Lord knows I am definitely far from it. But it is about encouragement. And let me tell you, I have never felt more encouraged than when God places someone in my life to share in my sorrows and relate to me in ways no one else could. Luckily for me, the specific sorrowful goodbye that pushed me to write this post is shared by many of my brothers and sisters in Christ. One of my fondest (and saddest) memories has taken place very recently. Allow me to share…

No more than two weeks ago, I stayed up until 1:30 AM with one of my closest friends just crying. I have never been like that in front of anyone in my life… she saw me at my worst. And she was right there with me. Crying. Just like me. Because of the same goodbye we had to say. Because one of the people we loved most was leaving. And we just cried… and cried and cried. And it was terribly painful and it came in waves. It was especially difficult because we had to get up the next day and see this person again, and again the next day, and so on.

I don’t know if anyone can relate to me on this but, in case you haven’t caught on, I LOATH the goodbyes that aren’t really goodbyes. However, these are situations we can’t really avoid. And there is a bright-side to this situation, just like any other, but it doesn’t necessarily outweigh the sadness. (And that’s coming from a hard-core optimist). Just having someone there who was feeling exactly how I was made everything so much better. God placed us in each other’s lives at just the right moment. I have NEVER been more encouraged than when I was sharing in my sorrows with those around me.

So, I have no advice for you. Other than to simply trust in the Lord. Even when you’re mad. Even when you do not understand. God is good. How you are feeling doesn’t determine the character of God (thank goodness).

He is good, even if you feel like he’s the worst. Just a fact of life.


There’s nothing anyone can really say to make the pain of your goodbye go away. Friends can be there for you, or you could gain encouragement from a young woman’s blog post who really has no clue what she’s doing. And it helps, it does… but only for a second. Nothing seems to help in the long run other than time… BUT here’s the good news: there is scripture. Scripture that is alive and powerful. God’s Word. Get in there!!! Find out WHY you can trust in the Lord. Find out WHO God is so you can trust Him more. And don’t forget it when things just get worse. Happiness is so different from joy. Find joy today. CHOOSE joy today. And keep choosing joy.


You are so very loved. Keep fighting the good fight. Keep moving forward. God is good. God WILL provide. God WILL succeed. And He will get the Glory. What else could we ask for?


Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. ‘

Romans 15:13 (ESV)

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Psalm 31:14-15 (ESV)

But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!

Psalm 9:10 (ESV)

And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.

John 14:27 (NIV)

‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. ‘

(Literally read the entire book of Psalms)

Philippians 4:4 (ESV)

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.

John 16:22 (ESV)

So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.

James 1:2-4 (NLT)

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.

Psalm 118:24 (ESV)

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s