My life is simply that. A weaving. We live in small town USA and I'm living a life I love…

Three Parts to Every Good Sermon, I mean Story…

So yesterday, yesterday was a day to be remembered for always.  It kinda has three parts so I figured that’d be the easiest way to blog about it.  Afterall… I am Baptist and all things are communicated easier with three points, just kidding… kinda!

Savoring the Services…

Yesterday morning was our last day of services with our ‘kids’ at FBCV.  It was a very surreal experience and thought.  I prayed more on Saturday that I’d be able to ‘hold it together’ so that we could still have an effective Sunday am and not just me be a blubbering idiot.  I did pretty good until someone came up and gave me a card right before our small group hour.  It was a woman who taught my Sunday School class when I was in 3rd grade.  I grew up with her daughter.  For the past 8 years we’ve had one of her grandchildren, at least one, in our ‘care’ and ministry.  Her and her husband have grown into some of our biggest allies on our Sunday morning programming.  Anyways, after my encounter with her I went to Stephen’s office and prayed like crazy…  “Lord, I know that I can do anything through your power… please keep me together…  PLEASE!”  Well, not 10 minutes later our associate pastor came in to check in.  Wayne has been a pastor in my life for around 25 years.  Him and Ms. Pauline are like grandparents to Stephen and I.  I used to help Ms. Pauline in preschool worship when I was in elementary, and then she had both Maddie & Charlie in preschool worship.  Charlie adores Ms. Pauline!  When I was in second grade we did a musical at church where we had to wear either a cat or mouse tail for the performance.  Bro. Wayne was the person I went to to request the same tail each night because, “Some one could have tooted on the tail…”  We have gone through a lot of life with Wayne & Pauline and they are amazing people… solid in faith despite the storms in their lives.  Anyways, he came in and asked how I was doing and I lost it.  Not completely, but lost it.  So, after he left I knew I was one tear away from cracking and I really didn’t know what to do.  I saw a few more people and it was only getting worse.  I ended up going to the little staff bathroom (it really isn’t just for staff but it’s in the office hallway and it’s a single bathroom…anyways,)  (okay, I’m about to admit something really silly… well, the mental picture is completely silly…  I went to the bathroom and lost it.  Not the couple tears running down losing it but the shoulder shaking sobbing losing it…  I ended up facedown on that bathroom floor praying with thanksgiving and begging for strength.  His strength is perfect and I was able to charge through the rest of the morning, savoring the sweet voices singing praises to a beautiful Savior in KidCentral.  Probably the hardest part was saying ‘good-bye’ to the incredible people we work with each week.  Thank you… if you’re reading this…  Kristina, Jessica, Matt, Autumn, Bryon, Ashley, Chris, Amy, Stephen, Breely, Tyler, Lynae, Steve, Suzy, Linda, Harrison & Sherry, Nancy, Ken & Judy, Hope & Jim.  You have made us look good week after week.  Your love for the Word and for these children is incredible and we leave knowing that FBCKids will go on…  

Stephen had the amazing priviledge of baptizing 4 kids the past two weeks.  Each of them had prayed earlier in the year and had wanted to be baptized before Stephen left.  What a wonderful to go out…  celebrating the public profession of faith with a child.  THere is nothing more pure and amazing.  

The second most heart-breaking part of the day was picking my children up from their classes.  Our kids have had the most amazing teachers…  Ms. Pat, Ms. Barb, Mr. Curt, Ms. Sue, Ms. Caddy, Ms. Linda, Mr. Roger, Ms. Brenda, Ms. Jennifer, Ms. Kristie, Ms. Staci, Ms. Roxanne, Mr. Daryl, and Ms. Cathy (or Ms. Caffy as Charlie says…  he loves her!), Ms. Pauline and Ms. Janelle…  and the countless extended session workers…  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  You have taught each of our children about God’s love simply by loving them.  

The Storm…

So, we drove off and head to Stephen’s mom and dad’s house for dinner… we were also celebrating Stephen’s birthday (31!!!) yesterday at dinner.  And might I say that dinner was delicious (ham, new potatoes, green beans, deviled eggs…  and caramel cake… divine!)  Shortly after dinner is when we started getting hit with the effects of Ike, I think it’s Ike.  Anyways, I must make a confession…  on Saturday when Ike was pounding the coasts I did pray for the people there, but I wasn’t burdened about it.  When we got a small sampling of it I was hit the realization that I really should have been on my knees for you (if’ you’re down there, I’m sorry…)  We were hit with the hardest, strongest windstorm in the history of the area (according to our local power and light company).  Trees were EVERYWHERE and still are.  There were almost a million homes without power still this morning.  Some of them won’t get their power back on for days still.  It was very sobering…  and really freaky to drive in, too.  (We had to head to church that evening for Stephen’s ordination and our farewell carry in.

Going with the Flow…

So, Stephen and his dad had to head to church early for the Ordination Council.  I headed up shortly after so that I could get the kids settled and have time to talk with some people before the service started. FBCNL was supposed ot be bringing a bus over to share the evening with us.  When I was driving through Vandalia I realized that there were power outages on one side of the street.  I prayed that it wasn’t the church.  When I pulled in I realized… yup.  The church had zero power.  How on earth do you have an ordination and carry-in with no power?!? 

It’s safe to say that the evening didn’t go as planned however, I can’t say that I’d trade it for anything in the world.  We, okay, I wasn’t a part of the decision at all, but you know what I mean, ended up setting up the portable battery operated speaker and mic into the fellowship hall where the tables were already set up and we had the service there by candle light.  It was a wonderful time of worship that seemed so intimate, non-threatening, and very appropriate.

The service started with “The Solid Rock”.  I love that hymn…  It opened up a very intimate time of worship that was just filled with His presence.  It was funny though, several of the lines of this hymn were all too appropriate for our circumstances last night, 

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

After a few more songs they group did “Jesus Paid It All with O Praise the One…”  That song will be one that wretches me until I die.  It’s one I want to shout… I wanted to shout it out triumphantly last night… but I couldn’t.  I couldn’t even sing one word…  All I could do was stand with my head bowed and let the words wash over me…  

I hear the Savior say, “They strength indeed is small”
“Child of weakness watch and pray,
Find in my thine all in all”

Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow…

Oh praise the one who paid my debt
and raised this life of from the dead…

And when before the throne,
I stand in Him complete,
Jesus died my soul to save
My lips shall still repeat…

We sang this at pappaw’s funeral and it was one of the purest times of worship I have ever experienced.  I was reminded of this last week doing the “Psalms of Ascent” study…  when Ms. Moore was talking about how worship and songs can a lot fo times convey what can’t be expressed any other way… that is what I felt at Pappaw’s funeral and again last night…  we have such a mighty Savior who has paid the steepest price for our salvation and it is such a priviledge to serve Him and sometimes when we can’t see the clearest picture of what’s ahead I have to cling to the fact that I can stand on the solid Rock…

Stephen’s dad did a wonderful job with the charge last night.  The gravity, that’s probably not the right word, the responsiblity of the charge hit last night in conjunction with the expectations…  O Father, please use us in a mighty way… not so that we can boast or look at what ‘we’ have done but so that people are finding You in a real and personal way.  Show us how to reach NL… show us how to minister to your beautiful people at FBCNL…  We want to do well for Your glory…  Continue to teach us what we need to know…  Provide friends and support for us…  May be all for You…

The service concluded with the laying on the hands.  Now i had seen this done before but obviously had never been a part of this and it was such a sweet time…  God has blessed beyond belief.  The men that prayed over us last night represented us so well… From the men that have known each of as children and now respect us as adults to the men that we’ve grown close to during the search process at FBCNL that we have gained such a respect for and look forward to serving with… it was wonderful.

And all by candlelight…   You know it was really just us… we just didn’t want it to be ordinary :O)  (Oh, I should have mentioned this earlier, the bus from NL never made it because before they got on the road they were issuing strong warnings to stay off the roads BUT…  three dear ladies made it and men that served on the Ordination Council as well…  it was WONDERFUL to have them there.  It made the night complete and it really felt like a bridging experience.)

Afterwards we were able to fellowship (isn’t that such a Baptist word?!?) over food and friends.  It was hard… I can’t lie, but I was good, too.  I can’t possibly begin to write out all my thanks to the people that have invested in my life and have served to equip me but they know who they are and I will be making sure I express it to them in the weeks to come.

Well, I need to sign off because it’s getting late but the last thing that was a wonderful surprise was this:  We were presented with a money tree… they always say $$$ doesn’t grow on trees but it did last night. We were blessed and surprised…  We’ll be able to find a washer and dryer now, HALLELUJAH!  

FBC Vandalia… you mean so much to me and will always be close to my heart.  WIthout you, I wouldn’t be able to start this next chapter.  Thank you.


2 responses

  1. I hope all is well as you get settled and recover from the storm.

    17 September 2008 at 6:37 pm

  2. Jen

    Praying for you with all the changes going on.

    18 September 2008 at 10:44 am

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