I trembled at the voice of God
A voice of love and thunder deep
With love He means to save us all
And Love has chosen you and me
Long after we are dead and gone
For a thousand years our tale be sung
How faith compelled and bore us on
How barren Sarah bore a son
So come to Canaan, come…
When westward sales the golden sun
And Hebrons hills are amber brown
Oh, Sarah take me by my arm
Tomorrow we are Canaan bound… (A. Peterson, ‘Canaan Bound’)
Tonight, I sit in the quiet of a picked up, relatively clean, peaceful house with remnants of our small group (in other words just enough 7 layer salad for me for later, leftover Pumpkin Cheesecake, thank you Hannah!, folding chairs and table still up and a stack of empty plastic cups by the sink for the trash can…) and sweet sleeping children and a Godly man that I’m able to call mine who gave it his all today at a church we’ve called home for five years now.
Five Years. FIVE Years. FIVE. STINKIN’. YEARS.
Cra. Zi. Ness.
I realize five years isn’t a lifetime…. but it’s a significant chunk of time. It’s a significant block of time where lots of life has happened…
Five years ago, not tonight but actually five years ago LAST night, was our first Sunday night coming home from church after our first day of ministry at FBCnl. I can’t remember what we did when we got home.
I do know we had dinner at church that night. A carry in. Baptists… okay, church people in general… we like food (please refer to my list of remnants from Group tonight… leftovers.)
I do remember that that Sunday morning we arrived at church together and I dropped off my children to nursery workers and Sunday School teachers that were expecting them and made sure they were welcomed. I went to a Sunday School class full of very lovely ladies who were so incredibly kind to me.
I remember hating what I had on.
Sidenote: When we did our “interview” Sunday I found the absolute cutest skirt at JCPenneys on sale (brown with white embroidered flowers) and fantastic red heels to go with them. I loved that outfit.
The outfit I choose to wear on our first Sunday… Hated. I do not know why I wore it. Tan short skirt. Blousey tan, white and brown shirt that did not go with the skirt and white sandal heel type shoes that did not go with anything I had on… hated. it.
But, enough about the clothes… I remember being unsure. I had never been a pastor’s wife. Stephen and I had served together for 8 years in children’s ministry at the church where I started attending in Kindergarten.
The church where I was baptized. Where I went to VBS every summer and Sunday School each Sunday. The church where I met and married my man… The church were my babies attended their first services at…
The church that prepared us for the last five years of ministry at FBCnl.
I remember feeling a little lost. A little emotional. A little… okay, maybe a lot scared.
All that being said though… I remember being welcomed. I remember being greeted… we were cared for. We were shown love and graciousness. And not just that first Sunday…
Over and over throughout the last five years we have been shown love, care, concern and support for our family. I have seen men stand around my man in decisions and have his back. I’ve seen men and women have concern for my family… concern for our welfare, for our happiness, for our health and at times our sanity…
Over the past five years we have experienced generosity. Generosity of gifts and gift cards, of child care for date nights, of kind words and encouragement on the hard days that come in life and in ministry. Generosity of talents. Generosity of friendships.
Friendships. The last five years have been blessed with friends. Friends for Stephen and I. Friends for our kids. Oh, that touches my heart… Faith-filled and faithful friends.
Five years ago we were trembling as we were hearing God’s voice calling us to this place called New Lebanon that was somewhere between Dayton and Indiana. Trembling as we realized we were leaving that we had known. Leaving our home base and safety nets.
And while not every moment of every day, of every week, of every month of the past five years have been super, fantastic, positive, and fun I know without a doubt, without question, without hesitation we were called to leave our Hebron and back up that UHaul and come to our Canaan…
A place we didn’t know anyone and a place where we were to plant roots and call home.
A place where our desire remains simple… that in a thousand (or maybe just a hundred) years even if our song isn’t being sung and even if our names have long been forgotten that someone in New Lebanon, someone in the halls of the schools, someone roaming the streets and getting a fabulous McD’s coke… that someone’s life… someone’s legacy, someone’s family was forever impacted by the Gospel of Christ. That someone who was maybe on a crash course with eternity intersected with someone that knew someone that knew someone from years gone by that met their Savior face to face and that we had some small part of that eternal victory….
Not for our names’ sake. Not for my name sake. But, for the sake of my Savior because in a hundred years the only thing that really matters is a person’s relationship with Jesus Christ.
So… FBCnl. Five years. What kind of eternal impact can we make together in another five years? Can we find another wall to paint black… Can we reach not just our own community but how about the next few down the road…. What about a couple more villages around the world… Can we make a deeper dent in hunger in our area… maybe drop a few more thousand Easter Eggs out of the sky someday… who knows… I don’t but I know I have been called to be here… to make this our home… to raise our children here… to dip deep and serve in whatever way I can… I’ve been called my Maker to try to make an impact. So, shall we continue in our calling together?
Faith has compelled us this far. Let’s see what’s around the next corner…