Thursday, September 20, 2012

Reach, Empower, and Release

I am saddened to write this blog. I had avoided it for awhile, but after the day of grieving that I had it was time to release my emotions into the world of the internet and let them finally be taken out of my head and into somewhat organized chaos.

Our church is saying goodbye to Pastor Art, who has been with us for the past 9 years, to send him and his family where God has called them, Virginia. When the Lord calls you to do something, you had better listen and do it. I'm thankful to Art and his family that they are being obedient to Christ and to the direction He has given Art for his new church and for ours, no matter what lies ahead. I am definitely going to miss him. I hate to use the word grieving over someone (who is still alive) when I'm not sad or depressed. But the fact of the matter is that I am shaken by the realization that this family who has grown so close to my heart is not going to be around anymore (at least in the physical... thank you for technology and cell phones/fb). Art has truly become a mentor to me and I look up to his wife, Lori, so much for her gentleness and leadership. His sons, Silas, who sang with me on the praise team, and Noah, who was in our youth and thus claimed as one of my children, will also be greatly missed. I have known about this transition for awhile and have been praying for God's will to be done as I never want my will to get in the way. My will would be for them to stay forever until God comes again, but God has another idea.

Always Friends

As a reminder, Art is one of the pastors who married Robert and I. He performed the first part of our ceremony, the personal part where he introduced us as the couple we were and was able to give some background on our dating relationship and how God brought us together. No other person would have been perfect for that role except for him. He and his family have seen Robert and I through many changes and trials and prayers and fun times and hard times. I feel as though his kids grew up in school as we grew up in our young adult life.

The Gathering @ Midland, Releasing our pastor on his next venture.
There are so many things I could come up with that should be or need to be said to show just what an honor it has been to be so close to this family, but I would never sleep and thats not really healthy so I will just state the facts: God is magnificent and wonderful. His timing is always perfect, our understanding will just never stand up to how creatively He crafts every detail of our life. God has big plans for Art and the church in Virginia (and we will pray for you!), and God has something "crazy cool" for The Gathering in Midland. I absolutely love this church. Not because of my pastor, but because of the people and because of the way the Holy Spirit moves through the church. I love my church because its not about what awesome building we are in or what cool programs we have... its about the heart and the obedience to the Lord that draws us together as family. O yes I will probably find myself having some other days such as today where I was feeling so strong and comforted and then I just became suddenly overwhelmed with a sense of longing and tears flowing from my eyes. Its hard to put 9 years of mentorship behind you, but I must look to Christ for the "bigger picture" and see that Spirit is moving... will continue to move and impact lives as long as I am willing to be obedient to whatever God's plan is.

Robert just couldn't let him leave without a ride on the Harley
Thank you Art, once again, for teaching me how to Reach up to Christ so I could reach out to others. Teaching me what it means to be empowered by the Spirit. and Helping me to lean on the Lord for comfort and guidance as we Release the called to fulfill their ministries.

But just so you know I have already mapped out Virginia and how close it is to my other friend in North Carolina (5 hours away) so I will be getting with Lori to plan a vacation trip for 2013 :)

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

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