...was bittersweet. Matthew and I started off the day by attending Adamsville Baptist's Homecoming (my home church). James missed the service, but was able to join us for lunch and fellowship. Anyway, I always love going back there. It's the place that God used to make me who I am today. It seems that my perspective changes each time I go back. Maybe it's just because I'm getting older. It's surreal to sit there with my husband and my son and absorb the memories that were created there. It was my village; it's how I became me. God used countless people there to to teach me the beauty of God's love, the beauty of Christian love, and how to love. I'm very blessed to have had people like that to shape me.
Last night, however, was totally different. It wasn't a "bad" night, but it just wasn't an easy night. James asked me to pray with him several months ago about his future as youth minister. Honestly, I was scared to death and so uncomfortable with the thought of leaving. After months of prayer and discussion, we feel God leading us down a different path. James turned in his resignation last night and announced that he feels God's call to make Coming of Age his ministry focus.
It was so hard. I had to use one of Matthew's burp cloths as a make-shift handkerchief. It's not easy knowing that people are crying because of a decision you've made. We LOVE Bethel. We love everyone that God has brought into our lives through Bethel. I can't imagine Bethel not being "my church." James ends his role as youth minister at the end of the month; we'll still be around though. I don't think we could stay away for too long.
This decision to "leave" was so much harder than last time. You are the reason it's not easy. We love you and I'll never be able to fully express the impact Bethel has made on our lives. You were there for us when Matthew was born three months early. You were the ones lifting us up, reminding us it was going to be okay. You took us in, just like we had been there all along. You held us. You showed us what the family of God was supposed to be like. We tried not to show it, but we came from our last ministries so broken and hurt. You reminded us of the purity and sincerity of God's love. You were the backbone of this season of our lives. I think we needed you more than you needed us.
Thank you, Bethel. You taught us to love and be loved again. God used you to heal us. We'll never be far away.