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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

GratiTuesday - A Bittersweet Goodbye

Today is a bittersweet day in the life of our church.

Our pastor, who has been serving here faithfully for the past seven years, is moving away today to plant a new church on the coast.

On Sunday we toasted and roasted him at a potluck held in his honor after the services.  Last night people came together to load the moving truck and various other vehicles that will be caravan-ing away today.

It's hard to see this family leave.

Our kids consider their four children to be their best friends.  They play together at church events and as often as possible in between.  They're in book club together.  

Their ten-year-old offered to lend me his Jules Verne-type books when we began to homeschool because he loved them so much and he thought we would, too.

That same ten-year-old and his siblings were part of the reason that we were initially attracted to homeschooling.  At every church event they would greet us kindly and carry on great conversations, looking us in the eye the entire time.  Few other children their ages seem able to do the same.

Our pastor's wife is a great example of peaceful parenting.  I've never seen anyone so calm and relaxed about life in general.  If I had on my plate what she did, I'd be a jittery mess, but her even demeanor helped me to trust and let go.  I've enjoyed talking over educational dilemmas with her and watching our children be creative together.

Our pastor himself, well, he's another story.  He's a high energy, laid-back-but-let's-go-hard kind of guy.  He's not afraid to lay it all on the line and will take the hard stances, even as you're not always sure where he himself falls on various issues.  He challenges you to know why you believe what you believe and to go back to the Bible basics all at the same time.  He accepts you for who you are and where you are on your faith journey and is good with that. 

Best of all, he's willing to follow Jesus even when he doesn't know where he's going - and that's what the whole family is doing today.  They're purchasing a house in a new town and planting a church for those who are currently on the fringe or have been hurt by a church or haven't found a place where they fit or just plain have questions and doubts.

So we're sad today.  Sad because our good friends are leaving.  Sad because the tree fort is missing the four kids who who so recently built it and climbed all over it.  Sad because we won't be able to run and play with them after church and school events.  Sad because we won't see any more zany games with no point or tie dye shirts at every turn.

But we're happy, too.  They're leaving because they're following Jesus, and there's no better place to be than smack dab in the center of God's plan.  We know that He's moving them for a reason, and that the whole family will be able to do big and wonderful things in His name in their new coastal home.  They'll make new friends, draw in others, and show all sorts of new people the amazing love of Jesus.

So while it's a sad day for our church, it's also a day to celebrate.  Our pastor is putting his money - and his family and his everything - where is mouth is.

That's a reason to celebrate.

For more GratiTuesday, visit Heavenly Homemakers.

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