“ I thank my God every time I remember you,
constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you,
because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now.”
I write with a full heart – a heart of joy, excitement, gratitude and grief. I am joyful because I have journeyed with you for many years, and you have challenged, encouraged, accepted, and loved me. You are my family in Christ, and First Congregational has become my home. It was in this place that I first thought, “I was made to work in the church.” It was here that I wrestled with jail ministry and the pain and brokenness I encountered there. It was here that I felt God compelling me onward to seminary. Many of you recognized that calling even before I did.
I am excited at the possibility of future ministry. I have no idea what that might be; I am trying to be open to every possibility. As Pastor Deb reminded me, when nothing is certain, anything is possible.
After being showered with gifts and good wishes, I am filled with gratitude. Your monetary gift overwhelmed me. Thank you. The many handmade gifts were thoughtful and comforting. Your written notes and cards were inspiring. The meal was extraordinary – this family really likes to eat! Your fellowship, all the hugs and prayers, smiles and tears, were food for my spirit.
Grief is here too, mixed with all those other emotions. We must have endings if we want beginnings. Changing seasons welcome a new cycle of life. Death comes before resurrection. We as Christians know what it means to say goodbye to the old life and step forward in faith toward the new. Grief is our silent companion whenever we say goodbye.
I prefer to say “until we meet again.” July and August will be sabbatical months, filled with family visits, travel and home projects. I know I need a few weeks of rest before I plunge into a job search. I appreciate your prayers and positive thoughts: keep them coming! I will also be praying for you, as I often do.
With all my heart, I thank God for you!