I think I cried through the whole thing, listening to the stories these people had to tell of God's incredible grace and pursuit of them.
And now I know for sure that I was not supposed to be up there with them. After the service was done, I walked away thinking that it was a really good thing I didn't talk to anyone about it. (Well, at least at church anyway)
That part of the day was wonderful, and I was so excited for my friend and her son who were baptized together, prayed for each other up there, and had the courage to get up and share their stories. I was so thrilled for them that afterward I think I hugged them both about three times!
God is so good.
That night, we had a celebration and farewell for our associate pastor and his family. They are planting a new church in a town about 20-25 minutes north of us. Oh, it was so hard to say goodbye that night. Many people gave testimonies of how this pastor and his family have impacted their lives.
My husband made a DVD of pictures put to songs, as a digital scrapbook for them. We showed that at the end, and it helped lighten the mood a little bit. There were many tears shed that night though.
Yesterday morning, as a staff we got together with Pastor Brad, one last time as part of our weekly staff meeting. We were just able to share and talk and enjoy our time together, and it was just good time together.
Once we got back to the office, it was like a normal day, as we were all running about our business and he had a meeting in the morning, and had to run out for some others during the day.
Today is something totally different. He is here with his family cleaning out his office.
He was our associate pastor, but also our youth pastor. He had tons of pictures, posters, books, files, and many other things all over his office. Of all the offices here, it seemed the most "homey" and the most comfortable and inviting. It was a restful, peaceful place that many were invited into during the course of his 12 years here in official ministry.
Now, most of the things are moved out of Pastor Brad's office.
He only has a few more things to go, one of them being his personal desk that has a glass top, under which are many pictures, quotes, bible verses and cards.
His girls and wife are carting things out one at a time. The walls are bare, and he is patching up the holes.
That's the external activity going on. But let me tell you, the internal turmoil in me is matching the level of external turmoil.
I had a doctor's appointment for the kids this morning, early. I was told one thing by their doctor about my son's bee allergy and his need for close access to his EpiPen (he is 6 and a half). He recommended that it be with him all the time. When I talked to the school nurse, she said that he should have a fanny pack that can have one in it in the classroom for him, and then when he heads to gym or the library or recess, he can just take that with him. I left the EpiPens with her, and told her I would get a fanny pack.
When I had the chance to talk to my husband (he's a nurse by profession) he strongly disagreed that Peter needed to carry it on him at all times. He didn't want him having to hang onto it all the time. He felt carrying it to gym, etc was just "too much." We didn't get to talk about it too much as we were both at work, and I hope to discuss it with him later.
I see both sides. Yes, we want Peter to have one within quick reach, in case he gets stung by a bee. We don't know if he will have another systemic allergic reaction again or not. We have to be prepared. However, my son has a tendency towards fear and worry. I don't want him to be constantly consumed with concerns and worries about if he has the EpiPen with him or not.
Over the summer, he has come to trust that we will carry one with us, so that when he is with us he is fine - the same with his grandparents. I really don't want that to change, so I am not sure how to balance what his doctor said with my son and his reactions to things and the reality of how quickly an allergic reaction could happen.
And I have just realized that I am really having a hard time with letting Peter go back to school without knowing what is going to happen to him, and having to trust that God will take care of him when he isn't with me.
I have trusted that to a certain extent this summer, because for the most part Peter has been near me or someone else who will remember the EpiPen. But what about when he is in school? What about the lunch room, or recess, or the gym class going out the the football field (too far away from an EpiPen if it's left behind) and he gets stung?
I have to let go of control.
A letting go.
And my pastor is moving out of his office.
Planning on not being here tomorrow.
Did I mention that I really don't like this?
It hurts to see him go. It's going to be really quiet around here... and we are going to be missing a key person in our church. There is something about this man of God that breathes life into a room when he walks in.
A loss to grieve.
Though he really is no more than about a half hour from our church, in reality, I know that I won't be seeing much of him anymore. At least not for a while as he establishes his ministry and his own church.
I don't like the idea of walking out of here at the end of the day and having to say goodbye to him.
Another letting go.
I have re-read this post, and it is such a mix of concerns and worries and topics. I am sorry, but this post, much like my head, is a jumble of things. I have no time to slow down between now and bed to even think about these things, much less process them and work through them.
I feel overwhelmed and not able to deal with it all because I am working as well, so I don't know HOW to! I can't be there all the time, and I don't have the down time to work it all out, and somehow I have to come home tonight and get Peter ready for school tomorrow, and have something ready to tell his teacher about the EpiPen, if he isn't going to be carrying it around with him all the time.
Then I have to come to work tomorrow morning, knowing that Pastor Brad's office will be empty. I may not even be able to pull away a whole lot tomorrow morning because I will be dropping off Peter at school, so I will be getting to work maybe only 15 minutes early, rather than the 35-40 minutes that I have been used to. I won't get my time in the sanctuary with God the way I want.
Oh please pray for this mother's heart.
Pray for me as again, I have to let things go.
I can't control it all - I know that - but I am a control freak I guess.
Oh God, take control. Help me let go. To trust my children to you. To trust my husband to you. To trust my job to you. To trust my friends to you. And to truly hand them over to you... not yanking them back again. Help me in the letting go, to have peace.