BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!
My alarm is shrieking. I never let it go more than three times before I spring up like someone’s put hot coals in my bed and fumble to turn the thing off. The sound of the alarm is one of my least favorite noises. I was dreaming. Chad had just found out that he was going to be senior pastor at an amazing church. Nice dream. I rub my eyes and struggle to remember what day it is. To say that I’m not a morning person would be quite an understatement. I would be perfectly happy if no one spoke until noon every day.
Suddenly my brain kicks in and I remember the big weekend we just had. Traveling with the kids to a small Texas town. Meeting and greeting. Chad preaching an incredible sermon. The announcement. I remember that I am going to be a pastor’s wife. That in two weeks’ time we will be picking up this fun little Edgington circus and moving it about five hours northwest. And I can’t believe the blessing of it all.
This will be the fifth church that we have served in together. And, each and every church we’ve been a part of has been less like a building filled with people and more like a dear family. We have been loved on, taken care of, and discipled. We’ve been comforted, we’ve laughed and laughed and laughed. We’ve met our very best friends in these special places. And now we move to another. Where more wonderful friends await. Where God brings total strangers together, bound by the amazing love that we all know we don’t deserve.
Yet, with each incredible new adventure come the terrible goodbyes. The church we’re leaving is extraordinary. We knew the first time we met this sweet church family almost five years ago that it is special. After literally living with these great friends for these years, we are more certain than ever that our first impressions were right. So many of these amazing people would give their last dime to a friend if it might help. They are loving, kind, encouraging, and deep. They adopted us as their children and our babies as their grandchildren. Sawyer literally learned to walk and talk in the hallways of the church. Adelade went from squirmy preschooler to poised young lady sitting on the second pew in the middle section. Emerald has never known anything but absolute adoration from our church family. These are our people. And we love them dearly.
Chad says, “Don’t worry, Melissa, in 70 years we’ll all be dead and we’ll be in Heaven together anyway.” Totally comforting. Or not. I have to admit he has a point, but I think rather than focusing on the time when we’re all dead (It’s fine, kids, I know you’re leaving your best friends behind, but cheer up! You’ll all be dead someday!), I’ll choose instead to think about all of the churches where we have loved so many. And I’ll remember that we are all going on, serving God, serving people. Yes, it’s true. Life has gone on without us in every single church that we’ve had to say goodbye to. And, life will go on here.
I used to say that I’ve followed Chad many a mile, but the truth is, while I would follow this man anywhere, he has continually led me straight into the arms of God. This move is no different. The goodbyes will be sad, the new beginning will be exciting. The calling is of the highest nature. We are blessed to be a part of what God is doing here, there, and in all of the places where His loving hand has led. Our church family keeps growing and growing. And, we will continue to love and pray for all of our loved ones.
I may have thought that I was dreaming. But, the truth is no dream could match up to the reality of God’s grace and goodness. Chad will be my new pastor. I can’t think of a more wonderful way to start this chapter. God does good things.