Let me start way back in 2011, by telling you when we moved to Memphis - we left behind one of the most amazing church families. We loved them dearly and we were 100% a part of the family. While we were gone in Memphis, though, the church went through a very traumatic event and they have been trying to find their way back since about the middle of 2013.
We came back to our same church in the later part of 2014 - in late September, and it looked very different. People had left, new faces were there... new leaders. One thing I noticed immediately were the old friends, but also the new found closeness of the entire congregation. You could tell that they had been through something together that was profound. Our family kept a distance both purposefully, but also because - 2014 knocked us on our butt for most of the year... as a big illness and two brain surgeries would tend to do.
Then shortly after we came back, a big prayer request was answered for this congregation. A new pastor was hired permanently - and the healing came full circle. He is a great speaker, and I love his wife. I know that God lead them to fill this spot and take the church to new heights.
I also now feel like we can have a home again in this church. Something about walking into the middle of an unfinished journey kept me on the perimeter. I didn't want to make light of the journey they had, and while we felt some of the let down and hurt by hearing what happened - we were set apart from it too by being so far away.
I feel like now, we can look forward to so much. Even a different role now that I'm staying home with the boys, I look forward to being a part of vacation bible school... hopefully Tyler will settle in by then. He won't go to Sunday School unless John or I go in his class with him. With homeschooling, I desperately want him to make some church friends he can invite over... and I know they are still young.
Yesterday, the church had a goodbye celebration for the interim pastor... and I know that they were in capable hands with him during the transition... but we never got to know him, so it felt weird. I'm grateful to him for all he was to these people during a difficult time, and I'm grateful for the new beginning that has come as well. You could truly feel over the last few weeks a cleansing and renewal around the church - I look forward to what the future holds - making new friends and growing in my faith once again.