Once again the kids have been after me to “write” on my blog. Little have they known that I have begun the next blog post several times over the last weeks but it has never “turned out.” You see how can I accurately and fully explain the feelings that have gone through my head since January 2?
How can I explain how much more meaning the sermon of January 1 (No Fretting Allowed for 2012) had on January 2 than it did on January 1? On January 1 we as a family were excited about our upcoming trip to Florida – a much needed time of rest for us and time to spend with the kids. But on January 2 while sitting in a Detroit motel the phone call came and our life would change forever. Instead of “feasting” while in Florida there was “fasting.” Instead of much “playing” there was much “praying.”
How can I explain over the course of the next 4 months what transpired in our family? If you had a video camera that constantly played throughout those weeks you would see a family that was, unseen to the outward eye, tested and tried almost beyond our strength. You would find a husband and wife who prayed, cried and pleaded to know God’s will. A family that made more trips to the emergency room in 4 months than almost the entire time spent in Burgessville combined. A family that was attacked by the Devil on every side and almost didn’t have the strength to fight. A family that sorrowed greatly at the loss of a loved member of the congregation. A family that longed to stay together but grappled with the fact that separation might happen.
A family in which the children each struggled with so many emotions and feelings…2 would be leaving very good friends and their only known home….one unable to complete his final year of highschool here….one whose University program didn’t transfer though he would rather go….one who would need to leave a very good job and friends…2 who are happily married to each other but would lose a father and pastor. A family who on the outside had to carry on with daily life while inwardly battling many emotions.
How can I explain the depth of love that we feel towards this dear church family after spending 13 years of our life rejoicing in their joys, sorrowing in their sorrows, praying for their souls. We have had the joy of seeing sinners struggling and agonizing with the burden of their sins and as a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, they in time come to faith in Christ. This I believe has been our deepest moments of joy during our time in Burgessville. Often if someone would come to us with the burden of their sins not seeing a way out, they would be sorrowful but inwardly we would rejoice.
And…how can I explain how we mourned with those that mourned especially with the families of those who died so young or suddenly? How do I explain how these things affected our children over the years even to the point that sometimes they didn’t want to answer the phone for fear that it was another tragedy and if the phone would ring really late or very early in the morning sometimes they would jump out of bed with that fear in their minds?
How can I explain what it was like on Saturday evenings before bed my husband and I would sometimes walk together up to church often talking about the needs and cares of the congregation? We would then copy and put the bulletins in the mailboxes, walk around and make sure everything looked good and then walk back home. How do we express how much we will miss these times??
Now that the decision is made and moving day is within a week how can I explain the emotions that are going through my mind? I am very willing to follow behind my dear husband and often together in the past years whenever we heard the song of Ruth there was a look of love that passed between us which conveyed many things, also knowing that there could come a time when this might be tested. But this does not mean that I don’t have any emotions…there have been times of great weeping. I loved being a part of this congregation, and I would be a very unusual mother if I didn’t grieve about leaving 2 sons and a daughter-in-law behind. Yet I know that I must leave this all in God’s hands. Change is not always easy…we love what we had in Burgessville and will miss it greatly.
Perhaps the greatest lesson i have learned through all is has been a gradual but sure one. I am coming to realize that if our desire in life is to live our lives to further Christ's kingdom there will be times when the Lord will test us to see if this desire is really true. Over the last weeks and months this is part of the “testing” that has been taking place. When we move to Grand Rapids many of our legitimate earthly joys will not, for various reasons, be possible and the question is…knowing this, is my heart still willing to follow Him or am I going to hold back. Am I willing to give up earthly pleasures for the sake of His kingdom? Will the Lord give us other joys that we cannot see now? It is possible but if not we still must be willing and ready to follow Him knowing that all that this earth has to hold is temporary and our true rest is not in this world or its pleasures. The Lord is calling us to a new part of His kingdom and once again these words hold so much meaning, “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
My dear friends at Burgessville I do love you and will miss you greatly…please continue to pray for us.