Kristie made a comment a week or so ago about some of her flowers in the flower beds. She said - "they were pretty while they bloomed, it was just too short."
Many times, we experience things like the blooming of flowers for a short time in our lives. It may be a short vacation, or maybe an acquaintance of a friend, or even just a feeling of contentment for a short while.
In the book of Ecclesiastes, the words of God can help us to understand this thought of a "season" in our lives.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (ESV)
A Time for Everything
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
What beautiful words.
As I write this blog post today, I am reminiscing of the "season" that is about to end for me as the minister at the church of Christ at Elkins. I am remembering all of the laughs, all of the tears, all of the baptisms, all of the restorations, all of the fellowship meals, all of the wonderful times, even our short adventure with the Browns (members will understand!)
These past 2.5 years have been an incredible journey. A spiritual growing and strengthening of my own love for the church, and for God.
That time has come, however. The season is almost over. I have announced my resignation, and the elders have accepted. It is a time in which I am reflecting, as well as in earnest prayer about the future of ministry for me and my family. It is a sad time, yet a happy time to know that so much growth has been reached not only in myself, but in the congregation. It is sad because we are leaving our church family, yet, joyful knowing that we still call them friends, brothers, and sisters. It is a sad time in which we have said goodbye to so many members that have left this world impacting me forever, yet, such a joy to know that we can be reunited one day.
Please allow me to say a few words.
To my elders:
Thank you so much for every opportunity, each word of advice, every tear shed together, every laugh heard among another. You have been a wonderful source of biblical knowledge and leadership for me to learn from and grow. You guided me through some difficult times, supported me in some challenging moments. You were my shepherds, and I am happy to have been among the sheep.
To the servants that are named as deacons:
Brothers, I know your work and attitude often go unnoticed and underappreciated. Without great and willing servants such as you, the church would not be able to achieve the growth that it has, and will continue to see. Thank you for your labor. Thank you for your willingness to serve. But most of all, thank you for your love for the church.
To my elders' wives:
Sisters, I cannot thank you enough for sharing your husbands with the church in their leadership. I know each of you heard the phone ring late at night, and sometimes several times a day with me being on the line to sometimes have something that probably could have waited, or maybe wasn't as important as it seemed. You have an incredible responsibility in being the wife of an elder, and I admire you for standing beside, behind, and with your husbands, for the church. Thank you so much.
To my church family:
I don't really know where to start. Let me just say that you all have made the past 2.5 years of my life spiritually greater than I believe I have ever felt. Your love shown toward me, your words of encouragement, your responsiveness to the call of the Word, your zeal for the church....wow. I'm not sure how to describe this church family. I love each and every one of you with all of my heart. I want to say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. I also want to tell you that if I have offended any of you in my words or actions during my time as your preacher, I truly and humbly ask your forgiveness. I plan to see you one day in heaven!
To my family:
When I was first hired as the preacher, you instantly became the "preacher's family"...the preacher's wife, a PK(preacher's kid). You became an extension of me. You hurt with me, you rejoiced with me. You stayed late with me, and arrived early with me. You did things that I asked for help with at the church building that really wasn't your responsibility. And you moved into the perpetual "glass house." But you know what? I wouldn't have been able to be who I am without you. I wouldn't have been able to preach, teach, and grow without you by my side. So, it is to you that I offer my sincere gratitude and love.
The season may be coming to an end for me, but the Lord has blessed us all with much good. He has surely given the increase!
I pray that the church of Christ at Elkins will always shine brightly, and my love in Him is with you all.
From the preacher's pen...one last time.