“Thank you.” These simple words don’t seem to fully capture the depth of my gratitude to each of you for your outpouring of love and support during pastor appreciation month. I want to express just how much each of you mean to me, and how much you have encouraged me during a challenging time.
Our little family navigated COVID the best we could along with the rest of the world. A public school teacher, a pastor and two daughters in high school … each of us faced our share of challenges during the pandemic. The isolation, cultural tension and constant adjustments took their toll on all of us, as they did many of you. Many days I felt strong and close to God. Other days I felt weak and far from Him, though I knew He was near.
As our area emerged from the pandemic, I could see clearly that God was working but also found myself wondering what the future would hold. The landscape of the church was changing as people were making decisions about what church would look like for them. For me personally, this led to a mixture of encouragement and discouragement. I finally opened up about this a few weeks ago as I shared a message about how we are hurt, and yet our God sees us and is near to us (you can watch or listen to that by tapping on this link: https://subspla.sh/tj7gh6h).
That mixture of encouragement and discouragement still remains. Perhaps it’s just part of living in this world. But I am learning to take my emotions to God and trust Him to help me navigate them, rather than doing this on my own. I’ve also been reminded that when I pour myself out in worship to Him and service to others, He fills me up.
I want to thank you for allowing me to serve you as your pastor. I love worshiping with each of you and sharing life with you. I love praying with you and for you. Your intentional gestures of encouragement during pastor appreciation month have meant so much to me and to my family. Your cards, gifts, messages and comments have truly lifted our hearts. You have shown us the love of Jesus, and we are grateful.
"I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:3-6)