Sunday was our last day singing in the Worship Music Ensemble. One of my favorite things about singing in ensemble is that we get to look at everyone while we sing. To me (although I know not many would be comfortable with this!) it is the perfect way to apply the “to one another” from Ephesians 5:19. “Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit.” I like the idea that I am actually saying the words of the songs to specific people in our congregation, face to face, just as I do when I am in a conversation with someone, encouraging her in her worship of Jesus in whatever circumstances she finds herself. For instance, I love the line from “Glorious Christ” that says, “And all will be made right when You appear.” When we sing that, I always try to look for specific people I know need reminded that endurance is worth it. That the injustices they are suffering will be righted in the end because Jesus who died will most certainly have his justice satisfied.
So Sunday, instead of melting in a heap of tears like I was tempted, I intentionally looked out at everyone and allowed their different stories to run through my mind. Their sometimes bleak, but still, so full-of-hope stories we’ve had the privilege of being part. I saw them offering worship with what I knew were broken hearts, mended hearts, skeptical hearts, believing hearts, hard hearts, distracted hearts, struggling hearts, and changed hearts and I didn’t want to forget a second of it. I heard their singing and wanted the sound never to stop ringing in my ears, filling my soul, and being implanted in my mind. I wanted to remember their faces and the grace that had brought them safely to that point in their stories on Sunday, March 30, 2014. Because, although God isn’t at all done writing their stories, he’s phasing us out of them, and I don’t want to forget where they were when we left so someday I can glory with them in all he wrote after us.
A few of the stories I will remember are these ladies’.
I’ve watched these ladies on our Leadership Wives Team through the years and intensely observed their lives. We’ve shared burdens some others might never know. We’ve prayed for each other and seen God answer prayer. Being the youngest in the group, I have gleaned wisdom beyond my years. I thank God for each of these women and the ministry they have had informally teaching me reverence, self-control, to love my husband and children through each very different and sometimes heartbreaking season, to be busy serving (even in the retirement years), to be kind and selfless, and not to be anxious even in financial hardship. Thank you ladies for letting your good deeds recommend the Word in my life. You’ve lived out Titus 2 right before my eyes!
And we know these people’s stories reeeaaaally well. 🙂
At one point, we joked that every member of the Crossroads class had fallen asleep at our house at some point in time for some reason or another. We have had so much fun together eating, bowling, retreating, birthday partying, frisbee golfing, picnicing, concerting, laser tagging, and the list goes on. We’ve been with them through the “we either need to get married or break up” relationship phases, and then the “I’m crying so hard my heart is absolutely broken” phases, and the too long “I just wish I was dating enough to risk having my heart broken” phases. The first wedding ceremony Matt had the privilege of performing was for a close friend and Crossroads class member. The first wedding in which Stella was a flower girl was for another Crossroads friend. They helped us get ready for our next babies by watching our kids so we could paint or organize or have a date night and surprised me with a generous baby shower. They’ve faithfully prayed with us at an abortion clinic that we saw close its doors! I won’t rewrite what I’ve already said here about the profound way these people have shown us Jesus and helped make us more like him. But please read it and remember that your familial status, yes, even in the church, doesn’t matter one bit when it comes to God’s using you for his glory. We have been changed because of spending the last several years serving with you. We love you like we love our own children. Seriously.
We are eager for God to keep writing the story of your lives with all the bumps, turns, and adventures that involves. Remember, as we studied in our A Praying Life series, that although we don’t know how he’ll get us there, we know it will be a happy ending. In fact, it will be even greater than we can conceive!
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen!” (Ephesians 3:20, 21)