Yesterday we ended 5 1/2 years at Inglewood Baptist Church. And it was actually an entire weekend event. It's really hard to believe. When you've been a part of something for that long it's hard to imagine not being a part of it. And we absolutely loved being a part of this church. The students we've been able to get to know have been incredible, so many of them being called into the ministry over the years. We are so proud of them and humbled that God would allow us to walk alongside them during these years. The church body has been like a family to us as they've walked with us through difficult times, supported us, encouraged us, loved on our family. We are SO incredibly spoiled with an array of baby sitters, who have never allowed us to pay them! The friends God has brought into our lives here are amazing and will be lifelong. We've never had a better pastor than Kevin Shrum....
So, the weekend of "goodbyes" was rough on my heart, but very full of good and meaningful moments. It began Friday night with a benefit concert for Connect Church, featuring our friends No Other Name, Stacy Beam, and other local artists. What an incredible night! The music was awesome and if the night hadn't raised a dime I would have gone away encouraged. But, God used it in a big way to help provide for us financially. These artists, some of which we just met Friday night, raised about $5,300 for us! We are so thankful!
Saturday night, my sweet friend Tricia hosted a party just for me to get together with the other women in the church. It was so nice to be able to leave the kids with Daddy for awhile and hang out, eat some great food, have good adult conversation... :)
Here's Tricia and me
A group picture of some of us.....
Sunday was a full day. That morning we had a special time with our students who were so sweet to us. Our youth praise band and His Hands did an incredible job of leading worship during the church service. We gathered together again that evening as Kevin spoke some meaningful words to us, the church prayed over us and gave us an awesome reception. We were so humbled by the many words of encouragement and all the great gift cards we received!
I can't resist posting this picture. Ethan, of his own volition, went to the microphone and said, "Hannah, I'm going to miss you a lot and I love you!" It was just too sweet. And look how cute he is! Can we bring back arranged marriages? :)
I couldn't have imagined ending any better than this. Although it hurts... If the intensity of the pain involved in parting signifies the intensity of love, then we have loved to the depths. And that is really a blessing and a gift. So, I guess I'd rather go through this than leave feeling empty. Instead I get to leave filled to overflowing with wonderful memories and relationships and with the goodness of God.
So, we say goodbye to Inglewood. But we do not say goodbye to the people who have come into our lives and changed us forever.