This Thursday is a lot different than last Thursday. This Thursday: there are seven (note– just 7, not 27, or 77 or 700) boxes left in the living room, our doggie is content dominating her new squeaky toy, my husband is doing such strategic office organization that I am beginning to rethink his vocation and I am saying to myself, “Yes, I think you have time to go ahead and update your blog.” Last Thursday, on the other hand, was a rainy, 4th of July move-in to our new home in Wilmore, Kentucky. After weeks of preparation best summarized by cardboard moving boxes and that packing tape roll-y/smack noise I was feeling pretty zapped. I know it’s dramatic, but my mental picture of myself on that move-in morning is with little slit-eyes, a coffee IV, some kind of matted hairdo and weird shoes. Yep.
So, I’m not writing that you might have the unfortunate image of me looking like a mover–zombie. Instead, I’m writing to let you know that the Body of Christ has been ANGELS. True angels. All of those sacred phrases like “being the hands and feet” and “being known by love” and “feeding and clothing and taking care” weren’t just phrases, but were walking, moving, talking GINORMOUS hearts and we were the receivers. I have never had nor seen brand new neighbors come over to help you unload after 1. you pull your diesel truck into their sleepy-town and SLEEPING neighborhood at 12:30 am 2. the rain is not stopping 3. it’s their day off 4. The moving ramp is steep, slippery and somewhat of a death wish.
But they did. Five new neighbors, they all came over with broad smiles and peaceful dispositions and Wilmore welcome brownies and they did. And even as the rain kept doing its thing and the Gatorade ran out and their glasses got wet, they were easy and light. Those were/are our Bluegrass angels. East Texas angels, you are next.
I suppose one of the greatest gifts you can give a person is your belief in them. And that’s where things started for us, Texas angels, with your belief in us. When we started saying, “I think this is it. I think we are called to this ministry-thing for the long-haul and need to pursue formal theological education.” People can say lots of things when someone speaks out of their heart like that. They can say things like, “Hmm. That’s interesting. I hope that works out for you!” They can leave things at, “Good Luck! We will be praying for you!” You gave us more than that. Instead, there were lots of knowing smiles and sincere head nods and almost winks. Phrases like, “Of course you are! We were just waiting for you to figure that out.” It was the best because it was sincere and made us feel like we weren’t crazy, and maybe, just maybe, we were listening to the voice of God with the clear ears and the soft hearts I pray for. The Pastors, the staff, our whole community really were quiet fans declaring into our lives big, God-filled dreams like loving parents do for their children. To this grand community of dream-believers and us-believers: thank you. I speak for both of us when I say your words have burrowed their way deep in the soul of this journey and we feel them. We feel the way you have told us that we are a team and we complement each other well. We feel the way you told Luke he can be a great Greek scholar and I can be a devotional writer. We feel the way you tell us our ministries have spoken to you. And in times of doubt and the inevitable jerkiness of transition we will cling to God and your send-off chorus: Have Faith. God is making a way for you. This is your path and it’s GOOD.
And what’s incredible is that these words were just the first part. That moving week you were angels in word AND deed, who clapped and flapped your wings, flew behind us, packed our boxes, brought us lunches, filled our gas tanks, scrubbed our oven, weed-wacked our lawn, touched up the ceiling paint (serious saint), did our laundry and raised tuition support. The list is endless. And truly, it is because of you, this divine momentum and this Holy Spirit-push that we are here. Texas angels, you have sent us off with buckets, and I mean BUCKETS of self-sacrificing, Christ-like love. No wonder it was raining buckets when we got here– it was just reminiscent of the buckets you sent us off with. Love-Rain. Sorry. I didn’t quite recognize it in my mover zombie state.
So now here we are (we’ve been saying that a lot lately) and to make this finale/beginning even grander, we recently received word that a number of personal contributions are being sent to Asbury for Luke’s tuition. Again, I say the heartfelt and inadequate words: thank you. In faith, you have believed in us so much so, that you have opened your hearts, homes, time, words and wallets for us. I am head-to-toe honored to call you our friends and very unsure about an adequate expression of my gratitude. So, Ill tell you this: in 1 Samuel 20:41, the writer Samuel captures the intensity and humility of David and Jonathan’s friendship when David kneels to the ground and bows, three times before Jonathan. Even though I am not near you, I am before you in so many other ways, and as David bowed before Jonathan, I bow before you. And after I get up, we get up, after we stop unpacking boxes and saying things like “here we are” and “I’m not sure there is a shirt/shoes law in Kentucky” we will begin to live ourselves into this new work God has begun in us. We are in this together- you and us- an angel army of cheerleaders, of teachers, of mentors and scholars. An army of ceiling painters and cooks and organizers and lawn mowers and peacemakers. A hospitable army, a merciful army, a wise army, a God-fearing one. Blessed be YOU, the angels who work for the Glory and the Kingdom of God.
Oh, and one more thing: we really miss you. All our Love, Sarah and Luke