As I sit here this morning, I'm eager to write because I've missed "talking" with you the past few days. (I guess that's the appropriate phrasing with internet friends.) But so much has taken place that I find my thoughts fluttering around and a little hard to corral. (That's not a bad sign is it?! It seems I can see all my mental health professional friends shaking their heads, clucking their tongues and whispering, "We knew it was just a matter of time." lol) Fortunately, I think this can be cured with a couple of days resting; which we ARE doing by the way.
The anniversary celebrations are completed! The meals were served and cleaned up; the gifts of remembrance were dispersed; applause was liberal; hugs were numerous; tears abundant; laughter heartfelt; and joy flooded every aspect. Robin summed it up well, "Resplendent!" (Smile.) My sentiment exactly.
Doug Clay, our special guest speaker, demonstrated what one hopes to find in every "national leader". No pretense; just genuine interest in our congregation and in us as pastors. He was ready and willing to speak into our lives from the moment we first met for breakfast. And once he saw we wanted input, he continued to offer words of encouragement and instruction right through coffee after the final meal. What a blessing!
The former pastors were blessed to see that their service at Garden Grove Church did indeed matter! We all wonder that when we are in the middle of doing whatever we feel "called" to do. And the founding families that are still part of our congregation (there are four of them) were honored for their faithfulness as well. Of course, we had to insist that they stand still long enough for us to honor them. They were all busy doing what they've always done - working.
Frank had great advice for the team on Saturday morning. "We've worked very hard to see this weekend go smoothly. Now stop fretting and let yourselves enjoy it!" So, we did. (Well, I had to remind myself a couple of times. Like when the floating candles from CA kept going out every time someone accidentally bumped a table. And when it felt that the main course was delayed; I resisted the urge to get up and help serve in order to speed things along. And when the soloist's music didn't immediately start and...... Aren't you proud of my perfectionist self? lol)
All in all it really was a lovely weekend. Our foremost prayer was certainly answered; the Lord was honored and people left feeling appreciated. Can't ask for more than that!
And we did endeavor to apply Frank's wisdom and allow ourselves to truly savor all that was going on. Isn't it interesting how often we can come to the conclusion of something we've spent months looking forward to and wake up only to realize, we missed the whole thing?!
I found myself doing that when the girls were just babies. I didn't realize how quickly it all passes and I spent all my energies trying to make sure everything was "completed" each day. My to do list was priority one - not the little girls that were growing up before my eyes. It was that way with my wedding, too. Months of planning, organizing, dreaming. And suddenly there I was walking down the aisle! I had to make a conscious effort to stop running the mental list and just focus on drinking in the ceremony.
In reality, the mission is never actually complete! Even on days when I meticulously check off every item, the list for tomorrow is already being formed. And if I'm not careful, I can rush through life and never really live.
Wouldn't it have been a terrible shame if I had gone to all the effort of helping plan this celebration, diligently pouring over every detail, carefully crossing every "t" dotting every "i"; then stood with the caterer in the kitchen while the banquet progressed in the auditorium?
Earlier this morning, I read a wonderful verse in Ps. 66:12 "....we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance."
Maybe you too have been going through fire and deep waters of difficulty. But I can assure you that the Lord provides rest areas along the way! Be careful that you don't miss the opportunity to savor the "place of abundance" He has provided. It's kinda like the rest stops along the interstate. Just because I choose not to pull in there and get out to walk around for a while doesn't mean they aren't available.
This journey is rather long. So I encourage you this morning to intentionally watch for the rest stop ahead, pull off for a moment and enjoy. Who knows, maybe we'll run in to each other there!