To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4-6
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” Although Charles Dickens penned these words as the beginning of his novel, “A Tale of Two Cities” this quote applies to my life as well. This past month has brought me a plethora of emotions to try to sift through. However, I haven’t gone through it alone. The Lord is faithful when He says He will never leave or forsake us. Despite my despair I know the Lord has a purpose for what has happened.
As you can probably already tell, I chose to tell about the worst of times in this column and in the next column I will share some good news. Through it all I cling to the thought that the Lord has a purpose in all of this and I want all involved to be in the will of God.
It began when our pastor, David England, announced he was leaving to go to another church in Tennessee. Although I knew this would someday happen, I was quite unprepared for it to occur right now. Mark and I watched him grow during the years he was pastor and learned a great deal through his teaching. He gave me a new hunger for the Word of God. His family ministered to our family many times over the years when I was sick or we had other needs such as the summer my great-nephew and niece came to visit. When I first learned that I had Lupus, Brother David prayed with Mark and I and encouraged us as we dealt with the news.
His leaving brings with it another void as over the years we became close to his family. His wife, Angie and I got to know each other as we spent time visiting each other. We became even closer after we served together at Kid’s Camp. It is amazing how much you learn about a person when you work along side of them and see each other all day for a week. Her servant’s heart and sense of humor inspire me.
Finally there is the pain of seeing the children go. Many times they spent the day with us when their parents had to go out of town. Mark and I watched the children grow up and felt honored to share in their lives. The girls, Deborah and Jessica allowed me to be like a little girl again as we spent time together.
Mark enjoyed spending time with Caleb and teaching him about welding and operating a tractor. They spent a summer working and spending time together. I was often amused when I would come home and they were sitting on the porch talking about things they dreamed of building together. They did build a boat together for a youth boat race last year. The boat now sits at our house as a permanent reminder.
Our families spent a great deal of time together working on various ministries, having cookouts together, playing dominoes and other games, and even a day-trip to pick raspberries north of Las Vegas.
Now that the Lord is sending them to Tennessee it is time to let them go and send them on with our blessing. It is true that I cried a great deal when I first heard the news, but now the Lord gives me peace and the knowledge that I need to let them go so they can bless others in their new church. Even when they are gone they will always be in our hearts.
We are not the only ones that will miss the England family. They ministered to numerous people during their time in Tucumcari from the very young to the elderly. Although they were in Tucumcari for only a few years, they made a great impact on our community. To them, I pray this blessing from Numbers 6:24-26: “The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace”.
The next time I write this column, I will share with you the good news of what the Lord is doing in life through my writing. Stay tuned.