About an hour ago, I returned home from my church’s Thanksgiving dinner. As we do each year, Pastor Mike gave people time to stand (or sit) and say a word of thanksgiving. I pondered standing several times, but my sentimental heart kept me from doing so.
There was a time many moons ago that I would chuckle (with my father) at how easily Mother would tear up during television shows. Alas, what goes around, comes around. Now, I’m the one that tears up during television shows. I’m the one who literally sheds tears like a waterfall when writing a letter to my state representative about public education. I’m the one who gets choked up when my grown third graders write sweet posts about their time in my classroom.
So, as I sit here watching a Christmas movie (the same one I watched last night) on Lifetime with two felines sprawled out on my throw-covered legs, I told myself to type out all that I thought of sharing this evening.
First, I’m thankful for my Sunday School class knowns as the M&Ms. I even wore my M&M shirt this evening. M&M stands for “Mary and Martha”, as we tend to be mixtures of the two. My Martha heart serves as greeter, leads in DiscipleTown, and sings on Praise Team while my Mary heart sits thankfully at the feet of my Savior thanking Him for my salvation.
From there, I was reminded of the Hamby family and the Kimmer crew. Pastor Mike and Pastor JC serve us earnestly by serving Him faithfully. As I hung out with sweet girls in DiscipleTown this morning, I wondered which fruit of the Spirit was the focus of today’s sermon. Each week of this series, I’ve went away challenged by Pastor Mike’s words to bear more fruit in my daily walk. Last week’s focus on patience repeated itself in my mind throughout the week. As much as I enjoy teaching His word to kiddos in DiscipleTown, I miss the sermon when I’m gone. JC blends hymns and contemporary praise as he guides us through the gospel in song. So much thought goes into the songs selected. Whether the songs are faithful hymns of my past, challenging messages set to contemporary melodies, or a whole new tune & lyric to learn…they bring me to worship at the feet the One who calls me daughter.
As I sat with friends at a table in the fellowship hall, I realized how much my church family is family. Some of the people I worship with have known me for (gulp) forty years. Some have known me for less than a year. Whether they’re “old family” or “new family”, I’m thankful that my church family is my family. On Tuesday, I shared lunch at Gallery 115 with a newer church member. The two of us shared stories of life, lots of laughter (with a few puns because…we are punny, punny girls), as well as some sorrow. Our lunch lasted three hours. You can only do that with people about whom you genuinely care. Today, due to the church dinner being scheduled and sick grandkids of friends, there were only 2 M&Ms at lunch. My friend and I sat in the corner of Empress sharing about family and life happenings. Yes, my church family is my family.
Of course, there are plenty of other things and people I could’ve mentioned which involve the rest of the world outside of CBC. Yet, in the setting of our church sanctuary, I was overwhelmed by how much that place and that group of people mean to me. I’m happy to serve with them, I’m thankful to grow with them, and I am gratefulto be a part of them.
Thank you, God, for leading my own family to that church forty years ago and for using it to minister to me and challenge me to minister to others. I am blessed.