On the drive into church yesterday, I began thinking how First Baptist has been a part of my life since high school. Back in the day with Spireno, my friends and I would bring car loads to come hear the word. Sometimes after attending Willow Meadows on Sunday mornings, I would drive downtown for the 11:00 service. I tried attending First when I was in college but the timing just wasn't right and FBC became a blur while living life, getting married and buying our first home. That is until one of Roy's employees gave him tickets for the Christmas Pageant. Not too long after that my brother began attending First and invited us to give it a try. We did. We joined in 1982 or 1983. Those were the years of two by two and rushing from Sunday School to get a seat in big church. When the Christian Life Center opened, that is where we began to make life long friends and not too much later in 1986 I joined choir. As in all church relationship there were the ups and downs but my goodness that is to be expected as both church and church member grow. Back in the day of church picnics and fun fellowships after Sunday evening church, Sunday School potlucks and choir trips up to the present day of Life Bible Study and snazzy church marketing slogans "biblical, relevant community," the message of the Gospel is proclaimed. People attend and make friends and life is good. I will say back in the day there were some stinker-roo Sunday School classes but when I finally found Cecilia Talley's class, I knew I had found a Sunday School home. While Roy was finishing up law school, I began attending Dayspring Class and the teacher was Beth Moore. I came but wasn't involved at first but then I jumped in with both feet. Yep, that was a lot to think about on that forty minute drive in yesterday morning.
The choir sang one of my favorite songs yesterday, 'On the Banks of the Promised Land' and that song has kind of felt like a theme song these past few months. When we drive across the French Broad River...oh promised land! So fitting for the day because yesterday was my last Sunday as a member of Houston's First Baptist Church. Next Sunday a new adventure awaits as we join our local, and believe me there are a whole lot of local churches between our house and church on that seven minute drive, anyway, our local church and begin serving the Lord there. We are excited about new beginnings even though we will miss our friends back in Houston. I was so encouraged to learn last night that the choir at our new church prayed for us and for safe travels this week. So yesterday morning was filled with hugs, good wishes, plans for N C visits. All these good words from our friends. Of course with the good comes from others just questions with probably more wanting to know info than genuine interest in our coming days.
Since Roy didn't attend yesterday morning, I went to Life Bible Study to hear Dena teach her lesson. I rarely attend class anymore but if I wanted to, it was always available. Now, that won't be quite so easy. Dena is an awesome teacher, one of the best, but the better part at least for me is, she is one of my best friends. It was kind of sad yesterday, sitting at the table with friends knowing I would not have the opportunity to share with the class my love and appreciation for them. Guess that privilege was lost long ago by several factors but for those of you in the class, those that sit around those tables, that do the yeoman's servant work, that love and pray for one another...I appreciate the prayers and friendship of all these years.
As I left class, Barbara Golden was by the door and I almost missed her but she called my name. She encouraged me so much yesterday. Thank you for those kind words Barbara. You did not know how much the Lord used you and you were such a gift at that moment in time. Oh and Linda Sproule, you were too.
And that was that, although driving out of the parking lot, I was so thankful for this church. For Bible study, life long friends, life long lessons, being on staff, for music, for love, for laughter...for all these things and yes since we know we are to give thanks in everything, I am also thankful for the difficult people, hard situations, lessons learned and mistakes to avoid. Now it looks like this church will be the home church to the first announced Presidential candidate for 2016.
Oh, I will be back from time to time but as a guest or visitor... For all these years of membership, for all the above and for all that I didn't mention in the above, take the high road...it's a lot less crowded...Thanks Be To Our God!