Sunday, November 30, 2014

Wonderful Worship

Wow.  That's what I've been saying all day.  This morning,  I had the privilege to worship at Mason Memorial UMC a small congregation in Kansas City.

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email asking if I would be interested in preaching there for their youth Sunday.  I called the person in charge of the service and we talked about what they had planned for that day and I accepted the invitation.

Later, I learned that it was a predominately African American congregation. I was excited and little nervous all at the same time.  It didn't matter to me at all but I was afraid that I wouldn't be what they were used to and that, well, they wouldn't like me or that my message wouldn't be the right one. Really the same fears I have everywhere only for some reason intensified.  I needn't have worried.

It was an absolutely WONDERFUL experience!  They welcomed us as part of their family.  You could feel how much they cared for one another.  They were all happy to be there and the Youth were happy to be a part of the service!  It was such an amazing worship experience.  Within the first 5 minutes of being in the sanctuary, I could feel tears welling up because well... I can't even tell you why but they were good tears!  It was just an amazing time of worship and fellowship.

Now, I'm not one to say this but I have to tell you that the Lord was in that place today!  The song choices (made by someone else who didn't know what my message was about) fit perfectly with my sermon.  The advent readings they did went right along the same lines as well even though they were not from the lectionary.  Everything just seemed to be planned for the message I had prepared.  It was amazing.

Funny thing is, when I received the email about preaching there, I was in the middle of an article that just seemed to scream, preach on this topic for this Youth Sunday!  Everything for this day just seemed to come together and fit perfectly like a puzzle.

My family really enjoyed it too.  They felt so welcome and loved.  My daughter said, "I love going with you to these small churches because they are just AWESOME!"  My husband even said, "Maybe we can go and visit there every once in a while.  I really enjoyed it and wish we lived closer."  We smiled and laughed and shared stories of the different people we had met there with each other all the way home.

No words can to do justice to the feeling we had as we left there today but WOW.  It was awesome we definitely worshiped today.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Different Kind of Thanksgiving

This was a different kind of Thanksgiving for me. First we weren't home, not our home. We don't usually travel during the holidays. We've always just stayed home with our little family and I love that. This year I decided that I wanted to be with my mother and siblings since it is the first holiday without Daddy. It was good to be with family and was a good day- sad but good. I know it was hard for my mom. I can't imagine what it is like to lose the love of your life... They had been married 56 years and had known each other for almost ever! 

Anyway, yesterday, was a long hard day. We had the graveside service. I had told my mom just over a week ago that I wondered what that day would be like... I felt like I had dealt with it and wondered how it would make me feel... I think I was afraid that I was past the sadness and that it would seem like I didn't care... I needn't have worried. It was just as hard a day as the funeral!

I miss my daddy everyday. Sometimes we'll be laughing at something and I'll think how he would have laughed at it, or I think of his stories and how tickled he would get when he told them and we would laugh more just because of the way he laughed than about the story. I loved to hear him laugh.

Anyway, it was a different kind of Thanksgiving. I struggled a bit through it. I was thankful for so much but sad too. Made it kind of hard to focus on what I am thankful for this year, but here it is...

1. Family--both near and far, both present and past
2. A home filled with people I love
3. Finally live less than 10 hours from my mom and siblings
4. Opportunities --to love, to care, to preach, to share, to grow
5. Time with my family
6. I love yous and hugs
7. This puppy sitting in my lap on the car ride home.

There is much to be thankful for today and every day and I need to remember to be thankful in all things.

Tomorrow morning I'm preaching on doing hard things for a youth Sunday at nearby church. I'm excited and nervous all at once. Maybe if it goes well, I'll post the transcript there tomorrow afternoon.  Next week I'm preaching again! That will make 3 weeks in a row. Exciting!