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When you love folks the imprints of them will forever be on your heart. I have been so blessed to do life with so many amazing folks. About three months ago I left a community of believers at Christ Church to join the team of a new group of believers at a fine church in Charlotte.

Three months later, the imprints of so many folks at Christ Church--especially the Fairgrove Campus are still on my heart. The Campus Pastor is one of my best friends on this planet; tonight I joined his wife (another of my best friends) and son (my godson and heart) over at the FG Campus to clean and reset the chairs. When I walked into the foyer of that campus where I worshipped for almost three years I was immediately struck by the smell of the campus. I know that sounds weird but those smells flooded my nostrils which then prompted me to remember so many great memories there. When I came to Fairgrove I was a wreck. I was an emotional and spiritual wreck.

Kelly and I moved to Hickory after a very low point in my life. Low point in my spiritual life, personal life and  ministerial life. Weeks before moving to Hickory I was on a downward spiral emotionally. I was in deep depression and my anxiety was the worst it had been before that point or since that point. I recall being a mess in the Children's wing of FG while talking to Jess. I remember cussing and being at the end. I remember feeling like my life was over; God could never use me again for his Kingdom. 

I decided that I would not serve in a leadership capacity until I was healthy and in a good place in my personal walk with God. I initially served on the Levite Team at FG; it was the team that served by cleaning the church on a weekly basis. This was such a great thing for me. I looked forward to going over on Saturdays; often alone. I would go over into the sanctuary and vacuum, pray and get into a good place with God. Then while cleaning the bathrooms, I would think of all of the folks who would use those bathrooms. Some of them may not know the hope that was so possible with Christ at the center. Slowly I was remembering who and whose I was. 

The best thing that ever happened to me there was my lifegroup. My lifegroup filled with such an eclectic group of folks. We did not have tons in common. We probably would not have chosen randomly to be in the same group. But week after week...little by little, we started to know each other. We started to be real and not care if we were crying in front of each other. We got a chance to experience what community was. We learned to get through our differences and love each other. I have served in many leadership capacities over the years but leading that life group rates among my highest honors. I learned from them. I was challenged by them. I was loved by them...and continue to be. 

As we continue to make this transition from Christ Church to University City, I am struck with the reality that I have to look with fondness on what God did in my family and me at Christ Church. I must be grateful that I was able to be healed there and serve there. I must come to the reality that now I must press into University City. I have been reluctant to let go. I have been scared of what is in the future. Tonight, however, I am convinced that I must be "all there" at UC. I must look with anticipation toward the new folks with whom I will do life. I must trust that God has called us to serve, love and lead at University City. There are folks who will love us and share life with us in Charlotte. I told Jess earlier tonight that I am scared to truly move on. However, this week, God has reminded me that fear is not from him and it is not for me. 

So this week, this month and this year, may we be thankful for all that we have been through. May we be grateful for all of those who have touched our life. May we look--with anticipation, hope and faith--into the future for all that God has for us. May we live loved. May we live with passion and in such a way that it is always difficult for us to leave. May we have a furious love for others. May we share our lives with folks and love deeply.

To do those things makes it hard to leave. But the alternative is far worse. We are never known; we never know. We are never loved; we never love. We never take risks with relationships; we never experience the beauty of deep and abiding relationships.

So, go, as will I, headlong into the future and the calling that God has for you. Go into the great unknown with the confidence of a child who leaps into his father's arms.


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2 comments :

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, I didn't know, and I'm sitting here sobbing with great happiness for you and Kelly. After seeing you both today, it was like you are in your sweet spot to share and do life, and I'm so glad for you both. It's never easy to move on, but we can never grow if we don't. You have made an enormous impact on me and especially my 2 grandsons, you may never know how much. We love you very much and are so fortunate that we got to know you. We will stay in touch. Love and Many Blessing to you both, Carol

Ray McKinnon said...

Thanks so much, Ms. Carol! We love y'all so much, too! So great to see yall!

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