A number of years ago we got to hear Pastor Mark Webb preach at the Mid-American Reformed Baptist Family Conference, and he used that phrase throughout one of his rather amusing sermons. To this day if someone says it and others laugh, you know they attended that conference.
I was noticing this past Sunday, my 5th one in a row back in my church home, how that applies. So much is the same and yet different.
Many of the same faces are there, but many are not and have been replaced by new ones. Of those that are the same, many have grown up from little kids that I last recall! Some families expanded in number through natural and adoptive means.
I am now sitting on the ‘sheep’ side of the church. That was a running joke that we had always sat on the goat’s side, so when I came back I was told I needed to sit with sheep this time. So in that sense it is different, from the view to the pew occupants.
That is something I’ve noticed that has been a bit of a brief emotional moment here and there, the absence of half of a couple that at one time were so precious to us (me and the ex) as friends. He is there, the remaining half of that couple, with their kids, in the same pew as always. Second row from the front, goat side. For years we all shared that pew, often had lunch after church together, played Rook on Friday or Saturday evenings, attended the men’s softball games while our husbands played and we socialized with the women. It was a far more relaxed and fun time back then, and for a moment I sat and looked over at that pew noticing who was missing, and it hurt a bit. I stopped and prayed for my friend, I miss her in my life so much. For years she was my best friend, we shared so much, including some dark parts of our hearts, and some horribly painful times in our lives. Our friendship was truly forged in the fires of trials when we came together and leaned on each other, prayed for each other, and sat on ‘attitude row’ together at women’s bible study on Friday mornings. (we were your non-conformists of sorts back then!) Later she and I would also go on to walk those dark and sinful roads together as well. I prayed for her while sitting there in church, that one day she too would return to her faith. Her and my ex. Where they land not so important, but that they do in fact return to where I know their hearts truly believed, where fruit was evident in them and where one day again their lives would be honoring to the Lord.
I just thought of her again this evening and stopped to pray. On one of the shelves of my desk is a Zingle-Berry she gave me one year long ago for my birthday. I love this thing, it is cute and reminds me of us both. But especially me, as chocolate to me is a food group and should be the base of the food pyramid!
I miss you, C, very very much! I’ve made it my goal to pray for you whenever I see the Zingle-Berry.