When Kevin was a pastor, Sunday used to be my favorite day. I loved going to church, seeing the kids as the self-appointed "unoffical greeters," meeting people as they emerged from their cars and shaking hands and giving hugs. I loved moving about the sanctuary before services began, gathering in and passing out love and hugs and smiles. I loved singing the hymns and being part of the prayers of the Body of Christ as we lifted our voices and hearts toward heaven. I loved sitting on the front row next to Kevin, and then as he ascended the steps and approached the pulpit, I loved to watch him and listen to him. And oh, how I loved his teaching. He had such a way of opening the Scriptures to explain them clearly and lovingly, and his careful exegesis was distilled into a cohesive, clear, and compassionate lesson that was applicable to our lives and hearts. He never compromised, never wavered in his trust in God's Word, never faltered in his defense of it. I loved all that and more about Sunday.
Because Sundays were my greatest blessing then, they have become my hardest time now. Being part of a new church isn't so hard, but it's strange to be overlooked, for our new church is much larger than the one we left, and no one knows us. Even the hymns sound different without Kevin's strong voice undergirding my soprano, because he always loved to belt them out with all his heart. It's strange to sit halfway back in the middle of the congregation, and strange to see someone else in the pulpit. I miss a clearly exegeted sermon, organized and easy to follow, and I get impatient with the little jokes and meaningless stories thrown in just to take up time and "make it interesting." I miss the hugs and the wonderful little gray-haired ladies, and the young married couples who decided to enter the ministry under Kevin's influence. I miss all this and more.
But God is faithful. He accepts my worship and hears my prayers, and collects my tears in his bottle. He helps me bear the grief, and even embrace it, because it is shows how great the love and blessings were that I grieve for now. It would be sad indeed if I was numb to the pain, because I would have to have missed the joy for that to happen. It is part of who I am, just as much as the cheerfulness that is my usual state.
I guess it's all a part of growth. Thomas's bones ache sometimes in the night, because he is growing, stretching out to become a man. Growing requires changing, which often requires discomfort and the giving up of something. I have to let go. And with my hands empty of the things I have to give up for now, I am free to receive whatever blessings the Lord has in store for me next, and I can also freely let Him choose what that will be. If I don't hold on too tight to the old things, the things that I can't keep anyway, I'm able to receive the new things that will come in their place, and the change and growth that is part of Life's adventure.