Tonight was the night the West Huntsville church said goodbye to the Anderson family. They’ll always have a tender spot in our hearts. Glenn and I have known Nathan since he was three years old. His dad was a deacon in the church where Glenn preached when our children were very young. He was our son Caleb’s backyard Ninja Turtles partner, camp basketball teammate and college roommate. They stood up for each other at their weddings. Now Nathan is a deacon in the church in which his own children are growing up. At least he was.
Nathan, Ellen and their three sweet children, Nell, Cliff and Mark, will be traveling to the UK tomorrow, where Nathan will be working for the next three years. I can’t imagine the richness of the adventure for three children who will come back to Huntsville in three years with distinctly British accents and conversing about the barbours and wellies they have in the boot of the car. But the hole they leave behind is already palatable and their absence will surely make us appreciate the fact that God has given us family in the body of Christ.
Every day something makes me vastly glad He made us family with the blood of the firstborn.
Glenn and I have been attempting to try and help a sweet couple put their marriage on the right track for the past several months. They’ve worked hard and we think they have come a long way. But finances are tight and some ditches of depression are just easier to escape when there’s a change of scenery. Glenn and I strongly recommended the Great Smoky Mountain Marriage Retreat (https://smokymountainmarriage.com) for this change of scenery. Within hours, I found Christians who were willing to make sure their registration fee was paid. Another sister offered lodging in a cabin in the beautiful Smoky Mountains. This life-changing event has been made possible for this couple because we are a family.
Five sibling babies needed a home and family. One couple in the body was willing to love and raise them in the Lord. Another family had the resources to pay the bulk of adoption fees. Another did leg work to connect children to parents. Yet others contributed financially and gave emotional support. Because we are a family.
‘One young person in the church was assumed to be participating in a very worldly activity simply because the activity was on the itinerary of the group with which she was traveling. But a family (church) member said “Let’s not assume she did this. Let’s ask her.” Sure enough the young lady had abstained from the activity even though the whole group was participating. Family members not only hold each other accountable, but we assume the best about one another. We’re family.
Someone’s having surgery. Someone else is cooking food. Someone’s having a Bible study with a non-believer. Someone else is watching the children. Someone’s child is needing costly medical attention. Someone else is contributing anonymously. Someone’s loved one has passed away unexpectedly Someone else is helping with funeral expenses. Someone’s despondent. Lots of others are writing notes of encouragement. Someone is putting on Christ in the middle of the night. Someone else is rejoicing all the way to the water.
Because we’re family (2 Corinthians 6:17,18).
I’m not great at goodbyes. I did come back to the auditorium last night, after a short meeting in Glenn’s office to get my hugs, and the Andersons were already gone. (I can hardly even fathom how many loose ends they must still be tying even as I write.)
So Nate, Ellen, Nell, Cliff and Mark…know that Glenn and I will be keeping you close in prayer, counting the weeks till your pew is full again, all your jobs are back in your capable hands and three of Mammy’s sweet children are playing on the steps down front again. (I hope they are not too big to do that when they get back!) Post a lot of the pictures we love ( and some of the scenery there, too) and tell us the funny things the kids say. Remember to pray for your family here often. Build the kingdom there, but remember where home is. Your family here loves you!