Aug 3, 2009

Dear TSC,

Yesterday was The AG and I's last day at our church. I found myself punching him in the leg during the closing prayer and saying...
"Let's get the heck outta here."
"What? What about saying 'goodbye'? Don't you want to say 'goodbye' to some people?"

But I didn't.
Well, I did.
But I couldn't.
Goodbye's don't come easy for me. They really never have. I suppose there could be some underlying feelings there that need to be sorted out by therapy but I like to pretty much blame it on my parents. I think it's due to the fact that they once sold my horse while I was sleeping. I went to bed with a horse - woke up without one. To this day they said it was because it was dying and they didn't want me to have to see that happen; but all I know is to this day when I bring it up they shoot looks at each other across the kitchen that scream, "Don't you say a word...we swore we never would. She's testing us. Don't break!!!"

Little do they know I hated that horse.

So yesterday as I was sitting there looking around at the people that make up my church home, I felt a wave of emotion that caused me to want to say a few things. I guess this is as good a time as any. So, if you don't attend my church - just indulge me. If you do attend my church then, well, this is for you.


Dear Thompson Station Church,

In life there are certain moments that stick out in our minds. We remember the first step our child took - or that we were the winning champ on our 6th grade Spelling Bee team. I, personally, remember much more important things, like the first time I dyed my hair black. And the first comment someone gave me about it, "Are you starring in Madame Butterfly? Please tell me you're starring in Madame Butterfly."

But I also remember the first time I visited your church.

It was almost ten years ago and the building was so small, the sanctuary was so tiny. There was hardly any stage at all and I wondered how in the world anything exciting could ever happen on a stage that small. Soon I learned that the feeling you get when the Word of God is delivered straight to your heart really needs no stage room at all.

And I remember leaving that Sunday morning and saying to my husband,
"Oh, no. No, no, no. Don't even think about it. I am not going to that church. And you can't make me."


"Uh....well, because there stage was the size of our bathroom. Their choir sang a song I first heard on The Southern Gospel Hour in 1987. And I don't think anyone there has ever even heard of a flat-iron."

"We're going."


And it was after I finally took a breath from all my whining that my husband said the words that I still remember to this day...

"Because none of that matters. What matters is that in our lifetime we get to see ordinary people do extraordinary things. I have a feeling we'll get to see that here."

He was right. We have.

I have been a part of a church that has grown from 500 to nearly 2,000 in a few short years.

I have seen seen 1500 kids come to Vacation Bible School because to TSC nothing is more important than the heart of a child.

I have seen outreaches to the community, to the homeless, to the nursing homes. And I have seen outreach within the church, from family member to family member. Just because.

I have seen the sick healed, the divorced healed and the hurting healed.

I have seen families get baptized, together, after coming to the saving knowledge of Jesus. Together.

I have seen the broken ones repent. And the repenting ones be broken.

I have seen momma's check their kiddos into Sunday School so they can go teach a kiddos.

I have seen daddies get to church early just to help park cars, shake hands, grill hotdogs or teach lessons.

I have seen ordinary people do extraordinary things.

I have seen hundreds follow the Lord's leading to do missions work.

I have seen some come home from that missions trip, pack up all they have and leave again. Forever. For the sake of the call.

Yes, I have seen ordinary people do extraordinary things.

I have seen teenagers make a stand in their classroom.

I have seen teachers make a stand in their classroom.

I have seen the suicidal reconsider.

And I've seen the spouse who was days away from leaving...reconsider.

There's nothing like seeing ordinary people do extraordinary things.

And though I have made friends at Thompson Station Church that I might never have had the blessing of knowing had I not followed my husbands lead, none can compare to the true friendships I have made with the two men that I served under.

My Worship Pastor and my Senior Pastor: Two men who love Jesus more than anything else in this world. Two men who are passionately in love with their wives, dedicated entirely to their children, yet would give up everything for their Lord.

Two men who have laughed with me, loved on me, taught me, believed in me, forced me to do things I never thought I could do and prayed diligently for me. There is something to be said, in this day and age, when you can find one man (much less two) who are Godly enough to say things like, "Lord, my 'yes' is on the table." But also, "I was wrong, please forgive me. And I'm sorry."

So instead of going around and hugging necks yesterday I hope that this silly, little blog (which my pastor hates by the way...he hates him some blogs) is a way I can truly say "Thank you," to each of you.

Thompson Station Church, thank you for...

Letting me sing on that little bitty stage. And then, a few years later, on the big one.

Letting me lead you into worship. And encouraging me in that gift.

Sending me cards and letters, leaving voice mails and notes on my car during our long struggle for children.

Being as excited as we were when we finally had them!

Letting us teach you every week in Sunday School.

Teaching my daughter "Jesus Loves Me" when I am a bad mother and all I've taught her is the theme from "Happy Days."

Holding the door open for us to leave every Sunday morning and holding my daughters arm so she won't run out into traffic.

All the food. The food you brought to our door when we were sick. The food you left at our door when we were poor.

Wearing yellow roses to my son's funeral.

Never pressuring me to work with kids or babies since they do not like me. At. All.

Allowing me to grow and flourish in what it is I do best.

Letting me write dramas and perform them on extremely special Sundays.

Believing in me enough.

Singing "Jesus Loves Me" as a reminder that He, indeed, does - at Elisha's funeral.

Reminding me that "although it might be dark day, will sing again."

My eyes are full of tears right now as I write these words because I will miss you. Terribly. My sweet church



neeki said...

Oh, Melissa, we will miss you so much. I really hoped I would see you up on that stage yesterday...yet I knew I wouldn't. I would have been too hard for you and for us, and also I just knew you would want to get out of town with as little fanfare as possible. So I didn't get my wish to hear you and Chip sing "Revelation Song" one last time...I'll live.

God bless you in your new home! And don't worry, I'll keep my promise!

Trish said...

I get this and now i'm crying.

We recently left our "home" church of 14 years and moved the Alaskan Tundra. I miss our church.....well, the people anyways. Particularly every Sunday, but I know I am where God wants me to be right now, so I cling to that.
Oh and I desperately look forward to the times when I get to go back home to this weekend!!

Praying God's peace for you!

Rhonda said...

Oh, that was beautiful!!

Jeanette said...

Incredibly beautiful post. Thank you.

Teresa said...

So yesterday for the first time EVER you sat right behind me in the worship service. I figured God put you there so I could tell you goodbye and assure you that you'll have somebody visiting that sweet baby's grave marker every time she visits her sweet baby's. And I thought I'd get to hug you and thank you for being someone who "gets it" and that it meant more to me than you'd ever know. And that I never look at that Willow Tree Angel you gave me without thinking about our kids playing together in heaven.

So, imagine my surprise when you vanished during the prayer. : )

I guess I'll have to give you a virtual hug.

Thanks for the sweet words. Give our love to the AG too! Now get out of here before I break out into the ugly cry.

~ Lisa @ AbidingThere~ said...

I can't even leave you a comment. My heart is hurting.

Jenny said...

Girl, I am so glad that I followed my heart and found you during greeting time. What I didn't get to tell you was thank you for being someone I can go to when my arms feel so empty that I can't bear it another minute. There aren't many women in my life that understand that struggle. Thank you for reminding me how faithful God is and that this hard road will one day lead to an amazing testimony of His love and goodness. I hope and pray that God will use me one day, as He has you, to help another hurting "wanna be mama" find her peace. Thank you is not enough.


Sissy said...

I know what it is to leave a place. I know that pain, and the joy of discovering something new. I am sure that members of your church family will read this and know what they meant to you.

The nice thing about blogging is that even though I have never met you in person, even though we've never spoken, I know Jesus through you. You've been there for me through the wonder of the web, and you will continue to be there even when you move, cause your blog address will be the same.

You can always be in the neighborhood, even though you won't be in Tennessee.

Anna See said...

this is so beautiful. you have expressed what "church" can and should be like. blessings!

Lynda said...

What a lovely tribute... what a blessing this church must be.

Big Nanny said...

Don't let that Pastor fool you into thinking that he doesn't like blogs. He may not make a habit of reading blogs, but he loves a good shout out and will pose for pictures whenever necessary.

Someday you'll be back and there will always be room on my worship care calendar for you!

And you're right, no one in our church had a flat iron in 1999.

Givinya De Elba said...

Maybe I'll have a little cry too. I miss the church we left in April. We'd only been there 5 years, but it was home.

Loved the line: "I went to bed with a horse ..."

I knew what you meant though.

Anonymous said...

wow melissa, you sure know how to make a girl cry. i love you and i don't even know you. much love to you as you move on to a new season in your life.

Leighann said...

And lifting arms in worship..."even thought I walk through the valley of the shadow of death..."

Ordinay people doing Extraordinary things.

Keep doing them! We love you!!

Julia said...

Wow that made me cry. Awesome post. Makes me want to go to church right this second!

I majored in Communication for a reason..... said...

I ran into your blog. I do not know you, but your post means a lot to me. All of your words explain what our church means to me. I hope that you not only find a new church home quickly, but one that fulfills your every expectation! A church full of love!

Genie Marie said...

I don't go to your in your town....even know you:)..but this letter brought sweet tears to my eyes. There is nothing better than a body of believers to be part of. What a sweet letter you wrote to your much as you will miss them...from what I read....they will miss you dearly!