My husband got laid off from his job. When you're a Pastor and work for a Church, it means big changes for the entire family. It's not just dad's job, it's our Church. It means leaving all your friends you've had for (in our case) the last Six and a half years. And possibly another cross country move. . . We started working at this Church right before my girls started Kindergarten. They are now in the middle of their 6th grade year. So, needless to say this is the only Church they remember being part of. All their BFF's are there. Their biggest concern is weather or not they will still get to see their friends.
John & his team rocking the house together for the last time!
For our boys it's a whole other issue. Zach is right in the middle of his Senior year of High School. He's worked so hard at getting into the highest Jazz Band, the top 2 choirs, and on the Track team of the largest high school in Arizona. We do not want to move him during his Senior year, where he would have to start all over. And Kyle most likely can't live at home and attend a Bible Collage, as inexpensively anywhere else. And I don't know that I could handle moving away and leaving the boys here. We've had several people tell us that the boys could stay with them for the duration of the school year, if it came to that. But, how do you do that? And it's extremely difficult to find another Church in the same area that needs a Music Pastor.
John singing his heart out, with Zach playing in the background
So, yesterday was our last Sunday at Mesa First. We had a family meeting in the morning before John & the boys left for Church. I just told the kids that "I know today is going to be a hard day, but we will get through it because we have each other, and we have a lot of people who care about us. And even though we are hurt, or sad, or maybe angry, we're going to hold our heads up high, and have class & dignity, we're gonna love on people like we always have. We're not gonna be grouchy, or short with people. Even if you're hurting, we're gonna leave on a high & positive note!" And that's what we tried to do. John lead Worship in the morning and rocked the house! (like he always does) We video taped it, and once it's edited, I'll put it here on the Blog, for all to see & hear. And then they made the announcement. I was fine until everyone stood to their feet clapping for us. Then I started crying.
Me with the girls
After Church my friend, who is the Mom of my girls BFF's, had the girls over. I texted her in the afternoon to ask how the girls were doing. (She had told me her daughter had sobbed for an hour when she heard we were leaving.) She said they were good, and that they were making BFF T-shirts. How cool of her to do that for them. (Thanks so much Michele.) They all four, her two daughters, and my two daughters, wore them last night. They also got BFF necklaces from them.
Isabeau, Erica, Cailin, Lexi
And last night they had a going away reception for us (and the other two Pastor's that got laid off as well). We really felt an outpouring of love for our family. We were given cards & gifts. And was so blessed to have people tell us how we had impacted their lives. And in my girls class they had a going away party for them. And they were really loved on, they were given Flowers, cake, cards, necklaces, and gift cards. We were blown away! That meant so much to us. This is an all girls group. It's our Churches equivalent of Girl scouts. And my girls have just finished the program, and should receive the highest award they can this next year. (Another reason we want to be able to find another Church quickly.)
I guess it takes 3 leaders for 2 girls!
Tandra, Kathy, and Vicky
We got to hear our boys (and Olivia, Kyle's girlfriend) lead Worship in the Youth Group for the last time. And at the end of their service they called the boys up and prayed for them. We told both the boys and Olivia, that if they wanted to stay on as leaders in their Youth group or the College group, they were more than welcome to do that and we would be fine with it. (At least until we knew where we were gonna end up.) They weren't sure if they wanted to do that, with out us being a part of the Church any more, and I understand that. We'll see what happens after some time passes.
Zach leading his peers in Worship
We would greatly appreciate your prayers as we see what God has for us in this next chapter of our lives. I've always been one who actually likes change. I find it exciting, just the prospect of the new and unknown adventure ahead of us. But, at the same time, I am scared to death. How we will provide for our family? And of course, Christmas is right around the corner. (If you follow me on Twitter, you know it is just 39 days from today! Yikes!) Where we will end up? If we'll have to move? How that will impact the kids? I can tell you with all certainty, that moving when your kids are younger is MUCH easier than when they are older. We've had four cross country moves. But, when your kids have their own close friends & their own lives, it is much harder on them to leave. When their younger they bounce back so fast. It hurts much more the older they are.
The Little Drummer Boy, Kyle
Olivia, on stage, ready to sing
And we want to say a great big Thank You to Mesa First.
For the outpouring of love to our family,
and for the many years of memories that we take with us.
Even though we are leaving,
you will always be a part of our lives.