As I sit here thinking back over the last few days, weeks and months... I cannot help but give praise to God. Sunday, August 23rd, my husband became the Pastor of First Baptist Church of Claude, Texas. As I've said in previous posts it is a love story. And I can sharing more of the details of the story that paint a clear picture.
Back in January, one of the closest couple friends we have ever had called us. We've known them for 17 years since Austin and their daughter, Sally, was 1. Clint & Marsha Cope are the true definition of real friends. We have been together through thick and thin. We have shared joys and the depths of sorrow. We have laughed and cried. We have raised babies, toddlers, children and in the process of teens encouraging each other a long the way! And through it all - God has been glorified. They are incredible servants of God.
They called wanting to know if they could submit Dick's resume for a church they knew was pastorless. Not just any church either. First Baptist Claude is the church where Clint's family was at during his growing up years. His mother, Sharon, is still there. Claude is the hometown we've been hearing about since having the privilege of meeting Clint and Marsha all those years ago. This was just the way that Dick had wanted his first pastorate to happen in his heart of hearts - someone who knew him and our family believing we belonged with that church body. And do they know us and that church body. We still cannot express how humbled we are/were of their desire for Dick and our family going to Claude.
Since January, other doors have opened. We had given them over to God through prayer and knew they were not where He was calling us. So, on Sunday, August 9th, when Dick and I met with Lesile, Jack, Dianne, Martha, Gerald and the one whose name I have a hard time remembering.. the pastor search team, and the question was asked of us, "Do you see your family being called here?" - we had no hesitation in answering yes. The ball went rolling fast from there. Please keep in mind... this conversation was had before they heard Dick preach in person that night at a sister church in Amarillo. They had heard/seen him on DVD & CD, but not in person until after that.
After he preached that Sunday night, the team, their spouses, Lesile's two daughters and the five of us went to Abuellos in Amarillo for dinner. As I watched, listened and answered whatever questions were asked, I knew this was not just any dinner. I saw how my hubby talked, laughed, was relaxed, and it is more than say to say... I smiled deeply inside and out. The boys were just as much with family as any blood could ever provide. Hugs were given all around. Jack said to me, "Camey, I cannot wait for Dick, you and those boys to come to Claude." Of course, he was also wanting to play the boys at Guitar Hero. Another one of those funny details. Gerald has known Clint since before he was born. His wife, Melba, as we were walking through the house that goes with being the pastor's family - told me it was okay for the boys to picture themselves living there because they were going to be. More details only God could orchestrate.
Detail after detail, question after question we have had has been answered in ways there is no mistaking it is God directing our path. We were prepared to leave G-town with what we came here with... furniture that could be counted on less than 2 hands, 1 vehicle and other items we fit inside the smallest UHaul trailer. Who knew that in answering God's call back in 2005 to G-town and to give away or sell almost everything on the cheap - He would see to it that we lack nothing in leaving here in 2009? Only One knew for sure His plan. What a plan too - a house, 3 cars for that 3 car garage, so much furniture we're having to say no to some of it, my mother getting married and so much more.
This was the town that I once told God I would not go to. I knew in doing so it would mean the deepest of sorrows and yet sheer joy in saying "See ya later" to my daddy - who was also one of mine and Dick's closest friends. And yet, I would not trade one single moment here. Not the ones that hurt like heck, are/were tender as a steak cooked just so, the love that has been shown and given... not one. For in answering God's call to come here - we've all grown closer to Him than we ever have been before. That is priceless to this woman and her husband. We've shared God's love and hopefully individuals have come to see glimpses of Him. We are so incredibly thankful for how God has allowed us to be a part of His work here. He did not need us and yet He allowed us. No words can ever do that justice..
Dick became the Pastor of First Baptist Claude on Sunday, August 23rd. I know I can say with all certainty - he knows who the Real Voice of that church body is and belongs to. I have never been more thankful to be his wife and partner in serving God and others. That would be just as true had he not become their pastor.
As we draw near to the end of our time here, Friday, September 4th, I cannot help but think of what a love story this is. Please do not miss it... God so loved us that He sent His Only Son - Jesus - to earth to live, die, and rise again on the 3rd day because He loves like that. He loved us first.. and it out of the overflow of His love that we live life's moments. It is only for the Famous One do we become all things to all so that in doing so - we win the race. The prize is and has always been - God and His Love. There is nothing that we can do to earn His love. What we can do is fall on our knees, admit our need for Him, praise His name and then rise to live life remembering it is all about Him.
For those whom have been praying for our family, being of such encouragement and support in this process... we thank you. You have no clue how much your friendships are valued and treasured. Hopefully in some detail only God can provide - you know that. We ask you continue to pray as we're in the throws of once again going through what is a need and want. There are tears wrapped in packages of friendships, life's moments as we've known them changing in ways we could not have imagined, and excitement for the future. Thank you again for walking through life's moments with us.
As always, dear reader, you've been prayed for. Don't miss the Real Picture. The Only Love Story Worth Any and All Awards. It is worth seeing every color painted and each stroke of the brush.
PS: And yes.. this was the short version! lol Did I mention that both Austin and Sally have surrendered as well to full time ministry? They both are seniors in high school this year. And when she goes to her dad's hometown - we will be there.