Monday, March 9, 2009

Till Next Time…

Return with me to Sunday morning in Barbados…we were up rather early to get everything packed and out of the guest house by 8am. As I cleaned out the refrigerator, made our last pot of coffee, and then finally hit the showers to dress for the last time on this trip, my heart was heavy with emotion. “I don’t want to leave,” my heart spoke. This is rather unusual for me when preparing to return home – usually, I’m more than ready.

As we drove to where we would share our last time of worship with the BGF saints, again I kept feeling the sadness of saying good-bye to the precious people who had entered my heart, never to leave. I kept telling myself that the likelihood of a return to this beautiful place was good; still, my heart did not stop struggling.

I was so proud of David up there leading worhip with our Tracy and the lovely Nicole and Linda and the handsome Ron of BGF. Just think about it, 18 months ago he was barely speaking English, and now his heart is being shared through his glorious gift to lead us into an experience of letting our hearts express their overflow of praise to our Father. It made me smile from ear to ear and soon, the tears began welling up in my eyes. “God, you are amazing, there’s no doubt about it. The evidence is all around me.”

Here’s the problem, I was going to need to pull it together because I was the speaker for the morning. Crying through a sermon is NEVER a good thing. People have to be able to understand you and it doesn’t help much to be all choked up. I knew I was in trouble the minute I turned on the mic.

As I looked out into the crowd, the incredible gift of being in that moment was just too much. Two weeks ago these people had been total strangers; now, they are as special to me as any friend I have. That’s not normal – no – it’s miraculous. And that thought overwhelmed me. I had no choice but to just forget about decorum and tell them what I thought of them – they are glorious, radiant and the most generous people I’ve ever come across (by now, there was no stopping the tears). I can still feel the uniqueness of those moments as I write about it; I experienced Life and it was no small thing.

As I finished speaking, the sadness reminded me again of the fact that in now less than 90 minutes I would have to hug everyone and say good-bye. I loved talking to people and hearing how God had shown them such wonderful things through our being there – but, I didn’t like those last hugs that meant I wouldn’t be seeing them again for a long while. I just kept saying these words as we parted that comforted my heart a bit…“Till next time!”

On the plane home I tried to sleep. I was exhausted in every way. But, as I closed my eyes in hopes of a nap, pictures and conversations of the previous two weeks filled my mind. And all I could do was worship. Following are some of the thoughts I had about the people with whom I spent some of the most memorable time of my life:

My team: Herb, Tracy, Ralph, Cynthia, Ken, Pauline, David, Barry and Sandi…each one of you have made this experience and my life all the richer. I have so many fond memories of our time together that it would take too much to write it all down. But, I want you all to know that I love you, respect you, and thank God for bringing us together for this adventure. I appreciate each one of you for your unique expression of Jesus to me and for the ways your presence revealed His grace and goodness. Thanks for the sacrifice of your time and absence from your families – I’m sure you would agree that it was worth it.

To the Saints BGF: Wow –what a glorious demonstration of the magnificence of Christ you are. Each one of you has served me in ways of which you’ll never know the impact, but it has been grand. Your generosity and joy overflows and we couldn’t have been any more spoiled. I wish I could take each one of you home with me and let the saints of Woodstock, GA get a glimpse of you in person. They too would be overwhelmed with the reality of God’s goodness through you. I can’t wait to see what further connection Father has planned for us. I can’t imagine it getting any better – but, I think it might! I love you all and pray for you for even greater revelation of the depths of our Jesus’ Life in you, and love for you.

So, for now I’ll sign off as I hold on to the special moments that even now linger in my memory.

Till next time…

We Love BGF!!!

1 comment:

  1. Very well said! Acclimating back to "normal" is slow coming...because Barbados and its people found their way into our hearts...but I do want to go back. I sense Father's pull...and you and I do quite fine together. I will miss being with you every day....but till next time, as you say. I love you dearly!