I will bless the Lord at ALL times!
Long update ahead...
I may be going through something but it does not totally encompass my life, THANK GOD! I have a praise report today to give of some bright spots that occurred yesterday that were like incredible beaming rays of sunshine onto the darkness that has hung over my life lately.
I walked into the sanctuary last night and a dozen roses awaited me...they are so beautiful. I'll try to take a picture and post later once I get fresh batteries for my camera. In addition to the dozen roses there was a beautiful pink gift bag full of "Moonlight Path" products including the new moonlight path shampoo, conditioner, and oil warmer/fragrancer! It was all from Susie Q. and it was just an "I love you...you're gonna make it...thinking of you" gift. Wow and double wow. I was so blessed. That girl is somethin' else!
Then David and Gayle walked in the sanctuary and said, "hey we have something for you..." and proceed to give me this big magnet that says, "save the tatas" (research for breast cancer advertisement). They knew I'd love it. I did, but Larry won't let me put it on the car. I put it on the fridge last night and Jordan says, "Mom, please don't put that thing about tatas on the fridge!" Where oh where am I going to put it? I don't know but I'll find a place.
Then right before church started, Tom Gay comes up to me and says, "I've just got to tell you something..." and he proceeds to tell me in the months he's been coming to our church he's grown like never before in his spiritual walk...he's never been part of a church like ours...never had pastors like us...can't wait each week to get to the building...lives for Sundays and Wednesdays...and he says that he got the last few messages on CD and mailed them to his grandmother. He said, "Pastor Deanna, the only person I've ever heard that can teach Sunday School like you is my grandmother and she's been doing it for 42 years!" I said, "Well Tom please tell your grandmother I want to be like her one day. I've been teaching for 26 years now (seriously!) and people like his grandmother are my inspiration!!!" (I'm a SS nut, if you don't know that by now. I highly believe in it, will never stop teaching.) Tom wants John to start putting the SS Messages on CD. We'll have to see about that...
So why did I tell you all this right now in my blog...some of you who have never read it might think, "that's really bragadocious that she's telling us all this wonderful stuff this guy said about her and her husband at church last night." Well my friends, you have to understand, that this man's words last night were like life to me. I have been in such a depressed state and just hearing him say that what I am doing in serving is making a difference in his life and that he actually compares me to his grandmother who has been doing this for 42 years shows me that what I do makes a difference. Yes, believe it or not sometimes I get in the throes of depression and I doubt that what I do makes any difference in anyone's life. I typically don't "need" boatloads of encouragement to do what I do...I normally get such a high from serving and giving -- I don't require it to do an excellent job and keep going. But lately...well, I've just been in such a state that I take in encouragement like a little sick bird who is being fed through a dropper. I just drink it in and it's helping me to feel Jesus' love and nurse me back to health again if that makes any sense. And I'm just so glad to have something GOOD to share with you. Okay, on to the next report...
After Tom Gay comes up and gives me this great encouragement I noticed that on the first night of our new format for Wednesday nights, we have a phenomenal turnout, with many people who normally do not come on Wednesday nights!!! Last night was the kick off of our new format which I am leading with a new leadership team, and it not only includes praise and worship and prayer and the Word, but also "fusion groups". These are small groups of 10 that take place at the conclusion of the teaching. With the leadership we currently have in place and the groups we have set up, we are almost totally full! We only had a few spots open in the groups last night and so I'm going to have to come up with another leader or two pretty quick to make more room for others. All the leaders were very excited! And the people seemed to LOVE these new groups.
Last night we served drinks as the people came in, then had worship, prayer, I preached for about 25 minutes and then they split up in groups for about 30 minutes. They had discussion questions based on my message and group prayer. During the 30 minutes I looked around the room I saw a few group members crying and others encircling them to lay hands and pray over them. I heard one group rejoicing and clapping over what God had just done in their circle. The other group was sharing laughter together. One man (a new man) came in after his wife had just served him with divorce papers that day and said, "this is exactly what I needed tonight...I can't believe we're having these groups...this is incredible." Wow, what a hit! I can't wait to see what God does next. I am now completely over adult ministries on Wednesday nights. Which leads me to my next praise report...
Several weeks ago our youth pastor resigned and left. (This is not the praise report.) My husband is doing the youth in the interim during this time (indefinitely, until he gets it how he wants it and knows it can be - and until he finds someone he can implicitly trust to put over it). If you don't know, we were youth pastors for many years and quite effectively. But that's many years ago and my husband wondered, "could he still do it today?" He also wondered how this would go over now that all three of our kids are in the group! (To our surprise all three of them screamed with excitement when their Dad told them he was taking over. No kidding. I think that's a testimony to our relationship if anything.) Anyway, Larry has a huge heart for youth (we both do) but he wondered how this dual thing of being the Sr. Pastor/Youth Pastor would go over. Well, in just a few weeks time he has gotten 11 solid adult leaders and begun training them to form a real solid leadership team with adults leading, and the youth group has more than doubled!!! Last night there was not ONE empty chair! They sent someone down to the sanctuary to get a camera. Isa happened to have hers and came up and took these photos that are here. All of the seats were filled last night and the altars were full too and one young man gave his life to Christ! Someone has been getting saved almost every week and there are lots of new kids.
Larry was so thrilled and several parents came to me in the sanctuary afterwards and said, "this is amazing...Pastor Larry was just what our youth group needed."
I'm so proud of him. Let me say, my husband has time for this like he needs a hole in the head, and he's tired. He's exhausted, but those parents are right - it's God's timing for this. Today believe it or not he is out with the youth at Adventure Island all day! He has been doing so many things with them. He just took them to see the Dark Knight and is getting ready to take them tubing on the rainbow river, and then have an all night lock in. I'm amazed by Teeby. Truly amazed. With all that he is under right now, he's plowing through...with excellence, glory to God!
Well, this is my report for today. It's a good one, and I'm excited to share it here on my blog. Yes, I do still need your prayers, but in the midst of what feels overwhelming, GOD IS WORKING, GOOD THINGS ARE HAPPENING, GOD IS BEING GLORIFIED!
I WILL BLESS THE LORD AT ALL TIMES!!!!!!!!!!!