Of course it was nice to have my sister and family in church with me. Some other things that meant a lot today...
Tom and Cathy drove in from vacation to be at church today...just felt it was important to be there for Larry and I. You know, it means the world...really. They didn't have to do that. Who drives back home from vacation to be with their pastor? The Garland's do, because they do anything they need to do to show, "we're with you." It's part of who they are.
Second, Debbie and her words of encouragement today were like a healing balm. Often over the past 6 years Debbie's words have just been absolute LIFE and HOPE to me. Today was no exception. I don't know ANYBODY who has the gift of encouragement like she does. Every single week when I come off that platform, Debbie is waiting for me with an encouraging, "I love you," and some word of LIFE to speak into my spirit. She is a friend in the church who comes from a pastor's home. She grew up in the ministry...and so she understands it. She knows what pastors and their families go through and she has made it her mission to be there for me, to always speak a word of encouragement to me on a continual basis. Every pastor out there knows what a value this is, to have somebody like this. She sits with her husband Eddie behind on the second row, and there are countless times over the years, I'll feel a squeeze on my shoulder, as Larry is preaching or makes a point, Deb will squeeze and say, "that's for you today, receive it," or "I love you, I'm behind you..." or "Pastor Deanna, the anointing was flowing so powerfully through you today...we're headed to the next level." She's AMAZING, that Debbie...
Third, we had a surprise visit today from our friends, Pastors Mark & Judi Cotignola who co-pastor the A/G in Palmetto. They were on their vacation today and decided to be with us in service. At the conclusion of the service, just talking to them for a little while was like a cold drink of water in a parched world. I told Judi, "you're on vacation, this isn't your time to be ministering and functioning like 'a pastor's wife' a this moment, but here you are spending your vacation time, ministering to me..." She said, "no, I'm not 'the pastor's wife' at this moment, I'm just A FRIEND."
Thank you Jesus, for friends! Friends who follow the leading of the spirit. Judi said, "Now I know why we were here today...everything happens for a reason..." Sometimes God knows when to send the pastor a pastor!
In the next few weeks once my family goes back to Baltimore, Mark and Judi are going to make another trip up and spend time time with us over lunch. Fun! Have I mentioned lately how much I believe in the fact that ministers need each other? Yes, we do! Connection, networking, support, fellowship with others in ministry is one thing I'm so passionate about. Judi told me today she knows one reason I'm so under attack right now is my work with the Unstoppable Conference & Pastoring Partners. Anything the enemy can do to try to bring me down he will because I am passionate about encouraging and strengthening other leaders. And if the enemy can stop that - he will. He is NOT going to win though, in Jesus name He is NOT going to succeed. The enemy IS DEFEATED.
I am reminded of the story of Joseph of the Old Testament, when he went through trials...the Bible would chronicle those trials and then the Word would say, "...but the Lord was with Joseph..." I am feeling this week that although I am going through trials, "...the Lord is with Deanna..." Yes, He is.
The next week as I'm spending time with my sister and her family, I'll post photos as I have time along with highlights from our time together.
I also have some posts pre-scheduled that I've been working on that are just things I've been thinking about and wanting to share in blog world.
There will be something here for you each day, so come back and enjoy. :-)