Amy was sitting in the cozy lift chair in our den on Sunday afternoon as we discussed her eventual return to Meadow’s worship gatherings. She greatly misses being with her church family on Sundays and Wednesdays so we’ve been looking forward to the day of her return which is not yet pinpointed on our calendars. We have agreed that, when she makes it back, we will devote some time for her to be able to publicly convey her personal thanks to our church family. Her heart longs to be back among the family of God, singing, interacting and worshiping her King. We’ve been tempted to rush things but sound advice has prevailed and we are patiently waiting for the big day. The Meadow family has been incredibly gracious, understanding, available and generous to us. Honestly, it has been an humbling experience as God has taught me how to receive the ministry of others as the Lyles have been in way over our heads since June 16th. I suppose the best thing I might say on behalf of my family is what Paul wrote nearly 2,000 years ago:
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy.” – Philippians 1:3-4
Every card to us in the mail has helped – thank you. The meals have been a wonderful provision, both in the content of what has been delivered and the spirit behind them (I’ve gained back 13 pounds of the 30 I had lost!). Every morning as I walk out my front door and down the wheelchair ramp, I’m reminded of the two men who built it and painted it – I am so grateful to them for using their gifts on our behalf. Flowers ornamented our home and brought cheer to Amy as she knew someone had thought of her before sending them. The youth group at Meadow came and prepared our downstairs by packing up clutter and arranging a bedroom for Amy’s aunt who is staying with us now as she provides care for Amy and the children. Meadow’s Student Pastor, Rusty Vanderford spearheaded a project that converted our garden tub into a wheelchair-accessible shower with a sit-down bench. Others sent financial help and restaurant gift cards, knowing the expenses would be large for us – thank you (by the way, we’re ok and no further need for financial donations exists). Many of you took care of our two precious kids when we were unable to; you made their summer break a delight in spite of our family’s challenges – thank you! Some of you sent music on CD and books with kind notes to my beautiful wife and it served to cheer her – again, thanks. Nobody has complained about unreturned phone calls or emails that never got a reply – your understanding has helped me not to feel pressured to be anything more than a husband and father at this critical time. I could not overstate the strength we have drawn from knowing that so many are praying on our behalf. My own prayer and devotional life seem nonexistent at times and I have not only appreciated the prayers of others…I’ve greatly needed them. And what about the ceaseless work at Meadow? The pastors, staff and volunteers have flawlessly kept the “ministry-machinery” running and I am indebted to them. Meadow has a treasure in Pastor Larry and nobody will ever know the extent of what he does behind the scenes to serve our church family. In my prolonged absence we are learning that nobody is so essential that God’s work can’t continue without them. That tells me that our church is growing in spiritual strength. I could list many more ways in which the body of Christ has served as His hands upon our lives during this time but I’m running out of space. That’s how good you’ve been to us and I trust that we will never forget it.
To God be the glory for His mighty work in and through you. May this challenge which has been entrusted to us all serve to further reveal the genuineness of His grace upon us and our confidence in Him. Many have suggested that what has occurred in my family’s life is an attack of the enemy; if it is, he must see that something amazingly God-glorifying is on the horizon. Let’s be there when it happens.
With love and deep gratitude,