As promised, I’m so excited to share all about our recent trip to San Francisco for Colby’s ordination service! A couple weeks ago, we packed our bags (and carseats. and toys. and diapers. and strollers…yeah) and took a flight to San Francisco to be with our First Baptist, SF family on the occasion of Colby’s Ordination into Ministry. I cannot explain what a crazy, weird experience it was to be back “home” (we have so many “homes” now!). In a way, it felt like we had never left.
The first couple days, we stayed on GGBTS campus in their guest housing so it really did feel like we were just back in the swing of things as we made our way through City traffic, stopped by the Frasers for a delicious dinner and just soaking in togetherness, and then over the Golden Gate Bridge. It was so sweet to see the excited recognition come over Judah’s face as we drove onto the Bridge. “It’s the Bridge!” he said with so much joy- he actually remembered a lot of things and most people…which is amazing, but not too surprising: that kid has the memory of an elephant! Eden may not have remembered many of the surroundings, but she was so excited to see our sweet friends!
How can I really express those moments with our treasured friends whom we miss and love so dearly?! Our first full day, we got to hang out with “KeeKee” (aka Keely) and ran up to the mall for Colby to get that haircut we didn’t have time for before we left. She and I took the kiddos up to Judah’s old therapy clinic and he was *so* excited to see Ms. Suzie and Mr. Michael…I’m pretty certain the feeling was mutual! Got to spend the afternoon with Amanda swinging our kids at the playground and helping her prep for dinner guests. I realize many of you don’t have the privilege of knowing many of the friends I will mention in this post…I wish you did. It was such a comfort and a treasure to just do normal stuff like get haircuts, swing babies, eat dinner together and wash dishes together- the kinda stuff you do when you’re with family.
We were so blessed for Rachel (of the fabulous Rachel Blackwell Photography, of course!) to take a few minutes out a super busy weekend to snap a few pics for our Christmas cards! This girl can get some seriously awesome work done in 15 minutes! It was literally 15 minutes!! We had the chance to gather with a large group of friends and see a whole bunch of folks at the same time and then headed to Evans and Natalie’s apartment where they graciously let two adults and two crazy kids descend upon them for 3 nights! How in the world were we even blessed with a coffee date with NO KIDS with Megan and Joe while his parents (who were also visiting from out of town!) stayed with the kids at nap time?! Our friends are SO awesome, that they even planned a “Friends-giving” dinner for us since we were a little bummed that Thanksgiving would only be a table for four at our house this year! There is just nothing like gathering together around a big table, talking about all the exciting things the Lord is doing in personal and ministry lives, playing with one another’s kids and, oh yeah, eating some of the most delicious Southern cookin’ food you’ve ever tasted! It was a little emotional realizing that this may be the last time we all (well, almost all…we missed you, Chapmans!) gather at the same table this side of Eternity as we are being dispersed- literally all over the world- doing ministry. Blessed beyond measure…I was loving every second.
We were so busy getting here and then doing all this other fun stuff, that I really hadn’t even had much time to think of what the actual Ordination service was going to be like! As Natalie and I were squished in the third row of our rental car on the way to the service, it hit us both that this service may be pretty darn emotional too! It was amazing to see four of the five men being ordained had been at seminary together, been in small group together, served at the same church together. Each of these four families have gone through unexpected and unimaginable personal pain and struggle as they were establishing their ministry- and they had done it together. We, as wives, had many a time of frustration, hardship and challenge getting to this point and had walked the hard roads together in prayer and love. To stand next to these sisters as we watched our beloved husbands make a vow before the Lord to serve the Church was one of the most humbling and greatest honors of my life. They were exhorted before the Church Body for their hard work and loving dedication and given the “stamp of approval” after being extensively interviewed on various theological and practical ministry topics. But finally, our church Body came around us and prayed over each couple and the ministry that God has uniquely called each family to…man oh man, talk about a lot of snotty tears! I love these people with a God-given love and I have since the first day we stepped foot into that church- we miss them!
While there, I couldn’t help but think of how it just felt wrong for us to not all be together! Just an overwhelming feeling that my mom and sisters should live right down the street. That Jennifer and Zack and Michelle (and all our other Georgia friends) should be driving distance! Jennifer (GA) and Keely (CA) and Ashley (TX) should all be leading worship together on Sundays. My momma playgroups should have Megan (CA) and Mellissa (TX) and their kids playing together. We should all be sitting around a huge table at every holiday meal! I had a dream the other night that was so, so real and while I think it probably had layered meaning to me, I felt like it was a glimpse into things to come. I was at a house on a lake with some very key women from all different places and times in my life and there were lots of kids running around playing outside. I didn’t recognize all of them, but I still knew they were part of our big family. It felt like Christmas, like a celebration, but it was warm outside with a humid, beach-y feeling breeze. We were all sitting in folding lawn chairs at the end of the dirt road this house sat on waiting for everyone else to get there. We were talking and laughing and just so enjoying one another’s company. The overarching feel of the whole dream was that we were together. The reason it feels like we should all be together?…we should be! I am reminded, yet again, that this Earth is not my home…I’m just passing through Wherever in the world our ministry journey may take us, we will always be surrounded by the Family of God, and, one day, we will all be sitting around that big table together celebrating for all eternity! Let us be humbled by, and worthy of, our calling, Lord!
“Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” Hebrews 11:16