Ember Church is done. It was a beautiful time where, once the beginning hardships of every new church plant settled, everyone was free to be themselves. Everyone was aloud to be broken. People jumped in to serve. We were quick to help people become more of who they were to be in the eyes of God. It was hard, but it was good. So, so good.
For those who attended, well, I think they came because they felt welcomed and loved and most of all, they felt Jesus there. They appreciated raw worship and a non-sugar-coated sermon that wasn’t always easy to hear but still made Jesus king.
For me, well I loved that was accepted into leading worship. A love for worshiping through song but a fear that was so great, until then, I was unable to release this gift that God himself gave me. Ugh. I still have a hard time saying “gift” so we’re just going to move on.
A friend of mine, Kelly took time to teach me how to better sing and really get what was hiding behind all the fears, out. I feel more free to worship Jesus because of her and was even able to help bring others to worship him through music as well. A humbling thing. I’m so thankful to her. I just may tell her another time! 😉
Her husband Garth was very understanding to all who were rookies (we were ALL rookies compared to him! ha!) and helped me figure out keys and through all of that practice, I know more about music than ever!
These two were Jesus to so many but to me, too. They served their butts off in music and each week it was unique and raw and full of God’s glory. And I miss it. I don’t know if I’ll ever find a church that has such a humble music team (who also happened to think we had some pretty great music, but we did!!! To God be the glory!) and brought me to tears many times. It was just what I needed to even consider, someday, leading worship again. Or singing on my own in front of anyone really, and even, when time allows, writing music (and finishing the songs, dang it!)
The preacher. Well he could preach but he was fiiiiine! 😉 My hubby, of course. He put so much into each sermon. Reading books, writing, editing, praying, reading, edidting, writing. You didn’t get anything but a fresh off the copy machine, fresh from his heart and mind sermon. Every week. A God-given sermon because of all the dedication he put into it.
Of course, there were weeks where life was just crazy at home and towards the end, that became more common. These kind of weeks left him feeling guilty that he wasn’t giving his sermons all he wanted. It brought a lot of stress to our house because I was drowning with typical housewife/mommy stuff along with a sickly child but I still wanted Ember to continue and so we pushed and pushed and cried, and fought and finally, he knew. It was time to close the doors at Ember.
As you all know, our son, Zekey was at his worst point right around the time Andy made this extremely difficult decision. We were loosing our son, we were loosing our church home and the community that we had been so blessed with and worked so hard at all at the same time.
It was bitter and harsh and confusing and chaotic and I hated that time. It wasn’t that long ago, but it’s still fresh in my mind.
I don’t like saying goodbye to something that’s good. Something that truly was from God but we had to. God has new places and people and the plan, HIS plan, it’s still the same. Just a change in direction from our point of view and that’s okay.
Our evenings and weekends have been a little sweeter. Andy is around and very present. There’s more wrestling, tickling and laughter with the kids because of it. I hate to admit that. Life wasn’t hell while he was pastoring Ember but it’s clear, we needed this.
Yesterday we went to church together as a family (and met our friend, Tess and sweet daughter Savannah!) and it was nice. It was nice to take my kids to children’s ministry and go in and sit with my husband for church. It was easy and I’ll take some of that for awhile. Until Andy’s heart for ministry sets fire again, or if you know my husband, you know it already has. 😉
God will guide us and we don’t have to worry or rush. We can just rest in Him and trust He’s got a place for us and in that place, he’ll use us and we’re excited for that day.
Here are some pictures from a sweet day at Inniswoods.
As Zeke gets better (and we keep praying for complete healing in Jesus’ name!) we see the dust settling again and we make plans for our future and seek God in what He’s doing.