I stood in the back of the worship center trying to take it all in one last time. Ten years was quickly drawing to a close and I could no longer hold back the tears that had threatened to fall all day. Finally the tears flooded my cheeks and the memories flooded my mind.
My children grew up at Radiant. Bobbi began serving in the coffee shop with John at eight years old, and she is still volunteering today, nine years later. I remember Christmas programs, outreach events, camps, small groups, Jr. Crew, Bible boot camp, color wars and so much more. The memories that stand above the rest are the countless volunteers that poured into my children and encouraged them in their walk with God. It is because of those influences each of my children made the decision to follow Jesus and be baptized.
I remember every position I’ve ever held at Radiant – and there were many. Each position taught me so much but my heart has always been for women’s ministry. It was truly an honor to be part of such an amazing group of women. We grew from 15 of us meeting in a small room to 350 of us gathering together weekly for Bible study. My first big event, Laughter and Latte’s, was nearly 700 women and my heart was so full of joy as I watched these women connect with one another and God. That was 9 years ago and from that moment on I was hooked. Since that time we’ve laughed together, cried together, prayed together, served together and dreamed together. You let me into your lives – and for that I am forever grateful.
I am also grateful that over the years I was able to watch God change lives and transform hearts. It’s blessed me to see a few people I care about take a leap and trust God with their future, starting with my husband. I can still remember when he received the offer to work at the church – as the coffee shop manager. It was quite a departure from the general manager and finance director positions he held elsewhere. The pay was a fraction of what we were accustom to. We prayed and made the decision that we were going to serve God regardless of the position or pay. John took a risk, led our family and the became the best coffee shop manager ever!
I also watched my sister walk away from a thriving real estate career to serve God. She surrendered her own plans to be the hands and feet of Jesus and poured her heart into her position as the Second Saturday Director. Over the years, I watched her pray with people who were feeling defeated and hopeless, pour into the volunteers she cared about and build partnerships with organizations throughout our community. Her passion for people and her love for Jesus made a difference in the lives of so many.
Last, but not least, my best friend Kasey also sacrificed her own agenda to fulfill God’s call on her life. She walked away from a seventeen year teaching career to serve alongside me at Radiant. While I was often the one in front she was always behind the scenes making everything happen. The women’s ministry thrived because of her constant support, encouragement and prayers. We were a team, and together God allowed us to journey with thousands of women over the years.
I’ve shed many tears within the walls of Radiant Church. Some were tears of pain, but many were tears of joy. Today I cry tears of sadness as I say goodbye to yesterday. Grieving is an important part of the process for me, so I won’t rush this moment. But I refuse to get stuck here because once again God has called us to trust him with an uncertain future. Once again we are called to sacrifice our comfort and security in order to follow him. Once again we will say yes, because we truly believe the best is yet to come.