He’s Been There {Thoughts from a PK on Year #20}

For He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
{Hebrews 13:5}

It’s hard to believe that my church celebrated our twentieth anniversary this month. I was nine years old when New Life Baptist Church was organized and was the second believer baptized into our fellowship. Growing up as a PK has been an absolute privilege I wouldn’t trade for anything. God has taught me so much through this experience and if there’s one theme that consistently rings true it’s this: He is faithful and will always be there.

He was there when the scary spider was floating in the murky green baptismal waters.

He was there when believers gathered in my living room every Thursday night.

He was there when we had our first Sunday morning service on a cold January morning in the Rileys’ living room. (And so was their pet Pekingese, Cocoa.)

He was there when Bro. Randy would faithfully come to our house every Sunday morning to help my dad transport the keyboard to our hotel conference room.

He was there when I rode squished in the backseat under said keyboard.

He was there when I made my first bulletin.

He was there when we copied bulletins on the ginormous copier in our dining room, which sat perpendicular to the church keyboard, which sat next to our real piano. Oh, and there was of course our dining room table and six chairs in there too since it was the dining room.

He was there when there were only 5 of us for Sunday Evening service.

He was there when we had to pull out extra chairs for Sunday Morning service.

He was there when I was first learning how to take notes during a sermon.

He was there when I started teaching littles sitting next to me how to take notes during a sermon.

He was there when we voted to move to a tiny tiny tiny storefront in Idle Hour that only had one bathroom.

He was there when He immensely blessed us at that tiny tiny tiny storefront in big big big ways.

He was there when a cat was stuck in the sanctuary ceiling. (We had a pet salon as neighbors once upon a time.)

He was there the first time I tried to play my flute during service when I was in sixth grade and a rod popped out and it wouldn’t make a sound.

He was there when a visitor tried to light up a cigarette in the middle of service.

He was there when the same visitor suggested (in the middle of service) that one of our members with cancer try marijuana as a cure.

He was there when I had Sunday School in the continental breakfast room at Best Western.

He was there when I had Sunday School in the Mailroom.

He was there when I had Sunday School by the dumpsters (and fled from bumblebees).

He was there when I had Sunday School behind a little wall partition.

He was there when I had Sunday School in an actual Sunday School room with a pole right in the middle of the room.

He was there when I had Sunday School in an actual Sunday School room with no pole in the middle of the room!

He was there when I had Sunday School behind folding doors as a teenager.

He was there when I faced the elements to walk to another building for Sunday School. 0189

He was there when I joined a group of adult ladies for Sunday School.

He was there when I started teaching teen girls behind those same folding doors.

He was there when we moved to Woodhill.

He was there when we’ve had countless missionaries and pastors over for Sunday dinner.

He was there when my heart was wounded (and He’ll be there when it’s hurt again).

He was there when the grape juice had stayed in the fridge a little too long before communion.

He was there when we had our own baby boom, living up to a different sense of our name.

He was there when my heart was missing Trinidad and a Jamaican walked in.

He was there when the Congolese started coming and we found a French translator who also “happened” to speak Swahili.

He was there when my best friends left because the Lord was leading them elsewhere.

He was there the first time I ever played the piano during service.

He was there while I attempted to learn how to play the organ.

He was there at the nursing home ministry we had every third Saturday for years.

He was there as we ministered to veterans every second Sunday afternoon…and He was there when we gained the humbling honor of ministering to veterans in the Alzheimer’s & Dementia unit every week.

veterans

He was there when I played wrong notes. He was there when I played right notes. And He was there when the notes wouldn’t even play at all.

veterans piano

He was there when we fed hundreds of our neighbors and gave them the Gospel on Tuesdays throughout the summer.

He was there when we threw an emergency baby shower for a quick adoption.

He was there on the many occasions my heart was pierced by the Word.

He was there when we planned a wedding in two weeks for our friends from Nepal.

Nepal Wedding

He was there when we planned another Nepali wedding in just three days!

santi

He was there when we had a baptism in a hot tub for a paraplegic.

He was there in 2006 when my Filipina sister walked through the door and quickly took a place in my heart.

cheryl

He was there during my frequent fights with the church copier.

He was there when my friend from the Philippines brought a friend from Nepal who had never heard the story of Jesus.

He was there when the Gospel was faithfully proclaimed during every service.

He was there when my Wednesday night kids class was bursting at the seams.

He was there when I only had one kid in my Wednesday night class.

He was there when a precious family from the Congo prayed to find a church and “just happened” to find ours via Google.

congo

He was there every single time another member went to be in His very presence.

He was there when we got some more interesting neighbors.

He was there when those neighbors left.

He was there when my grandparents moved to Kentucky and He gave me the sweetest privilege of worshipping with them every week!

12418816_10103197389906920_5358420487254119535_o

He was there when the end of that one Sunday evening service took a somewhat scary twist as a man in a solid red suit came running in and started yelling with someone chasing after him.

He was there when my faith was weak.

He was there when my faith was strong.

He was there when several of our friends from the Bob Brown House put their trust in Christ and followed Him in baptism.

He was there even when I felt all alone.

He was there when we celebrated twenty years of His continued faithfulness.

famHe was there…in every single memory I have, which are too many too list.

He’s still here. He will no-not-never leave me. He will no-not-never forsake me. His love has never wavered. His love never will. His faithfulness remains and His Word is so faithful that it is called truth. He will always be there.

—–
Other Posts about church life from this PK’s perspective:
Enough. // Surround & Share // The Church Secretary’s Ode to the Church Copier // If You Give the Church Secretary a Free Saturday // Open Wide // Grace for this (recovering) Good Girl [And you can read some of our church history here, but will somebody puh-lease tell the church secretary that it needs to be updated?]
We were blessed to have Dr. Bishop E. Carter III, pastor of Bethsaida Baptist Church, preach in celebration of New Life’s 20th Anniversary. He reminded us that the church is built on the Rock, Jesus Himself, and Hell cannot stop the church. The Rock is the One who has kept us all these years. Listen and be encouraged and challenged by his charge from Matthew 16:13-20 here.
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one thousand gifts {2949-3038}

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”
{2 Corinthians 12:9}

2 Corinthians 12:9

It’s not Monday and there’s not a multitude, but I do have a moment…a moment that’s free. (And I thought I was crazy busy last month. HA! God showed me.) So I’m using this short moment to remember. To remember how good He’s been even in the busy of ordinary life. I’ve had so many “Just keep swimming…Just keep swimming… moments this past month that it’s been borderline ridiculous, but the Lord has constantly reminded me of my need for His grace and strength and He’s been faithful to fill me with both.

He’s also been so good to let me continue to do things I love in addition to working multiple jobs that I enjoy. This past month, I’ve been able to teach music, play music, eat delicious food, spend quality time with many friends, celebrate my church, interact with new people, and so much more.

In all reality, I’m a girl who deserves to be eternally separated from God. But God, in His rich mercy, while I was wallowing in my self-centered sinfulness sent His Son to live a perfect life that I could never live and to die the death I deserved. If that isn’t grace, I don’t know what is! With Christ covering me, everything is a blessing. 

2949. biking in the basement with bonhoeffer
2950. covenant Maker becoming covenant-Keeper & dying for covenant breakers
2951. pep band–past and present coincide

Pep Band with Madison piccolo2952. thank yous
2953. new tasks
2954. not of this world
2955. smashfries with erin
2956. staying late
2957. chats with cute neighbors and a delicious dinner
2958. not having a spare second to be bored
2959. singing along with T4GII
2960. chats with a smily, happy aly
2961. “did you get the dress?!” hahahahaha!

I was responsible for getting a high schooler's dress to a college girl. From Lindsey to Aly's locker to the ensemble room to the band office to my car to my closet, to my car, to Wilmore. It went through a lot to be safely transferred to Kerry's hands. You have no idea how many people asked me with very wide, concerned eyes, "Did you get the dress?!"

I was responsible for getting a high schooler’s dress to a college girl. From Lindsey to Aly’s locker to the ensemble room to the band office to my car to my closet, to my car, to Wilmore. It went through a lot to be safely transferred to Kerry’s hands. You have no idea how many people asked me with very wide, concerned eyes, “Did you get the dress?!”

2962. faithful to promises: He gives His beloved sleep (even when they’re stupid).
2963. breakfast and sweet chats with helen
2964. the kentucky symphony with gilbert rollins
2965. kerry playing clarinet in a college concert & seeing miss bailey
2966. having kerry over for a comfort food meal in wainrights’ kitchen
2967. being appreciated with breakfast at the bob brown house
2968. miss erica rose’s squishy cheeks

Erica Rose2969. way beyond. way past. {ephesians 3:18-20}
2970. seeing dr. patel for the first time in 3 years and getting my sugars straightened out
2971. practicing the tinman run at the doctor’s office on a pencil via my phone
2972. playing all night after a full day of work
{you can read a full recap of things i learned from playing in the wizard of oz here}
2973. going silent to end it
2974. snow in my hair
2975. practicing piccolo in the pizza plaza parking lot. high A-flats. yay!
2976. dinner with the golden girls at saul good
2977. mrs. b’s faces. my favorite!
2978. ||: ding dong the witch is dead :|| (in case you missed it the first 423 times)
2979. writing hard words
2980. chatting with crows and hugging jitterbugs

Jitterbug Crow
2981. “why is she said?” -little kid in the audience asking about dorothy
2982. hugs from ellen!
2983. God’s rich mercy & compassion
2984. lunch with friends & familiy
2985. rolling xylophones and carrying cabasas and timpani stools in heels and a dress. favorite!
2986. the gruesome finale of judges {Jesus, be the King on the throne of my life!}
2987. “My grace is sufficient for you.”
2988. sadie loving me in my mess
2989. 5 months worth of work in a couple of days. o.O
2990. catching up with charla at dinner
2991. watching friends perform at the station show with mom & seeing other friends unexpectedly
2992. kind goodbyes–so courteous
2993. God answering prayers for the words i needed to hear to be placed in bro. vance’s mouth
2994. the urgent reminder to be in the Word and to pray
2995. lunch at shaker village!

Shaker Village2996. gathering with a family who waits peacefully for their mother’s coronation moment–so precious.
2997. such a sweet spirit
2998. breakfast with iron-sharpening sweet ashley~laughing about birds in plane engines, hilarious parents, and life in general
2999. awnings–especially on a rainy day
3000. washed clean–showered with His love and numberless blessings. Hosanna has saved me–a scumbag who deserves death. He gave me life–abundant & eternal life–instead.

Gift #30003001. buying too many passion cd’s on my lunch break
3002. saul good being out of plastic spoons for my to-go french onion soup & trusting me with a metal spoon. of course i’ll be back.
3003. getting glory bumps during EVERY song on the passion cd at some point and nearly crying during “we glorify Your Name”
3004. mom making waffles after dinner–just because
3005. catching up with a far-away friend who is always so swift to give a compliment. kind words soak to the depths of my soul and can keep me rejuvenated for days. may my words ALWAYS do the same for others.
3006. words of appreciation not often expressed
3007. hysterical laughs with erin midday over a “hu hu ha” call from george
3008. smiles from a squishy baby!
3009. doing a myriad of tasks–may of which convenienced others and eased their burdens. my favorite.
3010. ♪ the Lord our God is ever faithful, never changing through the ages! ♪
3011. words of affirmation
3012. streamers and choreography. oh my.
3013. isaiah 26:3-4 being repeated in my life. emphasis much?!
3014. going with my gut
3015. ♪ wake up! open your eyes–no longer dead, we are alive! ♪
3016. hearing a voice that sounded trinidadian–almost made me cry.
3017. reuniting with kerry! laughs on top of laughs. 😀
3018. returning the spoon to saul good (see #3002)
3019. $5 ballet flats!
3020. windy country road adventures for a windy corner breakfast with kristen

Windy Corner Breakfast3021. God’s grace triumphing in the life of trick–such a beautiful testimony at her funeral
3022. FORGIVENESS
3023. jamie grace being so presh in person. (“i’ll thank my husband for paying the bills and buying me chickfila!”)
3024. worshipping with TobyMac & his little indoor drumline. band geek love. ❤

TobyMac Drumline
3025. celebrating 16 years of God’s faithfulness

16 Years @ NLBC3026. being a treasured jewel {malachi 3:17}
3027. church pot-blessings complete with anita’s chocolate pie
3028. promises to keep His promises
3029. eating, fellowshipping, and memphis reminiscing with the drurys
3030. hearing how a friend is being obedient and walking in the truth
3031. an ordained open night to catch up on a little work
3032. talking to myself
3033. being loved because i am covered
3034. prayers being answered–urging & encouraging me to pray more
3035. feeling put together–on a wednesday, nonetheless
3036. finally feeling like i’ve hit a point of true friendship
3037. a premature “amen” from lucy. so cute!
3038. peace through His blood & ordained good works

“To see the glory, name the graces.”

Since reading One Thousand Gifts, I started my own journal of grace-gifts God blesses me with every day. I will spare listing all of them here, but I will try to share some of my favorites every Monday. 

He’s Been There {Thoughts from a PK on Year #15}

For He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
{Hebrews 13:5

It’s hard to believe that my church celebrated our fifteenth anniversary yesterday. I was nine years old when New Life Baptist Church was organized and was the second believer baptized into our fellowship. Growing up as a PK has been an absolute privilege I wouldn’t trade for anything. God has taught me so much through this experience and if there’s one theme that consistently rings true it’s this: He is faithful and will always be there.

He was there when the scary spider was floating in the murky green baptismal waters.

He was there when believers gathered in my living room every Thursday night.

He was there when we had our first Sunday morning service on a cold January morning in the Rileys’ living room. (And so was their pet Pekingese, Cocoa.)

He was there when Bro. Randy would faithfully come to our house every Sunday morning to help my dad transport the keyboard to our hotel conference room.

He was there when I rode squished in the backseat under said keyboard.

He was there when I made my first bulletin.

He was there when we copied bulletins on the ginormous copier in our dining room, which sat perpendicular to the church keyboard, which sat next to our real piano. Oh, and there was of course our dining room table and six chairs in there too since it was the dining room.

He was there when there were only 5 of us for Sunday Evening service.

He was there when we had to pull out extra chairs for Sunday Morning service.

He was there when I was first learning how to take notes during a sermon.

He was there when we voted to move to a tiny tiny tiny storefront in Idle Hour that only had one bathroom.

He was there when He immensely blessed us at that tiny tiny tiny storefront in big big big ways.

He was there when a cat was stuck in the sanctuary ceiling. (We were right next to a pet salon at one time.)

He was there the first time I tried to play my flute during service when I was in sixth grade and a rod popped out and it wouldn’t make a sound.

He was there when a visitor tried to light up a cigarette in the middle of service.

He was there when same visitor suggested (in the middle of service) that one of our members with cancer try marijuana as a cure.

He was there when I had Sunday School in the continental breakfast room at Best Western.

He was there when I had Sunday School in the Mailroom.

He was there when I had Sunday School by the dumpsters.

He was there when I had Sunday School behind a little wall divider.

He was there when I had Sunday School in an actual Sunday School room with a pole right in the middle of the room.

He was there when I had Sunday School in an actual Sunday School room with no pole in the middle of the room!

He was there when I had Sunday School behind folding doors.

He was there when we moved to Woodhill.

He was there when we’ve had countless missionaries and pastors over for Sunday dinner.

He was there when the grape juice had stayed in the fridge a little too long before communion.

He was there when we had our own baby boom, living up to a different sense of our name.

He was there when my heart was missing Trinidad and a Jamaican walked in.

He was there when the Congolese started coming and we found a French translator who also “happened” to speak Swahili.

He was there when my best friends left because the Lord was leading them elsewhere.

He was there the first time I ever played the piano during service.

He was there while I attempted to learn how to play the organ.

He was there at the nursing home ministry we had every third Saturday for years.

He was there as we ministered to veterans every second Sunday afternoon.

He was there when we fed hundreds of our neighbors and gave them the Gospel on Tuesdays throughout the summer.

He was there when we threw an emergency baby shower for a quick adoption.

He was there on the many occasions my heart was pierced by the Word.

He was there when we planned a wedding in two weeks for our friends from Nepal.

He was there when we had a baptism in a hot tub for a paraplegic.

He was there during my frequent fights with the church copier.

He was there when my friend from the Philippines brought a friend from Nepal who had never heard the story of Jesus.

He was there when the Gospel was faithfully proclaimed during every service.

He was there when my Wednesday night kids class was busting at the seams.

He was there when I only had one kid in my Wednesday night class.

He was there even when I felt all alone.

He was there when we celebrated fifteen years of His continued faithfulness.

He was there…in every single memory I have, which are too many too list. He’s still here. He will no-not-never leave me. He will no-not-never forsake me. He will always be there.

 

[You can read some of our church history here and be sure to watch our 15th Anniversary Slideshow to be embarrassed reminisce.]