January 20, 2021

Dear Church Family,

About 25 years ago, my mom died after a long and difficult battle with cancer. I remember those first few weeks as if it were yesterday. Like many people overcome with grief, I felt sad, angry, confused, and overwhelmed. I spent many hours in a counseling chair “trying to find my way.” However, I found the most comfort sitting with a dear minister friend who just sat with me and listened. He provided a safe space to suffer without any judgment or pressure to get on with it. While that was a very long time ago indeed, the experience of losing a parent and the grief that followed, undoubtedly shaped who I am today.

During the first months after my mom’s death, I experienced a good deal of anxiety where my heart raced, my palms were sweaty, and my mind went in all directions thinking the worst. My minister friend had me memorize two Bible passages and repeat them to myself as often as I needed until I calmed down. Do you know, I have repeated these two Bible passages at almost every anxiety producing event in my life (every test, every sermon, every doctor’s appointment, and anytime I am truly scared). These words from Scripture settle me and bring calm. They provide direction and tranquility when I feel like the world I live in, the snow globe if you will, has been turned upside down.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways, acknowledge God, and He will direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5).

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)

Beth Baker and I will be teaching a Stephen Ministry training class for seven weeks starting on February 7th, finishing before Easter. The class will be done via Zoom Sundays 1-3pm and Thursdays 7-8:15pm. Stephen Ministers are lay members trained to provide one-to-one care to those experiencing a difficult time in life, such as grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, depression, or loneliness. Like the minister who sat with me, they provide Christian compassion and care during a “difficult season of life.” Stephen Ministry is completely confidential, and Stephen Ministers become skilled at walking beside another in crisis after receiving 50 hours of training. If you know someone who needs a Stephen Minister, or if you would like to become a Stephen Minister, please contact Beth Baker  or me, Kibbie . We are here to help and serve through all the seasons of life.

Blessings and peace,