Sunday, June 6, 2010

Relationships - Blessings of Friendship

WARNING: this post may be all over the place as it is after 2am and I can't sleep....
If I had to choose one of my greatest gifts from God, it would be the relationships in my life. 100% certainty.

God has put some truly wonderful people in my life.
I'd like to write a bit about my Pastor whom I also consider my friend. And I think there is a difference. You'll see what I mean as you read on.
((Again, I warn you... it is after 2am so this might be scattered))

I met my Pastor over six years ago. I'm trying to do the math in my head as to how long I've known him - but it really doesn't make a difference. He's a huge blessing in my life. That's what counts.

As silly as this sounds... when I meet someone for the first time - I can tell immediately if the person is going to play an important role in my life. I knew immediately when I met my Pastor that he would be someone important to me.

What I love about my Pastor, my friend, is that he is incredibly kind.
His kindness and dedication to his faith and our Church is admirable.
He is devoted to love and to the Lord.
When you are in his presence you truly know that he is a man of God.
There is nothing fake about him.
Through the years he has grown into a friend.
With the powers of e-mail, texting, etc... he has helped me turn into a better Christian woman. ((Side note: I'm originally from Philadelphia, my Church is in Philadelphia, I try to get there once a month, I now live in Amish Country and I'm yet to find a Church here that feels like home.))
I used to fear religious leaders. I grew up Roman Catholic (I'm now Evangelical Lutheran) and I never felt that a Priest or Deacon was someone I could turn to for help on any level. I don't think this is true of all Catholic Churches, but definitely of the one I grew up in. There is no fear of my Pastor.

As my friend, he is honest. He is honest as a Pastor, too. But as a Pastor, he keeps his opinions to himself whereas as a friend - he delivers them.
He's not afraid to call me out on things and he's not afraid to ask me "Do you want my opinion as your Pastor or as your friend?" He's not afraid to tell me if I'm in the wrong and he's not afraid to tell me what's on his mind. I'm not afraid to tell him, either.

He's not afraid to speak what is on his heart and his mind. I need that in a friend. I'm just lucky enough that he's both to me.
He is respectful. What we chat about stays between he and I. I don't have to feel scared to tell him anything ((I used to feel frightened in a previous Church of violations of discretion and confidentiality.)) He doesn't judge me. But as I've said, he's also not afraid to speak what's on his mind.
I was thrilled to hear the Word tonight. There was a focus on being a mother and a focus on worry. ((1 Kings 17: 17-24 and Luke 7:11-17)) The sermon was absolutely wonderful ((as usual)) and spoke to me on several levels.

I found myself sitting in the pew alone just taking it all in.
Listening to the message that God is at Work always and forever.
That it's all going to be okay because God is in control.
Give your worries to God... He can handle it.
After Worship tonight I just felt so REFRESHED.
Even now, I can't sleep because I just feel that GOOD. It's nice.

After Worship, Pastor and I ended up going out for a light bite to eat and we were able to catch up and talk one-on-one.
As I grow through the ups and downs (more downs than ups) of infertility, he has been there for me. And he knows I'm worried and scared of the next steps. I just needed to get some things off my chest. Things needed to be expressed face to face and I'm blessed that he was there to listen.

He frequently changes hats from Pastor to Friend. Another one of his gifts. We chatted about relationships, love, marriage, forgiveness, hopes, fears, journeys. I was able to just spill my guts with everything that has been on my mind.

What I love about my Pastor is not only does he listen to you, but he truly hears you.
God has truly blessed me with wonderful people in my life. I think God saw that in the past I had issues with trusting in priests/deacons. I know it sounds silly but I feel like God led me to this particular Church.
I'm not trying to be mushy mashy.
I just wanted to express my gratitude to my Pastor, my friend.

So to my dear Pastor (you know who you are) - I want to thank you for always being there for me. I want to thank you for helping me grow in faith and for helping me be a better Christian. I want to thank you for being a friend. Thank you for listening to me and hearing me. Thank you for your words of comfort, your honesty, your opinions and your prayers. Thank you for your guidance. Thank you for your honesty, your discretion, your faithfulness. Thank you for your kindness and your loyalty to the people in our Church. Thank you for your sense of humor. Thank you for being real and true. Thank you for bringing me closer to God - especially when I'm down and out about the heartaches of infertility. Thank you for loving me when I don't love me. Thank you for spreading the Word. Thank you for your sermons. Thank you for being you. You are a blessing in my life and you are deeply appreciated. God has blessed you with a wonderful gift and I'm sure I'm not alone when I thank you for sharing it.

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