I remember nearly passing you by, thinking you weren’t right for me, something like you had never been part of the plan.
But something made me give you a chance – I remember vividly sat there making my first contact with you on paper, those seemingly ordinary moments which become seared in your memory because actually without you realising it they are something pretty special, a normal Sunday night which changes the course of everything.
The first time I met you I knew -there was such warmth, such love – even though you were a crazy option on so many levels I knew. I knew I wanted to be with you, to be part of you.
You were a gift straight from heaven. I have often described you when people asked me about you as being like the warmest, softest blanket being wrapped around me tight, making me feel safer than I had felt in such a long time.
You will never know how special you have been to me. I arrived at your doors pretty battered but you have bought me healing and life and joy. You have come with such friendship. You have made me laugh over and over again. You have given me rest. You have given me confidence back – the affirmations, the encouragement and the constant support. You have called things out of me that I thought had long died and that I didn’t even know were there. You have bought me back to life again – time and time again you pointed me to Jesus, reminded me of whose I was and what was important. Even your challenges have been so needed and so life-giving.
In the walls of your building, in the seats of your chapel, in your people, your precious, precious people (oh I love your people) you showed me that God loved me, and had not forgotten me, that he still had plans and purposes for my life.
I love who you are, what you stand for and who you fight you – I love that most of all, those precious lives you never stop fighting for. I have been so proud to be a small part of that with you. I have loved learning of your history, of your legacy, your pictures, your stories.
But 2 years on it is time to say goodbye (well nearly!) and it is breaking my heart. I can see those around me not quite understanding why there is a constant stream of tears (my eyes are red raw from all the tears), the tears are flowing as I write this, they don’t really understand why the big deal but they don’t know you, because if they did they would know.
I know it is the right time to move on but the problem is I never expected to become quite so attached. Why is it that sometimes the right thing is so flipping hard? So much of me wants to stay with you, to stay in the safety of your arms and to never leave but you have given me strength back and I know I can’t stay with you because you are safe. You have made me brave and it’s time.
So what do I want to say to you as I say goodbye? I want to say thank you, for every life giving conversation and there have been so many, for the prayers, the hugs, the fun, the wisdom, for always having my back and always pushing me onwards – so many precious moments, so many significant times.
I hope I have given you back a fraction in return, even a little something, I hope its not all been one-sided.
I will always be one of your biggest cheerleaders, always an advocate, always a supporter, always praying. I will always be watching what you are doing with anticipation, pride and excitement.
Church Army you may have ruined me for all future employers because I know this was a one-off, and even though you have made me cry more than I have cried in a long time you have been worth the pain in my heart and all the tears! I know I will always look back on you as being one of the most special and beautiful of seasons.
THANK YOU x