Our hearts are filled with gratitude for the past 12+ years of service with our church family at Moss Bluff. It would be almost physically impossible for me to write a personal note to everyone who has blessed my family and I in some special way these past several weeks. “Thank you” will have to suffice; although please be assured that it comes from a full and truly grateful heart.
The fellowship at our home yesterday was so sweet and special: so many hugs, so many tears, so many smiles, gifts, and words of appreciation … it is a day I will never forget. Special thanks go to the team of ladies who completely took care of the food, decorations and serving for us: Mona Mouhot, Kathy Bushnell, Judy Wood, Venita Barton, Sammy Miller, Chancey Mouhot, and Merci Dixon, as well as Rick, Dalton, Thomas and others. You took the burden for us and made the special day possible.
Although I had not planned for it to happen, I found myself sharing some things repeatedly with the individuals and small groups who congregated around my recliner yesterday afternoon. I realized later that this was perhaps my final, informal “message” of sorts to my congregation. These are things I want each of our church members to know:
— I am not sitting here mourning and grieving for what is happening to me. I am at peace. I have preached for the last several years that I believe that God is sovereign; that He has a plan and purpose for everything that happens to us, and that He brings good from even our most painful experiences. Now is my opportunity to live out those truths. And as I find myself in what is in many ways a painful, discouraging situation, I find I really DO believe those truths. God has a purpose, a plan, a ministry which He will accomplish through me yet for His glory. Although we may not understand it now, when we get “down the street and around the corner” a bit, we will see it. But I am at peace about what God is doing with me now.
— God is also demonstrating Himself to be faithful in marvelous ways. I am reading in the Book of Exodus in my morning devotions right now, where the people of Israel are walking with God and seeing His provision one day at a time. This is exactly what He is doing for us in our own “exodus.” Making the decision to leave FBCMB was a step of faith. I liken it in a sense to “stepping off a cliff” without a parachute. I believed it was the right thing to do for our church, but what would happen to me and my family? But God has demonstrated that HE is my “parachute”; He has given us one providence after another — beginning with the very generous love gift the church gave us for our departure. It was above and beyond any expectations, and is a comfort and providence for our family. Thank you so much. And God continues to give us new providences every day: two special families from church have offered to take their time to move our belongings all the way to Oklahoma. Others are volunteering to help pack and load — relieving us of a heavy burden, especially as I am unable to do any of these things. We put our house on the market a few days ago — and got a contract on it ONE WEEK later! We wondered what I would do for a doctor when we arrived in Norman — and two days later, someone from out of state who read my blog sent me the name and phone number of a doctor who treats POTS patients, who has worked in the Mayo Clinic — and who just moved to Norman! I could go on and on. God is answering prayers, providing blessings, and giving providences by the day. I truly feel as though I am living out what the people of Israel experienced in Exodus. Although I would never have chosen to undergo this trial, it is one of the spiritual experiences of a lifetime to walk with God daily and to behold His providence and provision unfold before our very eyes.
God is loving, faithful, providential, and wise — and He is worthy of our worship and total commitment. I know that I am not the only one who is being tested in this situation. This has been, and will continue to be, a time of testing for the whole church body as well. This is an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to God and His church, to keep your eyes on Him and not on men, to be faithful in your ministries, and to practice your love for each other. Please know that we love our church family, and we are in prayer for you all during this crucial transition time. These past 12 years at FBCMB have been among the very best of our lives, and we will never forget them, or you.
Cheryl, Michael & I will be leaving for Oklahoma next Tuesday, February 26th, and most of our furniture, etc., will come up about a week later. Our address will be:
1713 E. Lindsey Street, #3
Norman, OK 73071
My firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail will only be active for a few more days. You may contact Cheryl & I at the home e-mail we will continue to share: email@example.com. Our cell phone numbers will remain unchanged for the present. You may also continue to keep up with me on Facebook, and on my blog at shawnethomas.com.