Sunday, October 14, 2012

Three Wise Men

October is Pastor Appreciation Month.  I'm very appreciative for three pastors in my life, one from my childhood, one from my past, and one in the present.

The first, and most important of which, was my Grandpa Coons.

I've shared bits and pieces about my Grandpa on this blog.  In fact, one of my very first posts was about him and JOY.  Grandpa and joy just went together.  He exuded it.  You rarely saw him without his sweet smile, which lit up a room.  There are so many fond memories I'll always treasure of him... from late night sneaks for something sweet in the kitchen (ice cream and Sprite), to playing pool, to his milk delivery and a surprise visit to my school, to the weekends spent with him at church.   

My fondest and most grateful memory of my grandfather though is the faith foundation he gave me.  Those roots, from days spent playing in the pews while he prepared a sermon, to growing up hearing him in the pulpit, to witnessing his character, faith and how he lived his life, are most assuredly what helped me become who I am today. 

I still recall going forward as a child, into the arms of my smiling Grandpa, as I accepted Jesus into my heart.  His face - loving, tearful, proud, joyful, expressed everything he felt at the time, and I will forever remember that moment.  Hugging me into salvation...  It's a memory that comforts me each time I see someone else make that step.  It's a memory of what I know awaits me again, when I see his precious face in Heaven someday.

My children didn't get to grow up knowing my Grandpa Coons, but I'm blessed that they knew and loved our pastor, Brother Armstrong.  We joined the church under his leadership shortly after Noah was born, so he was the preacher of their childhood.  Brother Armstrong had that same warmth and grandfatherly presence, wrapping me in nostalgia each time I listened to a sermon.  The boys were comfortable with him, as he had a peaceful way and pleasant disposition.  Austin, though very young at the time, was at ease the day he spoke to him about becoming a Christian.  And I'm so fortunate to have watched my boys grow in their faith and be baptized there.

Though a Mom, I was still very young in my faith then.  Brother Armstrong taught me so many important life lessons, and his sermons and prayers remain with me.  My Bible, from that time, is filled with quotes from him and underlined scriptures he led me to.  I will be eternally thankful for the comfort and peace he provided us at our greatest and most traumatic times of need.

Now, I find myself under the care of another pastor, at our new church home.  Troy is uniquely different, unexpected at times, and yet everything we hungered and prayed for as a family.  His sermons are God-sent and we often leave in goosebumps, somewhat wondering if our home is bugged, because it speaks so loudly to whatever we are facing at the time.  I've never cried more thankful tears in my spiritual life than I have in the short time we've spent at this church.  He and his family, as well as the entire pastoral team, have been such a blessing to us.  We are so joyfully excited for each Sunday to arrive, as we know it will sustain and lift us for the week to come.  I am grateful, inspired, and faith-filled knowing him.

What an honor to have my life touched by three wise men, most certainly all placed in my path by God's loving and generous hands.

Don’t forget about your leaders who taught you God’s message.
Remember what kind of lives they lived and try to have faith like theirs.  - Hebrews 13:7


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