Yesterday, our pastor of 5 1/2 years gave his farewell sermon before he and his family move to SF to plant a new church.
We knew this day was coming and we have had several months to process. So on the morning of the service, I thought I would hold it together no problem.
Boy, was I wrong.
As the Anderson family stood on stage looking out into a crowd of people standing and clapping in gratitude; them looking out at us and us staring back at them, I was overcome with emotion.
In that moment, I couldn’t help but reflect on the past 5 1/2 years and the tears just kept coming.
I thought about all the amazing memories and realized that even though things will be great, they will never be the same anymore.
I remembered the first time I walked into this tiny church in the middle of a neighborhood and met Joe that very night.
I remembered the early friendships we made with some amazing people; many of which we don’t often see as life has taken them to new places and stages.
I remembered the first time I got invited to Mamacitas with the ‘in crowd’.
I remembered the 5 different buildings we moved to throughout the years I’ve been there.
I remembered when Joe got baptized and I proudly sat in the front row recording the whole thing.
I remembered when Pastor Justin preached on Hebrews and brought the Word to me like never before.
I remembered our weekly LOST parties with some of the coolest people I know.
I remembered the annual Anderson 4th of July party, in honor of Em’s fave holiday and her mesh America flag shirt.
I remembered the first time we had the Andersons over for dinner and we didn’t know that our table opened up, so we ate elbow to elbow the whole time!
I remembered when Lily was born 6 weeks early and Pastor Justin couldn’t make it out to WI to officiate our wedding.
I remembered when Lily reached out to Joe for him to hold her and he couldn’t say no. She was the first baby he ever held.
I remembered when Justin + Emilie dressed in the best Halloween costumes.
I remembered watching the church grow from a few hundred to over a thousand.
I remembered how the Andersons always welcomed my parents with open arms whenever they would come to visit.
And mostly, I remember how the Gospel was brought to the city of Tempe through these amazing people.
Yes, yesterday was a VERY emotional day for me as we witnessed the closing of a chapter in what has been a very important book in our lives.
My heart is a mix of sadness, joy and hope as we look forward to the impact this family will make in the city of SF and the work that will continue to be done here in Tempe.
Justin + Emilie,
From the bottom of our hearts, we will miss you SO much.
Tempe will not be the same without you.
We’re sad knowing that we can’t just drive down the street to see you anymore, but you better believe that we will be visiting you in San Fran often!
We love you!!!!
(darn it, I’m crying again!)
Me + Em (don’t mind our tearful eyes)
Sweet, sweet Lily (and Elliot). I’m freakin’ going to miss this girl!!!