Saying Goodbye to a Beloved Pastor

Yesterday, my church said goodbye to a wonderful pastor, Wayne Edwards.

He wasn’t just a preacher. He was a pastor- who cared about people. He genuinely loved everyone at Midway.

He means a lot to everyone but he has really treated my family and me with love beyond comprehension in times of trial.

Shortly after beginning his time at Midway, my mom had to have surgery in Jackson. I still remember waiting for her to get called back to surgery and then to be done. Bro. Wayne, His wife, and our former music minister sat with us the entire time. It’s one of those little, tiny things that mean so much.

Unfortunately my mom had complications from surgery and was in life threatening condition for several days. A 3 day hospital stay turned into a week and a half. Through it all, Bro. Wayne and Mrs. Patty made multiple trips to Jackson- just to see us and sit with us.

This encounter shaped the rest of Wayne’s time at Midway. It was always clear that he cared and he’s one of those special people that understands something really important- it’s not what you do. It’s where you go. He understood that sometimes people don’t need anything more than someone outside of the situation to sit and talk about the news. People don’t always need you to do something in times of crises. They just need you to sit there and silently convey, “I am here for you. Everything might not turn out all right but through it all I will never leave your side.”

While I am sure that God has a wonderful replacement lined up for Midway, he won’t be my friend. He won’t be my Old/New Testament teacher from MCC. He won’t be the man who called on me to do the before/after for Jeremiah in children’s Bible Drills. He won’t be the man who offered to beat up my first ex boyfriend when we broke up. He won’t be the pastor who got onto me for not telling him when family members were sick.

I may not ever get to know this man who will be replacing the wonderful pastor I love so much. But that’s ok. Because someone else needs the new man like I needed Wayne Edwards.

Maybe God will decide to bless me again and eventually I’ll find another pastor who loves me and my family like Wayne did. But I’m not holding out for that. Greatness is hard to replicate and if anything describes Wayne Edwards, it’s great.

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Anna: Faithful for 84 years|Women of Faith

Women of Faith: Anna the Faithful

Anna
The story of Anna is found in Luke 2:25-40.

Anna was widowed after only 7 years. It’s bad enough to lose your husband after such a short period of time. It’s worse when you live in a culture where your worth and livelihood all depend on your husband and you earn respect through having children.

“Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame.
Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.
You will forget the shame of your youth
and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.
For your Maker is your husband—
the Lord Almighty is his name—
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;
he is called the God of all the earth.

Isaiah 54:4-5

Anna should be an inspiration to single women, both those who are widowed and those who are unmarried. The Bible says that Anna never left the temple because she was fasting day and night. After she was widowed she completely and wholeheartedly gave herself over to the Lord. Her maker was her husband like listed in Isaiah 54. That blows my mind.

I worry about what would happen if I never get married or don’t get married within the next 5 or so years because I have placed my future into the hands of a guy I either haven’t met yet or just haven’t connected with yet. I have made the future and my future husband an idol.
There are so many problems with this.

  1. Think about what this says to my Creator, the one I have supposedly put my faith and future and my whole life in. It says, “I want one of your creations more than I want you.”

  2. No where in the Bible does it say “And for every girl who loves Jesus there shall be a husband who is at least six inches taller than you with a smoking hot bod who loves Jesus, is athletic and musical, and will be loved by your friends and family alike.” No, this is not promised in the Bible. In fact, in many places, we are essentially promised the opposite. In both the old testament and the new testament, Jesus and God command followers to leave everything they have to follow him. We like to look at the rich young ruler as an example of this but there are good examples of people with follow through too. The 12 disciples. Abraham. Paul. Ruth. This may be material goods or it may be family and it some cases, both. Either way, the message is clear. Following Jesus is about your love and devotion for him. It’s not about a get out of jail free card that also comes with a magic genie.

  3. It takes away from the sovereignty of God. I am inadvertently saying I place my future on the wishes of someone other than God. I probably covered this in points 1 and 2 but seriously this is ludicrous and an insult to God.

  4. Can we talk about the fact that it’s the 21st century? Girls no longer seriously go to college to find a nice doctor or lawyer and get that diamond diploma and mrs degree (Pronounced M R S Degree. Definition: a girl who is in college only to get married). Also, the median age of girls getting married is now 27 and its 29 for guys. So the average of when most girls get married is two years later than the end of the spectrum for when I think I deserve to be, should be married. My perceptions are so skewed. First, I shouldn’t expect to get married at a certain age especially since I am currently unattached. Second, I think I am so entitled when in reality I don’t deserve anything. God doesn’t owe me anything and he certaintly didn’t promise if you become a Christian at age 7 you’ll live happily ever after with the Christian version of prince charming. Oh wait, he kind of did. That’s Jesus Christ and the Church is his princess bride. But do you (meaning me) specifically get your own Prince Charming? No! He. Owes. Me. NOTHING.

Back to Anna, she is a model of what single women should be doing. Looking for a new husband? No. Lamenting and grieving over their misfortune? No. Serving the Lord day and night? Yes! So today as you walk through your day, consider Anna and worship the Lord not his creation. My resolution is to fall in love with Jesus and let the rest fall away.

Read about Leah’s struggles to be loved in another Women of Faith article.

Maybe Some Questions Don’t Have to Be Answered

Last semester, I had an existential crisis of sorts. A religious one. It was ignited by lots of factors. A philosophy class that raised the “Question of Evil,” coming down from the mountain post summer missions, not having a small group/mentor/ spiritual community I felt comfortable being open with in Starkville to name a few.

In addition to the question of evil, I wondered if God really existed and if he does, does he matter and care, and furthermore, why am I studying PR at a college in the Bible Belt. Basically I was questioning what’s the point of all this.

So I did what any good christian would do in our “hide your scars” and “walk it off” culture. I shut myself off. To God. To the Bible. To Church. To other Christians. I became “too busy” for BSU.

Until one day I had a conversation with a friend whose beliefs differ greatly from mine. Suddenly I realized that even through my dark place of seperation and doubt, I could not completely stop loving or believing in Christ and his salvation. And I found that I agree with most of what the Baptists believe. So much so that to hear someone down Christ or Christians hurts and saddens me.

Then I realized, I needed to tuck my tail between my legs and go to church and pray and read my Bible. EVEN WHEN I DON’T FEEL LIKE IT. Read more about what C.S Lewis has to say about that here.

I still don’t have the answers and I probably never will. I am not a great theologian who can convince you to become a christian like me. Even if I was a theologian, only Christ can do that. I realize that I could just be a crazy, superstitious person but when I pray, stuff happens and if you want examples, just ask.

I don’t believe in believing in God just because I’d rather be wrong and go nowhere when I die than not believe and be wrong and go to hell. That’s not what true Christianity is about. It is about believing something crazy. It’s called faith for a reason. I will probably always have doubts but thru it all I love Christ and am overwhelmed by his love for me.

All I know for sure is if our world doesn’t have a creator and savior, then I’d rather be crazy and happy than sane and miserable.

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky[a] proclaims the work of His hands.Day after day they pour out speech;
night after night they communicate knowledge.There is no speech; there are no words; their voice is not heard.Their message has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world. Psalm 19:1-4Image