A love letter to my church
Dear River City Family -
Well, by now you may have noticed that we’re not around much anymore. In an ideal world, I would have loved an opportunity to hug on your necks and tell you personally how much it has meant to me to be part of the River City family and to join you in worship each week. Unfortunately, the way things transpired, it wasn’t possible. So, this is my love letter to you, a small good-bye by way of explanation.
Last spring, Nick and I started to feel a certain restlessness – a sense that God was preparing us to be called out of River City and into something new. I was very much in denial about this, and out of deference to me and the ministries I was involved in, Nick didn’t press the issue. We prayed through the summer, and while we still felt that niggling sense of restlessness, we didn’t feel like we had a clear call to take any kind of action.
And then Jason and Natalie announced they were moving to New Braunfels. And that restless feeling intensified.
In early November, you may remember that I decided to add some pink streaks to my hair. My reasons were two-fold: an online jewelry friend named Lori Anderson added some pink to her hair a couple of years ago as she was battling some health issues, and it became her calling card, a declaration of her refusal to submit to her physical limitations and seek the best life she could for herself in spite of the challenges she was dealing with. A number of jewelers across the country added pink to their hair this past year in solidarity, and – since my One Word for last year was “fearless” – I decided to make a statement of solidarity with Lori and declare my own “fearlessness” at the same time. In addition, I was preparing for my first big jewelry show and a friend said that I should look as much like an artist as possible. So, off I went to get temporary pink streaks in my hair.
I didn’t really think that through. Sean and Darna were extremely gracious about it, and during the meeting Nick and I had with them, I took the opportunity to share my heart about my service on the team, our history at River City, and about some of the frustrations and concerns I had about my service, the things that I felt were contributing to the sense of restlessness I had been feeling for months. When we left that meeting, I think we all felt like we had communicated well and really heard one another.
But as I continued to pray, that restlessness intensified. Nick and I began to talk seriously about what God was doing and saying in our lives, what we were really meant to be doing. And I began to understand that because I had mentally taken leaving the Worship Team off the table with God – I was hanging onto you guys SO HARD in my heart – I had made it really hard to hear what God wanted from me. I had some real heart work to do. And as long as I was that conflicted, I really felt I owed it to Sean and Darna not to step back on the platform until my heart was resolved.
We had a series of communications with Sean over the next few weeks about what I was feeling, and the more we talked about it, the more evident it became to both me and Nick that God was closing a door – pretty firmly. By Christmas, we knew it was time for us to go – and the decision we made was not to shake up anyone over the holidays. The plan was to talk more with Sean and with all of you after the New Year.
But you know what they say about plans. Before New Year’s rolled around, both Nick and I were down hard with the flu. If you have served with me for any length of time, you know that cedar season in Texas is the bane of my existence – and the flu on top of it made for a very hard few weeks. In fact, I really only got back on my feet this past week, after nearly three full weeks of being flat on my back. By now, it had been almost two months since we’d seen you or served with you, and it felt awkward to come back just to say good-bye. (Maybe that’s cowardly on my part – I don’t know – but if it is, I hope you will forgive me.) Throughout all this time, we were in touch with Sean and with Aaron Powers at River City Northwest, which is where we feel we’re meant to be serving now. (Nick is actually excited about this move – and if you know Nick, “excited” isn’t something that he gets about church stuff generally. I’m taking this as a sure sign we’re taking the right steps.)
So there you have it. That brings us to right now. And here’s the thing: I know change is hard, and few of us like it. I resisted this for a long time – but the time is now. And when God is moving, and we are responding out of a real desire to know and do his will, the outcome will always be better than anything we can plan for ourselves. That’s true for me and Nick in this move – and it’s true for you at RCCC. Here’s something else I know, with certainty: Sean and Lauri Azzaro and the other members of the leadership team are men and women of God who are passionate about and committed to his work in San Antonio. I know they seek him in everything they do, and that the decisions they make and the directions in which they will lead you are carefully considered and intended to bring you all nearer to the place God has for you and the work he has for you to do. You are in good hands.
And so, I will be eager to hear what God is doing for you and through you in the coming months and years, as I will be eager to share his work in us and at Northwest. Those of you with whom I’ve served for the last (almost) eight years… you know my heart. You know – I hope – how much I love you. It has been my great pleasure and privilege to serve and worship with you. And as hard as it is to go, this is not goodbye (and I am perhaps even a little glad that God worked out our departure in this way, so that I don’t have to do my ugly crying in front of you, just here in my quiet place, watering my keyboard). Please know that I will be lifting you up in prayer, each of you individually and the entire RCCC community. Drop me an email, let’s go have coffee, poke me on Facebook. I want to know how you are and I would love to hear from you.
And so, my friends, we part ways for this portion of the journey. You go with my love and my deep appreciation for the time we’ve had together. May God richly bless you as you continue in his work. I love you all.
Your sister in Christ -