Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Tuesday, November 14th -

There is more news to report tonight. First of all, for all of you who check the blog each day for new information, please accept the sincerest of apologies for the sudden absence of everyday posts! Since Margaret has been home, progress reports have been slow in arriving. This doesn't mean that she is not improving, it merely means that her improvement has been slow, steady, and almost non-eventful (praise God)! Rather than reporting the same news over and over again each night, the decision has been made to post when significant events have taken place, rather than redundantly post each night!

An aforementioned post reported that Margaret and Tom will be officially leaving California Thanksgiving day. In the meantime, they have been busy, busy, busy with all the logistics involved with such a large move. With monumental assistance from their Fair Oaks PCUSA family, Tom and Margaret have managed to pack many boxes. They have a solid plan in place to welcome the official movers November 20th. They will come in and begin packing the remainder of the house. Tom and Margaret will spend their last night together in their California home that night. The following day, once the packing is finished and the actual loading of the truck begins, Tom and Margaret will have suitcases packed and will move in with friends until it is time to go the airport.

An exciting event will take place before the 20th, however. On Sunday, November 19th, Margaret and Tom will attend the 9:30 a.m. worship service at Fair Oaks. Margaret will address the congregation and then give her final pastoral prayer. Following the service, Tom and Margaret will receive well wishers. Make no mistake, this will be a VERY difficult morning for Margaret. This essentially will be an offical goodbye to the flock that she has loved, nurtured, and lived with since her first call as an ordained Presbyterian minister. In many regards, Margaret and Tom both feel as if they are being prematurely pulled out of California. Conversely, they both understand that God has made his will clear - it is time for them to come home. Friends, please be in prayer the morning of the 19th. Margaret is a strong woman who has been blessed by God with the ability to deliver the spoken word, and yet, this last time before her congregation will be very difficult. Emotions will cover the entire spectrum, to be sure. Please pray for her peace of mind, please pray for her words, please pray for her resolve to remain strong before her congregation, and please pray for her willingness to succumb to the emotions she will be feeling regardless.

If we were to regard the happenings over the past year as a narrative, the reoccuring motif in the lives of Tom and Margaret would have to be the strong sense of hope to which they have so valiantly clung. There have been instances of desparation, doubt, and gloom along the way, but these negative feelings are miniscule when compared to the hope that has governed their lives. Hope that comes only from God their Father, their Lord, Jesus Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit enriched, enhanced, and brought to life through their relationships with ALL of their friends and family.

Tom and Margaret, for the most part, have been private people their entire married lives. Not because they have skeletons in their closet, but because their life-long philosophy has always been to put others first. Both Tom and Margaret have embodied selflessness and have lived their lives according to the servant mentality preached by Jesus Christ in the gospels. This servant minded style of life is made possible only through genuine hope in the promises of God, and the sacrifices that he often requires.

Sacrifice. Hope. Promise. Psalm 62:5 & 6 - For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. There are many things that have shaken us as we have watched the things that Margaret and Tom have had to endure over the past few years. And yet, have we been truly paying attention to them? Have we learned anything from their witness? Have we been paying attention to their faith, their attitudes, their actions? Even as they have been going through hell, they have kept their heads held high, their faith has not wavered, and they have resolved to maintain hope.

God alone has been their rock and salvation; their fortess. May those of us who love them dearly be not shaken either. Amen and amen!

More to follow . . . . !


saradills said...

I moved into the office next to Chris' yesterday and found a stamp for "Congregational Care" in the desk. It made me think that you should have a stamp that says "Staff Care" because your love and concern for the members of staff was so deeply felt by all of us, me especially. Godspeed and we'll see you Sunday.

Ed Longabaugh said...

As party to bringing M & T to FOPC, I'm sad too. I recall how hard it was for them to leave MS, and how they said they'd stay at FOPC till the Lord directed otherwise. I hope Margaret will be able to return to ministry in some capacity--she's needed.
Ed L.