A Moss Bluff Goodbye

We sat in the back in an empty office. No one was saying much of anything, at least that I can remember. A man walked in a few minutes later and asked my dad how he liked his new office. I don’t remember his answer. The next thing I knew we were being escorted back down a long hallway to the sanctuary. My vision was blurred by a mixture of tears and bright lights as applause echoed in the room. I stood next to my brothers and parents in front of what would become our home church for twelve years. It was that evening many years ago that FBC Moss Bluff became part of our family, and us a part of theirs.

I’ll be honest, for not yet eleven years old, the idea of being uprooted from Oklahoma (which had always been home to me) to a small place in Louisiana (which I knew nothing about, and neither did anyone in my 5th grade class in Oklahoma) was not one I was particularly fond of. I laid in bed at night crying, asking God why in the world He brought us down there, because personally, I couldn’t see any reason why we needed to leave Oklahoma.

Oh how ignorant was I of God’s greater plan for my life.

Through the vessels of FBC Moss Bluff God has blessed me with growth I honestly don’t think I could have received anywhere else. It was that church, its people, and their heart that grew and shaped my heart for a love for missions which eventually was shaped into seeing that God had planned for me to one day marry a man called into ministry.

It was at FBC Moss Bluff that I met friends who stood by my side through every difficult moment and every moment of joy. We all stuck together, meeting on our own while we waited for God to bring us a youth minister who would eventually lead and grow us miraculously. We grew together; we graduated together; and many of us went to college together.

FBC Moss Bluff provided my second families, the sisters I never had, my third families, and more brothers than I thought I wanted. I’d go through names, but I know I would leave someone out, but you all know who you are.

It was where Paul, David, and I all had Graduation Sunday.

It was where my husband proposed, and where we were married.

It was where my little brother was baptized after he had swimming lessons.

It was where so much happened, and I hoped that much more would.

12 years is a long time for the life of a pastor, so around 8 or 9 years in, we began to be very comfortable and finally “at home” in Moss Bluff. So when the news came that my dad would be resigning (you can read his letter of resignation here), it hit harder than I expected.

The emotions that came were not just pregnancy related. FBC Moss Bluff was my home. It was evident as the deacon reading my dad’s letter (as my dad was not well enough to do so) became choked up. My mom and I fought tears during the worship service as the songs echoed praise for God be ever sustaining and good, and even more so as Dad’s letter was read. As the church service ended, we were greeted with hugs and encouragement. But as we made our way out of the church we passed people who wore their hearts on their sleeves: all of our hearts were breaking, and many of us could not make eye contact with each other, as words couldn’t do justice in the parting.

Even now as I try to get my words together, there is just no good or easy way to go about saying my goodbye. This post has been on my mind since Dad resigned, but words, though I love them, fall short in some circumstances. Whenever you have to say goodbye to a church family, that is definitely one of those circumstances.

So my dear FBC Moss Bluff Family, I thank you, and I love you. Please know that I will always thank God for you and for the role you had in my life. Goodbye for now, but we can rejoice in the assurance that we will all be together again as one gigantic church family in the presence of God.

12 Comments

  1. Through my tears, I read your letter with a heavy heart. God brought your family to His place when we needed a shepherd. We have had great preachers and great pastors but your dad was both. Just what was needed. I cherish the times you and the family shared Thanksgivings and Easter in our home. Praying for God’s plan in your life.

    1. Thank you Mrs. Joy. We always treasured those get-togethers and your family very much. FBC Moss Bluff was just what we needed as well. I pray God brings another preacher/pastor speedily your way.

  2. Sweet words, dear Libby. I have many precious memories of your family – Mr. Chuck serving on the pastor search committee and being so excited and thankful when God led them to your dad; you taking a main role in our children’s musical, “In God We Trust,” as soon as you arrived; having you on our school web team one year; watching you graduate and move away to college. Of course, I can’t leave out the scrapbooking times I enjoyed with your mom and just getting to know her and becoming a friend I know I’ll always have. I also remember being in the church office one day and your dad was laughing at me crying because Caroline was starting school! I laughed with him at myself, too, after I dried up my tears. Sweet memories. You all are precious to FBCMB and to our family, and I know God will continue to lead you to many other places where you all will make many more special memories.

    1. Oh goodness Mrs. Marie, you’ll make me tear up all over again! There are so many wonderful memories between our families that time will never erase. Thank you so much for your constancy in your love to our family

  3. Oh Libby, what a sweet letter to our church family. You definitely share your dad’s gift of words. One of my first memories of you is learning that you and Steph share the same birthday and then celebrating them together. What a blessing your family has been to our church family. You will always be a part of us. Wishing you all God’s continued Blessings! Can’t wait to meet little Corley Jane! Love to you all.

    1. Thank you so much Mrs. Gail. I will be sure to post tons of updates once Corley arrives 🙂 Love you and your family!

  4. Libby, your words are most touching. God, in His sovereignty, graces us with seasons of life that our life paths intermingle with significant others. I fully understand your thoughts and feelings as your family had a significant impact on our lives as well. We don’t always understand why things turn out the way they do, but we can always take away the good in those seasons of life.
    Your Dad is a man who walks with God and you are seeing him live out His faith in a most real way as he faces his health issues. In all of this he has manifested to others a genuine faith, being proved genuine as he perseveres through this time of testing. See James 1:2-4. God has used him to impact my life and I’m grateful God allowed me the privilege to serve alongside of him.
    It was neat to see you, David, and Paul develop a heart for God’s nations. You each went out to serve–some trips more challenging to others–but you heard the call to go and went. In doing so, God has given you His heart for the world. Keep living that out as you are granted opportunity to make His name known.
    Praying for you and Josh as you continue to seek God’s direction and as you will soon become new parents. Blessings and love. Bro. Jack

    1. Thank you Bro. Jack. It was your leadership and example that helped create my heart for missions, and I truly thank you for that. I will never forget the many trips we went on together under your guidance. Your life is a huge testimony to my whole family. Thank you so much!

  5. Beautifully written Libby! FBCMB is a very special place, in all our adventures we have never found a more mission minded church. (Miss that!) So am I reading this right? He wouldn’t get baptized until after he had the swimming lessons? Love it! I like to think of it like this: It’s never goodbye, but instead see ya later! 😉

    1. Haha, yes Mrs. Becky! He couldn’t stand to have water on his face, so he had to take swimming lessons to get used to water before he was able to get baptized.

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