Wednesday, February 8, 2012

dinner with our pastor

Last Friday evening we had dinner with our former Pastor and her husband.

Dinner with Joy and Tom Feb 4, 2012 (5)

Pastor Joy and Tom invited us up to their house in Richmond, and then we went out to a fabulous dinner at a great place called Mediterraneo.

Dinner with Joy and Tom Feb 4, 2012 (2)

We hadn't seen our Pastor in about 2 years, so it was fantastic to get a chance to visit with them. We have a special connection with Pastor Joy. She was our Pastor when we first started dating. She married us. And, she performed a special funeral for our family. Needlesstosay, we really connected with her.

Dinner with Joy and Tom Feb 4, 2012

We have never had a "messenger" quite like Joy. Her passion for God is so evident in everything she does. She cares about the community, the poor, the sick, the elderly, and even us. Just take a look at her refrigerator...

Dinner with Joy and Tom Feb 4, 2012 (8)

I asked her if I could take a picture because it made me smile. I remembered the fridge in their parsonage. It was filled with pictures of church members just like her fridge is today. It makes me feel loved and protected because I know that someone cares about me and others just that much. I mean...there were a lot of pictures. We talked about the people in the pictures and the sayings.

And then, over the sink...

Dinner with Joy and Tom Feb 4, 2012 (6)

They were tiny pictures of places they visited on their honeymoon. She put them in the shape of a cross. She told us about the places and her eyes lit up so bright.

I must say that the love Tom and Joy have for one another is undeniable. They are soulmates and have been together for many years, just the two of them and Gracie...

Dinner with Joy and Tom Feb 4, 2012 (13)

I always say that you can tell a lot about a person by how they treat animals, and let me tell you that this dog is pampered just as much as our Lexi is. Just like Lexi, Gracie is their baby. She's old too!

So, when Joy decided to leave our church a couple of years ago we were deeply saddened, but understood her position.

You see...Pastor Joy was diagnosed with Stage 4 blood cancer three years ago, and after a long hard battle, she is now in full remission. But, throughout the long fight, she started to look at things a little differently. In her eyes she sees how important life is and how short our time here is. She felt God calling her to do other things in her time left. Her goal is to make it until 2014, which will be her 5 year mark. At that point her chances of survival increase significantly. She doesn't know how much time she has left on this earth, but she is choosing to spend it doing everything she can to change lives.

She has started a non-profit, Just Compassion, and is looking to raise money for a mobile dental bus. She hopes to travel to rural parts of Virginia to provide dental care to those less fortunate. She is passionate about spreading God's love and helping others. We are excited about her new mission. We wish her the very best. She touched our lives and hearts so greatly, that I can only imagine how others will feel after experiencing Joy's love.

Dinner with Joy and Tom Feb 4, 2012 (12)

After our dinner and a fun game of pool, we headed home. We reflected a little on our evening. I have felt lost without her as our Pastor. Pastor Joy always told us to focus on the message, not the messenger. She is right. No matter who is in the pulpit, there is still a message in there. And, messengers are everywhere...not just in church on Sunday. God sends them to us. You might not recognize them because they might not look like what you'd expect, but if you keep your eyes and heart open, you won't miss them or the message they bring.

May God grant you joy and peace. May He open your eyes and heart so that you can find His message.

1 comment:

Charleston Hokie said...

What a great post Rachel! She sounds like an amazing woman. I love her idea of putting honeymoon pics in the shape of a cross on her wall.

PS-your hair looks AMAZING straight. I love it!