Thoughts from my weekend…

This weekend I had a variety of experiences. On Friday, Greg and I got to catch the movie, “Fireproof.” It is not filled with Oscar winning acting, but I really enjoyed it. Greg was “pleasantly surprised” too…which is a huge deal. He went for me expecting little. The movie took an honest look at relationships, and it did not compromise the gospel. I was refreshed coming out of it instead of feeling like I needed to scrub my brain.
We then embarked on a project to make our massive backyard a prison camp for our dog, Bailey. She had begun a very annoying practice of climbing the fence. Literally, we could not take our eyes off of her or she was making friends with the Chow down the street or harassing the black dog named snowball next door. The fence fix ups were economical and seem to be working. Bailey keeps looking for the loop hole:).
On Saturday, I got to participate in a new experience for me…Upward Flag Football. I am spending time with a middle school girl, and so I am taking her to her games. This particular program was located at West Park Baptist Church in West Knoxville. I was really encouraged by the investment this church was making in the community. It is a great outreach for parents and students. This is not a program just for their church. I loved seeing the body of Christ reach out where they were to be a light. It was a refreshing, encouraging time. I look forward to continued involvement getting to know parents and students involved.
On Sunday, I helped lead worship after a few month break. It is good to celebrate the truth of the gospel with the body.
Sunday afternoon, I headed to Athens to spend time with my mom for a late birthday celebration (her birthday is in mid-September). We ate lunch together and went to a neighboring town to go to an Arts and crafts festival. I forget some of the joys of small town life–seeing familiar faces, stopping to talk. The town of Athens is so familiar to me and things change so slowly that I can pick up on the slightest changes. One of my favorite things to do is to drive down Ingleside Avenue where there are historic homes. I spent a lot of time there growing up with my best friend, Mary Leigh. She lived just down the street from where my dad worked at First Baptist of Athens. Every building you drive by has a memory.
About ten years ago, the church I grew up in (that was in some ways the hub of the community) began to fragment. It was a painful and destructive time, and in many ways, I do not think the town has been the same since. I know I have not been the same. In fact, I mourned the loss a long time ago. It is almost like my hometown is gone (to me). It is only at a rare wedding or funeral that I see the community of people that were my hometown to me so long ago. Otherwise, everyone has gone their own way. This feeling was cemented when my dad died almost 3 years ago. My dad was a highly respected man in the community. In fact, some people equate good days at FBC with him…they almost hold on to nostalgia instead of the transforming gospel of Christ. I thought about that yesterday. What do you have to cling to in nostalgia but warm passing memories? Those are not our hope, and if they are, then we come up seriously lacking. Our hope is in the blood of Christ…his transforming power, his unwavering commitment to us, his life changing purposes. My dad was a wonderful man, but he was not my hope nor should any man be anyone else’s. (enough about my rant). In some painful ways, the loss of things so dear to me brought me to greater relationship and dependence on Christ–and joy in Him instead of circumstances.
Another precious part of the weekend was getting to drop in on my friend, Amber, at her house. We got to briefly visit, and then I got to see my friend Cindy and her 6 month old, Audrey. They were visiting her parents. I talk to Cindy and Amber all the time, but being on their turf was special.
As I drove home last night to spend time with Greg, I was thankful. Thankful for the opportunities God gives me to reach out and be in relationship with so many, I need to take advantage of seizing those more often. I enjoyed time, not rushed, with my mom. I was reminded of the steadfastness of friendship that keeps growing despite distance and circumstance (with Cindy and Amber). I was reminded to be thankful for our church body that so wants to follow Christ.

Published by jenpinkner

45 years old Married Mom to 2 From Tennessee

5 thoughts on “Thoughts from my weekend…

  1. I decided a long time ago that if I were going to live in Athens I would live on Ingleside Ave. 🙂
    What a good weekend!

  2. I can sure relate…good thoughts, Coxy. You are right, our town has never been the same since the church “fragmented”. I know I never have. Not sure I ever will.

  3. Thanks for sharing, Ric. The pain of staying there is so much different than visiting. I appreciate you.

  4. I realized how bitter I still was concerning “the fragment” about five months ago when I felt God calling me to go back. But there’s a change – maybe not as visible in the church, but in me. I feel hope about FBC Athens. I know God is working in me and He has me working there – so He must be working there. Before, I hated going back for weddings and funerals because I knew I would be reminded of the pain – and I would feel the coldness of the place upon leaving. But now, I feel warmth – sometimes literal, which has to be from God because they run the AC like there’s no tomorrow. Of course, the community we knew (you more than me) is gone – some of it forever on this side of heaven, but I promise there will be glimpses of it at my wedding – as long as I’m able to marry in the next 30 years. After that, well….I’ll send you a post card.

    Laura, Ingleside Avenue is not the only place to live in Athens, my dear. There’s this quaint little suburb called Riceville that is very pleasant.

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