This week we have to say goodbye to a family that I adore so deeply. Greg, Sharon, Gregory, Robbie, and Erin are moving to California at the end of July. It is bittersweet as we wish them the very best, but dislike saying goodbye.
The Christie family came to our first meeting for people interested in our church startup. Gregory and Robbie had been in our youth ministry before that, but we really hadn’t had the chance to get to know Greg and Sharon, yet. I am so thankful everyday for the opportunity to work alongside such an amazing family and to call them our friends.
They gave 100% of themselves to help get our church on it’s feet. Greg served on the board for three years and the entire family served anywhere and everywhere they were needed. Sometimes it was humbling to watch as they bounced from set up and tear down at the school, to the kid’s area to greeting to counting offerings. They never complained, never flinched, and never quit.
Gregory, Robbie, and Erin were foundational in our youth ministry. They gave up friends and social events to jump into a church plant with very little to offer teenagers. Now, four years later, we have a strong youth ministry in part because of their sacrifice. In fact, when we hired Kris as our youth pastor, Greg was the first one on the phone to tell us how excited they were for her leadership. That validation in her heart was the catalyst to do what God had asked her to do.
Greg is also my husband’s friend. For a pastor, friendship is a little tricky at best, but Greg didn’t let anything stand in the way of BBQ’s, football games, days in the pool, and encouraging phone calls. It has meant the world to us to be “normal”.
As I raise my girls, Sharon is often the woman I watch as an example of motherhood. She’s not too far ahead of me, but just enough to see three amazing young people that make me want to know how they got that way!
The icing on the cake for me was to spend a week in Mexico with Gregory on the missions trip. Now a 20 year old man, I had the privilege of looking back through his entire teen years and the small role that we got to play in who he is…what a great man of God that stood before me.
Robbie has never missed an opportunity to greet me on a Sunday morning. Ironically, our first picture of him is with a bulletin and an outstretched hand. Nothing has changed in all of these years. Sometimes I wondered if it was his church and he was glad that we showed up to celebrate with him.
Erin has been a hero to my girls for as long as they can remember. Neither of them can remember life without her as an integral part of it! She toted my youngest around when Kennedy would go to no one else. Delaney just wants to be like her when she grows up.
So, Christie family, thank you so much for being dream weavers during the most critical time in our lives. I’m not looking forward to facing the next season without you, but nothing can take away my gratitude for our time with you. MANY blessings on your new adventures!