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You Can’t LEAVE It All Behind

Tarah asked me, her father, to share some thoughts with you…

This week has been one full of emotions for Marylynn and I. It started out by saying goodbye to a church family that we have loved for over 11.5 years—I have never lived any one place longer than Brookings, Oregon. Last Sunday morning at the Church of the Nazarene was one filled with love, and hugs, and laughter, and tears. My final message at the church went way too long, but I figured since it was my last Sunday, what could they say? The reality is that Brookings Naz will always be a part of us. After so many years of ministry, one could never really fully leave it all behind—nor would I want to. 

The rest of this week has been filled with house repairs, and packing, and taping, and packing, and taping, and… We’re trying to get our home, that we have loved very much, ready for selling. Did I mention that we have been packing? It is a strange thing to try and put all our worldly goods into boxes. The stack of boxes we’re slowly moving out to our shop keeps growing and growing. What a challenge! Every time you turn around you see something else and think, “I wonder if I’ve got a box that will fit that?” People have been generously providing us with boxes. They keep asking if I want more, and I tell them that I’ve not come to the point where I will “look a gift box in the mouth.” 


If you’ve experienced a move recently, then you can really appreciate what a torture it is. The down stairs, where the girl’s rooms were, is fairly well packed now. I’ve already started having my moments of tears. I am far too sentimental for this kind of stuff. (I tell people that I got my hairline from mydad, but my tear ducts from my mom.) It will be tough to leave it behind.

What emotion as we prepare to leave our little spot by the sea behind. Ten years ago we planted what looked like a tiny little twig behind our house. We planted it to commemorate the one year anniversary of Allison’s death—Tarah’s college roommate. Ten years later that little twig is taller than our house! Two years ago I buried Molly, the family pet of 16 years, at it’s base.

That tree has deep meaning for our family, but It won’t load on the truck.  It seems that while we take part of Brookings with us, we will end up leaving part of us behind. (Not to mention the fact that our daughter, Marla, and her husband Chris, will still be here. “Snif, snif” )

People have asked me why we would even consider moving from such a beautiful location. And indeed, Brookings, OR is one of America’s best kept beautiful secrets. Many times, on my lunch break, I have ventured out across the church parking lot, crossed over Hwy 101, and made my way down to the shoreline for a quick walk on the beach. My computer is filled with too many beautiful photographs that I’ve had such a hard time figuring out which ones I should delete. I won’t be able to leave those images behind.

Of course, Tarah is a big part of why Marylynn and I think we should be in Oklahoma. Her recent post has reminded us how very much we feel that we should be there. We feel that God has allowed us this opportunity to minister to the people of Bethany, OK.  Graciously, God is moving us so that we can be close to her and Ben. Our hope, belief, and prayer is that the cancer battle is ended, but only the Good Lord knows for sure. Of course, being close to Andrea and Evan is a bonus. For temporary residence we’re actually going to be one wall away from the Mr. and Mrs. Mosshart, in a duplex. I suggested that we could cut a window between the units of the duplex, for better communication. Andrea nixed that idea, but I’m sure that Evan wouldn’t have minded. It seems that, for a while at least, they won’t be able to completely leave us behind.
Also, we are going because Marylynn and I have a shared confidence that we have been called to be the pastor and wife of the Lake Overholser Church of the Nazarene. The good people there have invited us to come and join them. And while saying goodbye to our friends here has been torturous, we are excited about the prospects ahead. One gentleman there asked me why I would leave all that beauty of the Oregon Pacific to come there. I responded by saying, “You can’t save a beach.” While I love my beautiful surroundings, I have to remind myself that it is all only temporary—people are eternal. They are the focus of my life’s work.
This will be the fifth time that I will have lived in Oklahoma. I was born there while my dad was a minister on staff at Bethany First Nazarene. I ended up going to school there, and Marylynn and I have ministered there on two different occasions. All my life people have asked me where I am from. Being a pastor’s kid, that was always a little difficult for me to answer. Born in Oklahoma, I spent my teen years in Colorado, but I’ve mostly lived in Oklahoma, was my answer to that question. Now, after over 18 years of the west coast, it turns out that I really am an Okie. I guess that I never really left it behind.
Our family covets your prayers while we are in this time of transition. We don’t know what the future holds, but we can be confident that there is good ahead, because… The Lord never leaves us behind. “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Joshua 1:5

Oklahoma, ready or not, here we come.

4 Comments
  • vjc

    August 1, 2013 at 8:43 pm Reply

    God be with you and the boxes as you travel into this next chapter in your ministry and your life. Oklahoma is blessed to have you back 🙂

  • Robert Lynn Green

    August 1, 2013 at 10:52 pm Reply

    Oklahoma says, "We're ready. Bring it on!"

  • Glynna

    August 2, 2013 at 12:33 am Reply

    I have lived in OK all but three years of my life. I can't imagine how hard it would be for me to pack up and move somewhere else. My heart goes out to you guys as you prepare to move. I, for one, am very happy that my friends are moving back. And…for the time being, you will almost be my neighbor!! LUCKY YOU! 😉 I will pray for you as you travel and transition to a different place. Yes, I do believe that God has led you back here. He will give you Grace and Peace as you transition, because that's what HE does!!!

  • Cheryl

    August 2, 2013 at 2:01 pm Reply

    And that my friends is why I Love my Pastor so much!!!! Always real, down to earth,has a hugh heart! Very painful to watch him and his precious wife Marylynn leave us, but at the same time, I know it is in God's plan for all of us! Godspeed Pastor & Marylynn!! We are praying for you and will never forget you!!Have a safe and enjoyable trip!! xoxo

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