Pastor Ben is leaving. Somehow, when the time eventually came for me to break the news to my kids, there didn’t seem to be a much easier way to say it. As I shared those difficult words around our dinner table, my girls began to cry and my boys sat in stunned silence. Then came the questions. Why? Where? When? Now what? All very reasonable questions, some easier to answer than others.

It’s hard to say goodbye. It’s hard to see an era of ministry come to an end. Pastor Ben and Jaime came to our church as a young married couple with no children, and now they prepare to leave with much more life and ministry experience and two sweet children, Amelia and Sawyer, in tow. We have been privileged to share life and ministry with them through these many years, life and ministry that included laughter and tears, victories and set-backs. Now they are leaving and I am filled with a mix of sadness and thankfulness. Sadness that good friends and faithful ministry partners will now be far away; thankful for the years of ministry we shared together and for God’s clear leading in their life and for the wonderful opportunity He has clearly opened up for them.

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I’m grateful for these years of ministry with the Beswicks. I’m grateful for their ministry in my life and in the life of my children. I’m grateful for Jaime’s ministry to the girls in our youth group and to the women of our church. I’m grateful for Pastor Ben’s friendship, loyalty, courage, faithfulness, endurance, maturity, godly character, effective teaching, and quick wit. God has used Pastor Ben to make an incredible impact on our church and in the life of our youth.

While I don’t know with any great specificity what the future holds for them or for us, I can however look in the rear-view-mirror of history and see clearly God’s kind hand of providence. Providence that led us almost seven years ago to add a baby-faced Texan to our pastoral staff. Providence that continues to lead us and guide us and order all things for our good. It is the truth of God’s kind providence, learned both from Scripture and by experience, which helps me to smile at the future even through tearful goodbyes.