Monday, June 6

An Open Letter to Hillcrest Baptist Church

On August 28th, 2011, Scotty and I stood at the front of FBC in Clinton surrounded by friends and fellow believers praying over us. Just a few minutes before, Scotty confessed adultery to this congregation while giving his resignation. Honestly, we didn't know what to expect when we entered the worship center that morning. We knew what Scotty had to share, but we had no idea how they'd respond. They saw our pain, felt Scotty's remorse, and they felt burdened to pray healing, restoration, and redemption over us. God gave them grace to be HIS church to us, because He knew we NEEDED it.

On the exact same Sunday a year later, our family sat in the worship center of Hillcrest. We'd been visiting another church for over a month. New Albany had been home for nearly 2 months. When I woke up that August morning, the memories of Scotty's confession the year before hit me like a freight train. For whatever reason, I looked at him and said, "I can't go to that church today." At his suggestion, we chose to visit Hillcrest. From the moment we entered, we felt the Presence of the Lord. On that day, I'm sure we looked perfectly fine physically, but emotionally and spiritually we were a wreck. It seemed every song sung spoke directly to our pain. And, the message was genuine and practical. I believe we knew immediately that Hillcrest was home for us.

I don't think that would have been obvious to anyone else, though. We were slow in getting involved. To many, it probably seemed we'd NEVER plug in and serve. And, there were spans of weekends (particularly in the summer) when most people probably wondered if we even attended Hillcrest still. 

You see.... we came to you, Hillcrest family, broken, bruised, wounded, and sick. We knew we were exactly where we needed to be. We just didn't know what we were supposed to be doing. God had revealed to us with extreme clarity that our focus had to be inward. Our family needed to be rebuilt, and that was going to take all (every! single! bit!) of the energy we had. So, for much of the time we were part of the Hillcrest family, we may have seemed cold, and isolated, and unavailable.

You loved us anyway. Thank you!

During our time in New Albany, God did amazing works in us. Much of that work came through even more trial and even more struggle. Relationships were hard. Finances were problematic. Work and school were all-consuming. In so many ways, our time here has been our desert experience. God was bringing about good in a way that we could feel! The heaviness of it all, though, made us hard to relate to. Our conversations were darker, more serious, and required more depth than most want in everyday chatter. I know that we were difficult!

You loved us anyway. Thank you!

Most of you don't even know that Scotty and I spoke with Pastor Whit in January of 2015. We were unsettled and heavy hearted. We weren't involved, and we felt detached. We had a yearning in our hearts for more, and we couldn't figure out what that more could be. He listened to us, counseled us, prayed with us. Ultimately, the decision was ours. Soon after that meeting, we realized our heavy feelings were God's whispers telling us, "It's time to serve again."

Oh my! We'd almost forgotten what that felt like. But, once we knew we had a story to tell and God had released us to tell it, there was a fire in our belly to share. And, you let us! Every time we expressed the desire to do something, begin something, get involved in something, our leadership said, "YES." Many times, I know, we were overbearing, bossy, and maybe even insensitive in speech. Our desire to help others made us a bit bold.

You loved us anyway. Thank you!

Sunday morning, June 5th, 2016, we stood in front of our worship center surrounded by friends and fellow believers commissioning us back into ministry. The prayers of FBC Clinton were fulfilled and realized at Hillcrest over the past four years. Ultimately, God deserves all the glory. But, I will forever believe that He handpicked YOU to be THE church for us. With thankful hearts, we have come full circle. We have been given the opportunity to enter into ministry again. This time we do it with MORE humility and MORE understanding of the calling on our lives.

As excited as we are to see what God will do in Florida, we are equally as excited about what He will continue to do at Hillcrest. For a little while now, I've felt a powerful moving of the Holy Spirit in our midst. We are praying for even more! As you study Mega Faith this summer, I encourage you to "pray that the eyes of your heart might be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you," because I believe He's calling Hillcrest to BIG things.

Thank you for receiving us kindly, loving us BIG, and for sending us off expectantly. As long as we live, there will be a special place for Hillcrest Baptist Church and New Albany, MS, in our hearts.

"Having thus a fond affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you, not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives."

"Not content to just pass on the Message, we wanted to give you our hearts. And we did." 

1 Thessalonians 2:8; New American Standard & The Message

Scotty, Amy, Caleb, Collin, and Claire


Pearl of Wisdom said...

Press on Wounded Healers! Thank you for receiving and recovering. All authority in heaven and earth belongs to Our Jesus, therefore...GO MAKE DISCIPLES! Teach them all the things He has commanded us, totally submerge them in the name (Character) of THE Father, Son and Holy Spirit... and He will be with you always! Love you all! ~Dara

Amy said...

I love your heart, Dara! Thank you for these kind words. :)