Shades of Grace: Orange and Blue

God provided the Auburn years exactly when we needed them. We moved to Auburn for Brent to become the pastor of Parkway Baptist Church. Another unexpected blessing (other than the fire) happened while there … we finally had a boy. Joshua Brent Reeves was born on April 30, 1997 and the precious ladies of my Sunday school class hosted the most wonderful baby shower. For the first few month of his life, my friend Nancy was his second Mama (greeting us every Sunday with outstretched arms to take him). Our family of six was constantly blessed by our church. I loved being involved in the music ministry and women’s ministry. The kids had so many opportunities to grow in Jesus. Brent was able to participate in a life-changing trip to Morocco and Spain, where the team spent time prayer walking near the area of unreached People our church had adopted. And I could write another post – I mean story – on the college ministry there. Those students inspired me with their passion for God, their faithfulness to serve and give, and with their genuine love and friendship to my girls. Their Spirit-fueled enthusiasm created energy and life in our church.
We gained precious lifelong friends during our years in Auburn.

Due to the generosity of friends, we were also able to make fun memories of going to the lake, spending weekends on a houseboat, off-the-chart-amazing tailgating, some fun trips including a cruise, and so much more. Our family will always have a special place reserved in our hearts for those days, that place, and those people. I doubt that God is an Auburn football fan, even though He did paint the sun and sky amazing shades of orange and blue :), but I do know this: He graced us beyond our imagination to lead us to such a special group of people to enjoy that unique season of our lives.

In the months after Brent announced that we were moving to the Seattle area to plant a church, God did something … unexpected. Yes, again! A college student, a young married couple, and a family of four felt God was leading them to move with us to help us with the church plant. As excited as we were for this great adventure, saying goodbye brought many tears. The worship service that was planned to send us into “the great unknown of next” was a taste of heaven on earth. As the song “Our Heart, Our Desire” (Listen to the song here) played over and over through the sound system, people came and prayed over us. The line wrapped around the church sanctuary. People whispered in our ears encouragement and blessing, and they stayed a long time. I know they were weary. The love offering, and even personal monetary gifts, was astounding! I honor them as Paul did the Philippians, realizing it was “a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.”

My Dad preached a commissioning message and gave out Washington apples to remind everyone to pray for us. I know that those prayers were heard and answered in the years we were in Washington. I know that we won’t know this side of heaven how God answered those, but I do know that the lives touched in RiverChase Community Church were answers to some of those prayers. Parkway also sent us off with a generous financial pledge for the next several years. Their partnership with us to reach that area in Orting WA greatly impacted our ability to serve there. In my next post, I’ll share a little more about those special years of living at the base of Mount Rainier, the people who moved with us, and the people there that once again became family.
Yes, today my heart sees the shades of grace in the symbolic colors of orange and blue. Deep, rich shades of blessing upon blessing and grace upon grace …

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