Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thankful for Sadness

Ellie has been enjoying the Parade!
Well it's Thanksgiving Day! As Levengood's we're busy watching the parade and getting ready for football. We're excited about gathering together with my (Billy's) side of the family this afternoon. We've got a multitude of things to be thankful for this year!

For me, God has been gracious to call me from death to life through Jesus Christ and I'm eternally grateful for that! God has also been so kind to give me Jodi as a wife and best friend. The kids are also pretty neat too! Jodi and I are extremely blessed to be able to be called Mom and Dad by Ellie, Will, Matthew and Isaac.

I'm thankful for our extended families. They're the best! Jodi and I have amazing parents, indescribably awesome siblings, countless fun nieces and nephews along with our all of our grandparents. I couldn't mention them all here, but many of them have been so encouraging and supportive of our decision to move, even if it meant more distance between us and them for now.

I'm thankful for our countless friends, whether friends from school, the Thunder Radio family, or folks we've gone to church with in the past. Thank you for walking with us.

I'm also grateful for Encounter Life Church. It has been an amazing journey and I'm so thankful God would grant me the honor of being called Pastor for the last 7 years. I'm thankful he would entrust me with the opportunity to shepherd and lead such a fantastic group of people. A building doesn't make ELC, but the incredible people who show up week in and week out, Loving God, Living His Mission, Loving People and Leading them to Follow do make the church. Through the last 7 years I believe we've made a lasting difference in each other's lives and in our community. It has been a joy to baptize many of you and celebrate so many of life's blessings with you. What an honor. I'm so incredibly excited about what I believe God will do through ELC going forward.

Most of all, I'm thankful for sadness. As I write this, we're just a few days away from moving from Manchester. On Sunday, we load the minvan and begin this new journey. I've cried more times than I can count in the last 2 weeks. We've said good-bye for now to many of our dearest friends and family. This coming Sunday I'll preach my last sermon at Encounter Life and we'll have the honor of sharing one last meal together. You might ask why I'm thankful for sadness? I'm thankful for sadness because I think it tells us we've loved and been loved so well in Manchester! We've made amazing friends that we'll treasure forever. We're not dead yet, so chances are we'll see most of you again! We've aimed to give our lives to serve our church and the city well. The sadness tell me I think we've done OK! If you've been our friend or willingly walked with us, we thank God for you today! While we're sad, our hearts are full knowing that God has been so rich in kindness to give us friends and family like you.

The next time you hear from us, we should have safely arrived at our new home. We're grateful for your prayers for us! Thanks for everything!

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