Where to begin?! Well, today marks my one year anniversary of being the Music Director at First United Methodist in Russellville. There is a lot I could put here, but will do some basic skimming of my life over the past year.
I moved to Russellville in late July 2006. I was hired late and had little time to move, but did it. New Teacher Orientation had already started, but praise GOD I found a job!!! The first couple of years I lived here, I had my own voice/piano studio of students at home in Albertville. I'd be here one weekend, then go home the next to teach lessons. I eventually gave that up because it was too crazy getting everyone in those weeks I was home and I wanted to continue my education, being in classes on Saturdays (obviously decided to put that on hold for now). So, I'd go home and I'd go to church. What did I do while I was in Russellville on Sundays? Nada. I was too scared to really get out and visit churches. In person, I am a pretty shy person. Get to know me and I'll open up, but I'm still shy at times. Gets on my nerves, actually. AND I really didn't want to put up with "IT'S MISS MORGAN!" at church. Sounds bad, I know. I guess I was afraid of commitment and didn't want people to point fingers if I wasn't there but every other Sunday or if I missed a Sunday for them to wonder where I was. "Asleep", I couldn't say with confidence. I just really didn't feel like I'd fit in anywhere either. So, on Russellville Sundays, I'd get up whenever I wanted, read my Bible and do whatever I wanted for the rest of the day which usually included a whole lotta nothing.
I didn't fit in because I didn't try. I didn't find a place God wanted me because I didn't try. The problem? I didn't seek God. I just lived and came across Him when I came across Him. A Christian, yes! I went to church every time I was home and really enjoyed it. Wasn't involved in much besides singing in the choir and teaching children's Sunday School, but I enjoyed it. I visited First Baptist and Tharptown Baptist here in Russellville a couple of times and really enjoyed those services as well.
About a year ago I was talking with the principal at PACA (Pan American Christian Academy) in Sao Paulo Brazil about being their music teacher. I would live close to campus and teach K-12 music. I was really excited at the opportunity. REALLY excited. They had no one else for the job so I figured it was mine if I wanted it. The Julians live in Sao Paulo and all their kids went there at the time. I could work with the Julians, too, and that would be awesome. That's not what God wanted. Hind sight is 20/20. I see now that God wanted me here. For various reasons. Dad came off the road for 6 months last year. We thought we were going to lose him in January. I would have been miserable in Brazil knowing that. I probably would not have gone to a doctor to have my thyroid seen about in Brazil. I needed to be in the states. God knew that. I just didn't have a peace about going so I didn't. God knew why. Now I partly know why.
I was asked about a job playing and/or directing at FUMC here in Russellville. My immediate thought was, "No way, Jose! Not me!" I am SO thankful I decided to go ahead and interview for the position!!! I had a church job experience before that was not what anybody should experience in church. Wait. I had a church job experience before that was not what anybody should experience. I said I'd most-likely never do it again.
I decided I'd interview for the job and let God's will be done. I didn't care either way. If they didn't want to hire me, it meant someone else was more fit for the job and God wanted someone else there. If they did hire me, I was supposed to be there. I really wasn't leaning either way. I left it up to Him. He knew what he was doing.
I could have NEVER made it past this year without the relationships and the bonds I've made with people at that church. I would have sat at home and cried myself sick many nights without them. I have cried more times in the past six months than I have my entire life, but most of those tears have been tears of joy and of thanksgiving to God. I can't imagine not having the church family I have found at FUMC and gone through what I've recently gone through. I would have seriously driven myself nuts. The thoughts of being here alone without that church family make me cringe. They have built me up and built me up. I have become closer to God through all of this and would not have had it not been for the people at FUMC. I'd be a lost cause right now. Seriously. God knows what he's doing in our lives and it's up to us to let Him. His love is constant. We can love him more and more and we can put him on the back burner and forget about him, but he never loves us less, and he never loves us more, I don't think. His love and His grace and His mercy amaze me. Where would I be without Him and without His people right now? I have had an ARMY of people praying for me. I have felt those prayers and it has been overwhelmingly amazing.
I'm glad I interviewed for the job. It's not a job anymore. I honestly used to go for what I had to be there for... the traditional service at 11:00 where I directed the Chancel Choir anthem. I kept waiting for the friendliness of the people and the excitement to die down. I thought, "I'm new. They'll quit being so friendly soon." It's been a year and the friendliness has grown and grown. I have relationships with people there that I would never imagine having. They are on fire for Jesus and that is apparent from the time you walk in the door. Anybody that has visited with me has commented on how nice they are and welcoming. They are such a loving bunch of people. It's overwhelming to be there. Every Wednesday night and every Sunday I feel inadequate. Why me? Why am I put in a position to be so blessed? Shouldn't someone else be here? I'm not good enough for this. I don't deserve this. WOW! What a year!!! I LOVE my new church family. I'm still getting to know many of them and still ask "what's his name?" like I did tonight.
God knew EXACTLY what He was doing when someone asked if I'd be interested in interviewing for the job. He knew I needed these people because let me tell you, they don't need me! I need them. God knew that.
It's only been a few months that I've been close to them, but those few months seem like longer. For the first few months, I don't think I really even talked to anyone. I've opened up. They've opened up. It's grand. I love it. I wouldn't trade it for the world. God knows what my next step is and that is comforting. I can't begin to tell you all of the blessings I have received while being at FUMC, but you can see a few. I am blessed. I don't know why. I don't deserve it, but I am terribly blessed. God and his people are amazing.
I'm glad I interviewed for the "job".