Kara’s Collection: Thank You, Village 7 Presbyterian

From an article originally posted August 28, 2012…

Senior Pastor Mark Bates,

Thank you for believing in this beat-up couple from North Carolina. Thank you for seeing in my guy what I have seen for years. Thank you for championing our youth and seeing the gospel in my husband. More than that, thank you for believing the gospel. Truly living and believing the gospel of grace and week after week delivering the truth of that grace to the blessed congregation at Village 7 Presbyterian.

Mark, thank you for being the kind of pastor that upon hearing the news of my cancer diagnosis, when Jason asked me where I wanted to go, I immediately said to see Mark. After both appointments of hearing I might have cancer and then knowing I have cancer, you were the kind of pastor I knew I could come to in my darkest hour for truth. Thank you for your heart’s desire to both encourage and protect us through this process. Thank you for calling your wife to join us in our lowest moment. We have never for a moment deserved the kindness and love you and Tricia have shown us, but it is a grace we daily give thanks for through this time.

Teaching and Ruling Elders of Village 7,

In a short me, many of you have become so dear to us. Some have directed us medically, while others have shepherded us spiritually. The constant theme I hear is your faithful support of my guy through this season. Your leadership and willingness to sacrifice timelines and expectations for the health of our family is absolutely humbling. I am so thankful my husband gets to witness such a godly session willing to sacrifice for truth and the gospel. You have loved us so well.

Village 7 Diaconate,

Gentlemen, thank you for understanding mercy is not simply writing a check. Thank you for being men my husband can cry with about his wife having cancer and the difficult coming year. Thank you for caring for us in practical ways as well as spiritually caring for our family. We have been humbled by the heart of our diaconate.

Pastors’ Wives of Village 7,

A day does not pass where I have not been shepherded and loved by this beautiful band of women. Prayers, meals, offers to help with kids, or paint my walls. Ladies, I am so richly blessed by your care and friendship; words of thanks feel much too simple.

Westside Church,

My family, my safe corner, we love you all so dearly. Who knew when this motley crew formed you would be called to walk such a dark road with us. I thought we were called to show our great gifts of loving people, our fun ways, and my best recipes. No, I now see we are called to model brokenness and need for grace and the gospel. You are all such a gift to our family in countless ways: your tangible acts of care and love, but also wrestling through what gospel living really looks like. Thank you for asking hard questions and stretching yourselves. Thank you for or your patience with us as life, providence, and the sovereignty of God has changed the timeline. Someone said Sunday how the Lord is shaping the heart of Westside through suffering. I believe that is true, and it’s beautiful to witness.

We are beyond humbled by the love and grace shown to our family through this season. As we have learned that another family has entered this bale with cancer from Westside and Village 7, we are so thankful for the loving support that will surround them through their coming hard months. No one wants to walk this road, but if one must walk it, community is truly the best medicine.