Thank You For Showing Me Christ
An Open Letter to my FBC Canyon Family
Trying to sum up the things that I have learned at FBC has proved to be more challenging than I thought. Mainly because I could write a novel about it, but I somehow have to condense it into one blog post. It is also challenging because so many of the things the Lord has taught me in the last 5 years are all woven together. I cannot separate what I have learned about community from what I have learned about loving one another and serving. I cannot separate those things from what I have learned about faithfulness and obedience. But I think that is how it should be. We should not be able to separate those things, they should be interwoven. Christ embodied all of those things and more. We, as His people and His church that are called to image Him, should as well.
When I started coming to FBC, I thought that building relationships and a community in the church would be easy, happen quickly, and wouldn’t require a lot of effort on my part. I assumed that because I was young and in college all I had to do was sit there and wait for people to start loving and discipling me. But as I sat in the pews at church Sunday after Sunday, I kept sitting with people my age and only ever talked to older saints during the greeting time before turning around to talk to my friends, all the while wondering why no one had offered to grab some coffee with me or disciple me. I was always intimidated to talk to the older saints, worrying that they would find me annoying or not have enough time to spend with me. But my desire for people to speak wisdom and truth into my life eventually won over my fear of man, and I began to awkwardly approach people in conversation. I would then basically just invite myself into their lives. What I found was that they were more than willing to allow me in and let me stay for awhile. And what I have learned there has significantly molded, shaped, and grown me and my faith.
I have been blessed in a multitude of ways during my time at FBC. I could recount all of the people who opened up their homes to me and provided for me in very practical ways, the countless meals and gifts that I was given, the texts, visits, and phone calls I received on birthdays, when my grandparents died, when I was sad, lonely, or drained. I could go on and on about the lessons I have learned from watching the husbands and wives and mothers and fathers interact with one another and their children, or how selfless so many people were to allow me to spend countless hours verbally processing through what the Lord was doing in my life and teaching me with them. I have received much wise counsel, loving and encouraging prayers and notes, and daily reminders of grace through selfless hospitality and service from so many of you at FBC. I found much more than a community at FBC, I found brothers and sisters that loved me and cared for me the way Christ cared for them. I found people that knew me, warts and all, and loved me just the same. As Christ cared for, provided for, loved, and forgave you, you all have done likewise to me. As I have been served and blessed by you all, I have learned how to better serve and bless others through the example you all have laid before me. Thank you for showing me Christ.
I was able to see and experience life day in and day out with my faith family. I saw what obedience and faithfulness in the every day, mundane, messy, ordinary circumstances of life looked like. The days over the years were filled with joys, heartaches, peace, tension, loss, gain, hills, valleys, trials, and triumphs. Yet, I was able to witness so many of you still seeking to glorify, honor, and faithfully follow the Lord through the many different seasons and circumstances. One of the biggest ways that I saw this was in the willingness to be obedient, even if it was hard, even if it hurt, and particularly when it wasn’t entirely easy or convenient. This came in the form of saying hard truths when you knew it might not be received well or listened to, confronting a brother or sister (and me!) in sin, loving others (and me!) when it was hard to do so, dying to yourself by giving up your time, sleep, money, comfort, and even family so that others (and me!) in the church, Canyon/Amarillo, the country or world could be ministered to. Your obedience to God was fueled by a love for Him, a desire to glorify Him, and uphold His Word no matter the personal cost. Your faithfulness to preach, teach, and obey His Word has not only taught me what I should be practicing, but also how to practice it. I have seen you all uphold the name of Christ and seek to obey Him for His glory, trusting Him in faith regardless of what He was calling you to do. You all have modeled Christ’s obedience to His Father, seeking to do His will that He may be made known and glorified. Your example has helped me to better love and serve others, and step out in faith and obedience. Thank you for showing me Christ.
I think I always knew that I would eventually leave Canyon and FBC, but I think part of me also wondered if God would be gracious enough to keep me there because I loved it so much. When all of the pieces started to fall into place and it became obvious that God was calling me to North Carolina, I was not sure how I felt about it. I wanted to be obedient, but I knew leaving was going to be challenging. FBC is where I really started to grow and mature in my faith. It was where I truly learned what living for the Lord actually meant and looked like. It was where I found people that loved me and challenged me to grow in Christlikeness, despite all of the ways I was not like Him. It was where I start to learn to be served and to serve. It was where I started to learn to love and be loved. It was where I was taught, poured into, discipled, and equipped so that I could leave. And leaving a church, a family, like FBC was not something I was necessarily excited about doing. But as I have mentioned, you all have served as examples to me of what it means to be obedient to Christ, to trust Him, to follow where He leads, to live a life striving to love God and make His gospel known. And I have been equipped at FBC to go and do just that.
Thank you all for your investment in my life. Thank you for loving me, challenging, serving me, and encouraging me.
Thank you for showing me Christ.
And for teaching me to do the same.
Mackenzie called Canyon home for the past 5 years and graduated from WT in 2016. She is currently pursuing a MA in Ministry to Women through Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and recently moved to North Carolina for that purpose. She is serving as an intern for FBC Durham as she pursues her degree. If she isn’t working or doing homework, she can typically be found spending time with people – more than likely talking very animatedly with her hands and laughing too loud over a cup of coffee.