Letting Go and Welcoming In

Hey, my darling Siestas! I hope your weekend was full of Jesus and that you found refreshment with family and friends. I also hope you were blessed by a lively, Christ-loving body of believers in your local church and that you freely worshiped with them and sought God together with them through the Scriptures. You guys know how strongly we feel about the local church around here. These are days on the Kingdom calendar when we need one another more than ever. (Hebrews 10:24-25) We can’t afford to rationalize that we can link up with other believers on line as a replacement for investing our lives and our spiritual gifts in the local church of God’s leading. I love what we get to do here and believe that it’s real and that it has an important place but it’s not a replacement for a local body of believers. I’m so happy to say that I don’t see many people in this community confused about that. I often hear you refer to your churches with much love and commitment. You bless me so.

That said, God has brought about a huge transition in our lives over the last months. Let me say that in all caps: HUGE. I think the best way I can explain it to you is to post the letter that was inserted in the church bulletin at my home church yesterday and is up on their website. I will pick back up with you briefly at the end of the letter.

Dear HFBC, my beloved church family of so many years,

It is with indescribable gratitude and deep emotion that I say farewell to this body of believers as a fellow member. I asked Pastor Gregg if I could write you a letter rather than speak to you from the platform, not because I mind shedding tears in public but because I wish to spare you my lapse into an ugly cry.

These are exciting days in my family. Nine years ago, Keith walked our oldest daughter, Amanda, down an aisle of this very sanctuary and gave her in marriage to Curtis Jones, a young man with only one life plan: to serve Jesus anywhere, any time. We knew from the start that anything was game. Over the last several years, we’ve watched God prepare Curtis and Amanda to plant a church in another part of Houston. Keith and I will unwaveringly go with them with joy, approval, and glad anticipation.

Not one of us goes without cost, however. For once, I’ll let the others speak for themselves and I’ll stick to what I place on this altar today. I met my life-long mentor here and came to my first realization that human flesh and blood could fall madly in love with Jesus. At her insistence, I taught my first Sunday School class here and didn’t sit down for 23 years. I signed up for a Bible doctrine class taught on the second floor of this church on Sunday nights 26 years ago and was ruined for life for anything other than the pursuit of Christ through Scripture. You dared to take a Christian aerobics teacher with a side ponytail seriously when she pitched her leg warmers for commentaries. You gave me a safe place to keep learning amid a thousand mistakes.

Meanwhile, our marriage has endured for 32 years and, in such large part, over the support we received among godly couples here in this church. Our daughters, Amanda and Melissa, each walked one of these aisles, gave their lives to Jesus and were baptized in those very same waters above the choir loft.

As ministry life took us places – both good and hard – that we could not possibly have foreseen, you were my safe harbor. As far as I can recall, Dr. Jimmy Draper is the only one who has ever called me “normal” but the context was something I’ll treasure forever: “Beth, you know the only reason you’ve stayed normal?” No, Sir. I don’t. “You stayed in church.”

And now the tears well up in my eyes and spill over from my heart. How do you thank people for nearly 30 years of love and acceptance and patience and forgiveness and guidance? My best shot at it is this: I may be absent from you on Sunday mornings but you will never be absent from me. You are woven into my soul. I take you with me everywhere I go.

I have the glorious privilege of placing my membership here at HFBC on the altar at the best possible time: when I have never loved this church more. There is not one hint of conflict. Not one iota of friction between my beloved Pastor and me. We have pledged our support and friendship to one another and to one another’s families. He has also graciously invited us to continue to hold our Tuesday night women’s Bible studies here. I’m Pastor Gregg’s fan forever and a staunch supporter of this fine church. Please hear these words, all of you, from the truest and most tender place in my heart:

Thank you for all that you’ve been to me. The gift of you is inestimable. I love you deeply and will press you close to my heart all my days. Pray for us as we pray for you “so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God.” (Ephesians 4:13)


Pastor Gregg and me:

I didn’t know until today that Melissa had snapped this picture of Keith and me up on the platform with Pastor Gregg yesterday during the service. When she walked into my office a few minutes ago and caught me inserting pictures into this article, she said, “Mom! I took one you’ve got to post!” I wish so much that this picture also had Kelly, Pastor Gregg’s wife, in it. I love her dearly and respect her to no end.

These next two pictures represent some of my very biggest losses at HFBC. Make no mistake. We will always be friends because our hearts are tied together forever but I won’t worship right in among them on a myriad of Sundays like I have for years. The first one is the Tate girls. A few of you may remember that I dedicated Get Out of That Pit to Kendall Tate and her family and told their story in the book. I, then, dedicated the GOOTP journal to all four of these wonderful girls.

This is Abigail Davis. I’ve known her (as well as each of the Tate girls) all her life. I told a story about Abigail and her golf lessons toward the very end of the Esther Bible study. I’m nuts about her. The best pictures I have of Abigail and me are in frames on shelves at home but I do have this one in my office. You can see that she is a well-rounded woman-child. A golfer and a dancer. Grin.

Well, you can see that these are days of change around here. I cried many tears yesterday as I said goodbye to a body of believers I have cherished with my whole heart and so much of my life. But, as I met with our church plant core-group of 50 on our knees last night, seeking God desperately to come and do His will in this infant church, I felt His power and pleasure. It is the Lord’s will. I welcome it and embrace it. Bayou City Fellowship will swing open its doors to the public in the Fall but you will not waste a prayer on us now. We have much work to do in the spiritual realm before that day comes.

I praise God that this fellowship of believers will be right here in Houston. When your kids are in ministry, you well know that God could “plant” them anywhere in the world. We are ecstatic that God led Curtis to plant this church right here in this big, fat, wonderful, hot city. Our whole family will be engaged in this crazy adventure, including Colin and Melissa. If you’re wondering about the name, Houston’s nickname is “Bayou City.” We couldn’t believe it hadn’t been snagged as a name for a church in this city yet. Over the coming years we want Houston to be so glad we are here as we stretch out our arms to its aid. Our first outside action as a church has been to gather various articles to give to families that lost all they had in a local apartment fire. As I folded up clothes this morning and put them in a bag and made a plan to run by Walmart, I thought to myself, “Well, old girl, there’s not a lot of time to sit around and mourn. Hop up and get on this love train. There’s a city to serve.”

And it felt right.

One last thing. Last night I looked at all the children of our core group couples and thought, “You are going to get to watch some of these children grow up. Open your heart wide and receive with joy!” I knelt down by about 7 children, one by one, last night and said, “Hi there! I’m Miss Beth and I’m new to this church, too. Would you be my friend?” Most of them said yes. A few of them stared at my big hair.

Jesus, be exalted in this city. Bless HFBC. Bless Bayou City Fellowship. Bless every body of believers with knees to the floor and faces to the sky in Your holy Name. We are wholly dependent upon Your presence.

PS. Amanda is my pastor’s wife. I have to throw my head back and laugh with joy. HOW ABOUT THAT????


454 Responses to “Letting Go and Welcoming In”

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  1. 1
    Ginger says:

    Beth–God bless you and yours in this new endeavor. I love the example you set. Despite all else you’ve got going, you are a mother and a grandmother. I can’t tell you what that means to me to see. It makes everything else you do more powerful to me. Thank you. Praying for your new congregation right now.

  2. 2
    Jennifer says:

    I am soooo stinkin’ excited about this church! My husband and I plan to be there on the first Sunday with eager anticipation on what God is going to do.

  3. 3
    Angie says:

    From one church planter to another, congratulations and a serious amount of prayer coming all of your way!

  4. 4

    Ahh Beth, I can imagine how hard it was to say goodbye. Endings must happen before the beginnings take place. In this ending, you step into such a place of excitement. I love the vision of Bayou City Church — serving the people of the city.

    You and the entire family are in my prayers today. I’m lifting you up as your step forward and out into this incredible adventure with God. He’s so good to each of us!!

  5. 5
    Marni Arnold says:

    Wow, what an amazing change – but a glorious one. I know it comes with heartache…but also a joyous heart too. It is a strange dichotomy moving from one place to another – and your lay it out so beautifully here.

    Thank you for sharing this, as it is confirming to me that the changes God has me going through right now means I will have to leave some things I dearly love behind to move forward toward the direction He needs me to go. It hurts, but at the same time there is an abundant joy I can’t seem to explain.

  6. 6
    TerrieG says:

    It is so hard to leave a place of worship that you LOVE! Where you have history with people. I had the hardest time leaving my church a year and a half ago when we moved. But, the first thing that was important to me….finding a church. A place where I could call home and God could use me. And I will tell you that I felt very unsettled, like a stranger until the day that we decided on a church. The moment that I said out loud “this is where I want to call home”…I felt settled. Months after all the boxes had been unpacked. I encourage anyone who doesn’t have a church home to find one to worship & fellowship with a body of believers. There is nothing like it! Great post Beth!!

  7. 7
    Amy Tippit says:

    Beth, As always I am so encouraged by your ability to just be yourself on here. That is what people are looking for, women are looking for!! Not a fake magazine, A REAL WOMAN!! Thanks for sharing your new adventure, it will be encouraging to those who are going through the same thing!! May the Lord Bless you Richly!!!

  8. 8
    Ruth says:

    This brought tears to my eyes as well. I had read on Amanda’s blog about their calling and was so touched. Definitely praying for all!

  9. 9
    Alissa says:

    I think it is amazing that you are going with your children. They will be so blessed by that. I know my mom and dad would do the same. May the peace of Christ be with each of you during this process….

  10. 10
    Nancy Minor says:

    Dear Beth, You have been so blessed! Praise GOD! Best of luck to all! Love Nancy Minor

  11. 11
    Joy says:

    Oh, Beth! how wonderful for you and your family! And I literally LAUGHED OUT LOUD at Amanda being your pastor’s wife! (I have two teenage girls and the thought just makes me giggle!) I know you’ll have great adventures and am excited to hear about the Lord moving as you and your new “body” abandon yourselves to his perfect will and unwavering goodness!

  12. 12
    Marilee says:

    God always has a way of digging us up and shaking the dirt off our roots when we get too comfy where we’re planted doesn’t he? I’m sure you gorgeous flowers are going to thrive in your new spot!

  13. 13

    Shedding tears of joy with you and for ALL of you. Praise be to God for the glorious work He is doing in Houston!

    And smiling huge over Amanda being your pastor’s wife. Oh, that is redemption with the spoils of victory in Jesus!!

  14. 14
    Adele says:

    Ah, Beth, as someone who’s done a lot of moving, I admire someone like you who’s not had to move as much for stepping out in faith and obedience and going where God is leading. I imagine it’s much tougher when your roots go 30 years deep… May God bless you richly, Beth.

    I wish I were in the area. I’d come and worship with you guys at BCF! I pray, though, that many, many prodigals will find God anew at Bayou. And I pray that even more people will come to know Christ there for the first time in their lives!

    See you in Omaha soon! Cannot wait!

    Jakarta Indonesia

  15. 15
    Kristen says:

    Congratulations and may our wonderful Lord praise your family and give continuing strength. Our message at church from Pastor (North Little Rock, AR) yesterday spoke on discipleship. This adventure for your family is awesome to read about after an amazing message yesterday.

  16. 16
    rachel h says:

    What an exciting time!! From one pastor’s wife to another, I have to know has Amanda been practicing her piano solos? 😉

    • 16.1
      Pat frrm Kansas says:

      I laughed at your post. My wonderful mother-in-law, has been a pastor’s wife for over 30 years. I remember hearing her tell of having to play the piano and she could only play about 4 songs…definitely nothing with sharps or flats…that limits it a bit….the great thing is my husband and two brothers know ‘At Calvary’ by heart, all verses and all parts! ha….and they sing quite well…

    • 16.2
      Amanda says:

      Rachel, it’s so pitiful! I can’t plan any instrument nor can I sing! Ha!

      • Pat from Kansas says:

        Amanda, I feel your pain. I can’t play anything! I always wanted to but it’s just not in me…I always tell people who know I love to sing (though not so good) that I sound so much better in my head…:)
        If it comes right down to it…just put in a Travis CD and have everyone sing along…He just rocks it out!

  17. 17
    Kristi B. says:

    Beth, your post has brought tears to my eyes. I can feel the love that you have for your church, and it reminds me of the love I have for my own church. Please know that Bayou City Fellowship will be in my prayers!

  18. 18
    Michele says:

    Oh Beth, thank you for sharing your tender heart. May God bless your new church and all involved. May he grant Curtis great wisdom and insight in leading the laying of the foundation of Bayou City Fellowship.

    Have a blast, y’all!!

  19. 19
    Volleyball Ginger says:

    Wow!!!! What an adventure God has called all of you to and yipppeee yahooo that you guys have all been obedient in the following through of His call! May God truly and richly bless Bayou City Fellowship and the core of 50 who will be His arms there. I will be alongside you “shoulder to shoulder” from afar.

    Blessings Beth, Amanda, and Melissa!

    Wetumpka, AL

  20. 20
    Marilyn says:

    Will you be located anywhere near Spring? I know God will pour out his anointing over his servants who have ” a heart like his”. Go with gusto and be in his presence.

  21. 21
    rhonda says:

    A beautiful letter and exciting times!:)

  22. 22
    Kelli says:

    Oh, blessed Siesta Mama, my heart goes out to you! I know how hard it must be to say goodbye as one chapter of your life comes to an end. At the same time, I am so excited for you for this new beginning! Our church just started going thru the book of Joshua and we were just learning how they couldn’t go into the promised land without there being an ending, namely Moses’ dying. As hard as it was for them to lose him, they knew God couldn’t give them the promised land until he was gone. I see this for you and yet it is going to be so awesome to see what the Lord will do! What a privilege to be able to serve with your son-in-law and daughter! I’ll be praying for you.
    My husband and I have been serving under our pastor and his wife who are both the same age as my children (at first that was weird) and it has been nothing but miraculous! We started 3 1/2 years ago and have gone from starting with 14 people at our first service to between 1500 to 1800 today. We are in a small town in Montana and we are growing by leaps and bounds! There are so many young people (and old people) out there who need Jesus and who are craving “real” life. Oh, I pray, Sister, that there would be an abundant harvest beyond all that you may think or even imagine. You go, girl, and hold the arms of your children up and just watch the battle be won!

    Love you, Mama, Kelli McLean

  23. 23
    Allison says:

    We will miss having you as a member of HFBC, but God has given your whole family an awesome opportunity, and we would all get on your case if you didn’t jump on it! We love you guys, and we are praying for your new church.

    We might not have you as a member anymore, but you are just as much a part of us as we are a part of you. 🙂

    Much love, and thank you for your faithfulness to the Lord. He does so many wonderful things through you, and I know He will continue doing so through this transition.

  24. 24
    fuzzytop says:

    May God richly bless this new church plant!

    Love and hugs,

  25. 25
    Linda says:

    How awesome that such a journey involves your entire family! As the Word says, ” The priest said to them, “Go in peace; your way in which you are going has the LORD’S approval.” Judges 18:6 NASB. Best of luck. I’ll look forward to seeing you again on Tuesdays at HFBC.

  26. 26
    Bible study nut says:

    If I have learned anything in all my years, it is, God is on the move each and every day and to stay still is to stagnate. What a great “God” adventure awaits you and your family and the lives of others you will touch. To God be the glory!

  27. 27
    laura russell says:

    SO excited of all that GOD has in store for you! May the LORD richly bless you!

  28. 28
    FloridaLizzie says:

    Beth, We will be praying with you and your family as you make this transition. It can be really hard to leave a church you have loved so much for so long that it is family. But I am glad it’s not because of a problem, but to support family members in ministry and a new church plant. It can feel like pulling your heart out by the roots to leave a church after so many years. But if you are all feeling it’s God’s leading, you can trust Him to heal that hole in your heart, and that He will deal with any people who may not understand it or like it.
    Well, God may have a few surprises in store for you! But we hope they are good ones! May the whole earth be filled with the glory of the Lord as the gospel spreads to a world in great need of Jesus!

  29. 29
    christina says:

    Oh, how I know the cost of leaving a community you love, even when you know it’s God’s call. May the Lord mark Bayou City Fellowship with His glorious fingerprints from the get-go, and may He overwhelm the grief with new joys.

  30. 30

    I’ve been praying for Curtis and Amanda and will add the rest of you to my prayers. We just helped friends plant a church in October in the middle of our city. It’s not easy, but oh, is it good! Love you guys!!

  31. 31
    Marsha says:

    Praying for you all Mama Beth. To God Be The Glory!

  32. 32
    Nancy says:

    Hi Beth,
    Thank you for sharing your precious heart and news!
    What an adventure and I am praying!!!
    I did have a wonderful time worshiping with my church yesterday. We sang “Open the eyes of my heart, Lord” and I thought of you with your huge magnifying glasses and laughed with the Lord on that one!

  33. 33
    Emily says:

    I read about the church plant on Amanda’s blog not too long ago and couldn’t help but be so excited for them!! And now for you, too! Praying for you all as you transition into and build this new church through, in, and for Christ alone.

  34. 34
    carla says:

    Bless your heart. I know your heartstrings were pulled. I too left my long time church family in Ga. and moved to Iowa several years ago. You know what GOD did, he gave me the most wonderful angels to be my new family, I have been so blessed as I know you will be. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

  35. 35
    Yvonne says:


    Words escape me. Really, I am not much of a communicator at all, so no words is nothing new. However, here goes. What an incredible adventure!!! God is doing a new work in your area. I will be lifting you ALL up in prayer. We (my husband and I) have been feeling the call to plant a church in our town and are willing servants of His. However, God has made it clear that now is not the time. Therefore, we serve Him in a local body and wait His timing.

    Please keep your blog friends informed so we will know how to pray better for you.

    I love you, dear sister in Christ,


    PS. What a hoot that your daughter is your pastor’s wife. I LOVE it!!!!

  36. 36
    Becky Roode says:

    Mama B,
    Goodbyes are hard. Ugh…the weight of just thinking about it. But how exciting that goodbye is not the end and that God is moving you and yours into this next part of the life He has planned for you!
    Will be praying for all involved as you seek God’s leading in this new church plant.
    Have a great week, dear one!

  37. 37
    Andrea says:

    Beth and Amanda,

    Congrats are in order! I pray many blessings over you as you embark on this journey. Hold your heads high!



  38. 38
    Deanna says:

    I know you must be experiencing a truck load of emotions. We joined a new church last year after being at ours for 30+ years. And we have totally fallen in love with our new family and with our Lord even more. And though I was tearful reading the letter to your church family, I am so excited for you too. What a special joy to be involved with your children and grandchildren while serving Jesus. That’s what it’s all about! I will be praying for ya’ll.

  39. 39
    Northern Lights says:

    We always watch the webcast live on Sundays after going to our own church. Was crying along with you – just ‘cuz.

    Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. Eph. 3:20-21

    My little girl is 7 – would love for her to grow up to be my pastor’s wife!!

  40. 40
    To Know Him says:

    My heart is touched as I see how much you love your church, but on the other hand how exciting to begin this new journey with your family… that doesn’t always happen.

    Life seems to change constantly…God is always moving and I can’t wait to see what He will do with Bayou City Fellowship. May He gain much Glory from this new body of believers…

    I am too tickled that Amanda is your pastor’s wife 🙂

  41. 41
    Kim Safiina says:

    Precious Beth & Family,

    My heart and prayers are with all of you as The Journey Continues!
    Change is the only constant in life.
    Your family is covered daily in SIESTA PRAYERS with love annd blessings from this blog community.
    Looking forward to stories,photos, and scripture that touches each Siesta!
    The. Scripture that has held me these past 23+months of change~ change~change is. ISAIAH 41:13
    For I, The. LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Do not fear, I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13

    We moved into our home after 23+ months of building, 1 year of architect design. We sold our family home. Was an empty nest Mom. Lost 2 friends to cancer. Left our church family. Ended 17 years of teaching Bible Study in my home. Moved to another area. Moved 3 hours from my mother/in-laws. THE LORD SUSTAINED ME!!!!

  42. 42
    Jamie says:

    As a new member at HFBC, I am so sad at your leaving, but, after getting to hear Curtis teach on Wednesday nights, I know that you are going to be so blessed under his anointed teaching! God bless your precious family as y’all share in this church plant. I cannot wait to hear from you, Melissa & Amanda what awesome things God is doing at BCF! I love you, sweet Beth!

  43. 43
    shannon conner says:

    That is a beautiful way to go and start to serve in another area. I wish everyone could realize we are on the same side 🙂

  44. 44
    heather steinbeck says:

    I love this! When my husband and I planted in our hometown nearly 8 years ago now, we started with 8 people, two of which was my sister and her husband. When blood family rolls up their sleeves together for the sake of Jesus, there’s nothing that can stop it! And though my mom did not go to Crosspoint, she was and still is one of our biggest cheerleaders and prayer warriors and we could not have done it without her (and my dad as well-he accepted Jesus just one year ago!!)! Praying your new baby church has the eyes of Jesus for the people He has called you to reach…and your heart breaks for what breaks His…there is no greater joy–it’s not easy, but oh so worth it!! Love and prayers to your team!!

  45. 45
    Gail says:

    Wow! Much love, blessings, and prayers. Thank you for sharing this with us, we will keep you all in our prayers. We love you!

  46. 46
    Sandi in MN says:

    What awesome news! I love when God does new and exciting things in our lives! You are all on the ride of your lives!
    May God bless that city through you!

    BTW, I laughed my head off at your glasses in your last video, what is up with those?!

    Love your sense of humor!

  47. 47
    Lynn at Barksdale AFB says:

    Oh Beth,

    What a heart wrenching letter to read, I can’t imagine having to write it. But then I read, “It is the will of God” and it warmed my heart that He showed you this. Thank you for your example in obedience and sharing this with us. I am heading to my knees right now for you and your family, and NEW church family!

  48. 48
    Joann Brothers says:

    You have made a very difficult choice to leave a place and people you love to follow Jesus on a new adventure. I am confident you will be blessed and God will be glorified in this move.

  49. 49
    Sarah Caldwell says:

    Wondermous Siesta Mom Beth!
    I am always in awe of the directions God sends you…the unexpected twists and turns of a family so directed by God they unwaveringly follow His lead always…this post rocked! I’ve actually never been to Houston proper, and I look forward to visiting this incredible upcoming house of worship when I do! God Bless You and the rest of your amazing family! It would be so easy for you to rest on your laurels at this point in you are constantly allowing God to move you into challenging and beautiful new adventures! That truly inspires and amazes me – thank you for being you!

  50. 50
    Beth Herring says:

    i love that your pastor’s wife is your daughter! God certainly has a sense of humor! I am praying for you all as God leads you into this new walk of Faith with Him. I love you so much!!!

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