"And Just Like That"

In less than a week now the journey that began 48 years ago will officially come to an end. I will be retired—still with the call of God upon my life, a minister, but now without portfolio. I am concluding my work with First Baptist Church of Alexandria and also finishing up a career where I have only done one thing for my entire professional life. It will be uncharted territory for me.

I am amazed that it has come so quickly.

As I sit in my empty office with its bare bookshelves and barren walls today, my heart is filled with gratitude. So very thankful...

--For God's amazing grace, certainly, that has carried me all this time.

--For all of the wonderful colleagues I have had by my side, choice ministers who have honored the LORD by doing their jobs so well. Support staff who kept things running smoothly, especially the women who sat in the office next to mine: Pat Brewton for so many years, Lauren Jenkins and, most recently, Lindsey Paulsen.

--For exceptional lay leaders who have supported me and always wanted the best for their church.

--For every one of YOU--your faithful prayers, participation, and stewardship. Your friendship, too.

My heart was so blessed and encouraged by Sunday's services and reception. Thank you for doing all of that for Audrey and me. The sight of so many people--new friends and old--there to speak words of affirmation. Smiling and wishing us well through their tears. We will never forget. Send me pictures if you took them.

We are sad to be leaving, even though we know it is time, and are shedding some tears of our own. But I am personally going to rely on the wisdom of Dr. Seuss—

"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."

I will no longer be your pastor after Christmas Eve, but I want to always be your friend.  I will follow with interest the lives of your children, to see what God does with the investment I have made in them. To track the good things that happen in your careers and family life. Weddings, babies, home-goings. The progress the church will make under new leadership. "I commit you to God" (Acts 20:32)—yes—but I'm holding on a little, too.

Stay in touch, please. And visit us when you can. Part of every year we will be living in Florida:
2425 South Atlantic Ave., # 1905
Daytona Beach Shores, FL 32118

And part of the year we will be in the Richmond area.

4403 Meredith Creek Dr.,
Glen Allen, VA 23060

The best way to communicate with me will be by e-mail. My new address is f.dondavidson@gmail.com.

I plan to continue writing my "TAKE FIVE" on Fridays and will post journal entries on Tuesdays—because I have to write to know what I think about things, and to keep a good record of my days. These will not be available through the church, though, but on my personal Facebook page. I will "friend" you if we aren't already friends—just ask.

Pray for us whenever we come to mind, as we will for you (Philippians 1:3-6).

We will always love you!




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