Has it really been 14 months since Beth and I first attended a worship service with you guys? Time just keeps moving, doesn’t it? There are so many things that I want to say to you all. This seems like the easiest forum to do so.

We came to Northwood last summer as broken vessels. Everything in our life had shattered and we needed a place to hide (for a time) and more importantly heal. You welcomed us and gave us the opportunity to do just that at our own pace.

As healing began, Beth and I found ourselves participating in CAN, playing and singing on the worship team, and really getting out of our comfort zone and engaging in a Life Connection Group. Each step brought us further along in our healing and helped get us ready to launch back into ministry.

I will never forget my first time playing drums with you guys. Something happened and Charlie had to leave rehearsal. Next thing I knew, Matt was looking at me and asking me to jump on the kit. I guess the rest is history, but I’m sure I gave Matt the deer in headlights look when he asked.

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Before I got home, the above photo had made it’s way onto Facebook along with a very encouraging note.

I also remember the first time that Beth and I were on praise team together. We got to sing with Caiti, who we had sung with for years at our previous church. Matt got more than he bargained for. Maybe that’s why that rotation changed.

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Christmas at Northwood was probably the most seismic event for us in our time at Northwood. It was through our participation in this event that Beth and I really started to build relationships and tear down the walls that we had put up for protection.

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I can’t begin to express how important our time doing CAN was for Beth. The CAN girls that began doing outings together were exactly what she needed and as her husband I will forever be grateful to all of you girls that loved Beth and reached out to her. Y’all rock!

The last big piece of the puzzle was when we started hanging out with you guys outside of church. The McBranling Butterfly Trip to Riverbanks Zoo will be a memory that I will never forget. If you want an explanation on the butterflies, talk to Crystal McCall.

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I can’t leave out how overwhelming your love was to us as Beth went through her brain surgery. The visits, cards, meals, meals, and more meals were such a huge blessing to us. And of course just 4 weeks after surgery, Beth accomplished a goal and graduated from CSU. Sonny was so proud of her that he was taking her around to all of these different people before the ceremony telling her story.

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Matt McCall – I have learned so much about worship from you over the past year. Your passion is inspiring and the level of excellence that is present is absolutely amazing. I’m going to miss hanging out with you during digital sound check. Thank you for your leadership and for your friendship. I may even have a slightly soft spot for the Crimson Tide because of you.

Crystal McCall – The way you put up with a band full of crazy guys is amazing and never more so on display than with the CAN Band. Just promise to call me back if there is an encore performance of Wish Liszt.

John Meadows and Mikey Brannon – Your leadership of The Servants class is awesome. Your thirst for scriptural truth is commendable and has challenged me in my own quiet times. I’m always checking for my God Goggles and S.O.A.P. as I study.

Charlie Franklin – Brother, you are an amazing musician. There are drummers and there are musicians. You are a musician. Thank you for your constant encouragement and leadership. I’ve seen very few people with the servant’s heart that you possess.

Jacob Norman – my other brother in drums. Keep working hard and playing for His glory. I’ve enjoyed seeing your growth behind the kit and am waiting to hear that you broke a stick one day.

Sonny Holmes – You were only the pastor at Northwood for a few short months while we were there, but you took a vested interest in us from the beginning and to this day you haven’t stopped being invested in us. We are forever grateful for that.

Dr. Tew – Holding the title of Interim Pastor is not something that just anyone can do. You have been an amazing teacher of God’s Word, and a wonderful encouragement to Beth and I. Thank you for serving Him in a way that inspires and encourages others to be more like Him.

I could keep going with names, but I’ll stop there. Northwood family, you have been exactly what Beth and I needed. I look forward to hearing of what God is going to do through you.

This may be corny, but if you know me at all, this makes perfect sense. Watch this.

Saying Goodbye

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