She’s always bringing sweets to share. Maybe it betrays her own sweet tooth, but I think it reveals a sweet and giving heart. Yet, the story of how Tina started coming to MainStreet is much more bittersweet.
I (Jeremy) heard the sad news on a snowy February day almost 3 years ago. Tina’s son Jason, who I graduated from high school with, had passed away at the age of 36. They were not church attenders and I was nudged to call and minister to them in this time of need.
Some days later, MainStreet was filled to standing room only at a beautiful funeral service for Jason that was attended by many family and old classmates. I was humbled that my first funeral (and MainStreet’s) would be for a classmate and I would get to share the hope of eternal life with other classmates.
As is often the case with God, new life would soon come from this darkness and grief. As Tina says, “For some reason I wanted to come to MainStreet the following Sunday.” She not only came, but she brought the rest of her family, too. Her other son and his fiancé approached me after the service and asked if I would do their wedding. Some months later the entire family was gathered again at MainStreet for a much more joyous occasion as they walked the aisle and said, “I do.”
The following summer we were baptizing Tina’s daughter who had experienced God in a fresh way and continues to grow in her faith through involvement in a Huddle. This past year we’ve had the joy of walking with Tina’s other daughter who just celebrated one year of sobriety in our living room where she is attending our “Grace-based Parenting” study. She renewed her baptism this summer as well!
Tina and her husband have jumped all in, worshiping with us for 3 years, attending Bible studies and classes. Her husband has become a “handyman” around church, offering his skills when needed. They are currently going through Alpha where we explore the big questions of life and faith. “It seems like the more I know, the more I want to know,” Tina says.
Tina is still grieving the loss of her son and asking the question, “Why?” She says, “I also want to become stronger in my faith so when bad things happen in my life, I will be able to handle them better.” But she is also growing in her knowledge of our God who can bring so much good out of such pain — a wedding and two baptisms for starters!
So, why does Tina bring sweets every time she comes? Maybe it’s her own sweet tooth. Maybe its her sweet heart. But maybe it’s a just simple way she can say thank you for some of the sweetness she and her family have tasted at MainStreet during a difficult season.