When I first came to Greater Smith Chapel as pastor in May of 2008, there was a huge dead tree that greeted me from the street. After the first worship service, I walked out the front door of the church and to the right of the church was a magnificent oak tree. I mean it was huge the tree was green and flourishing. There were families of animals living in the branches. Squirrels and chipmunks and all species of birds frolicked in the tree and you could envision a tire swing and a picnic table underneath. The mass of yard that the tree covered could host several students studying or a great game of hide and seek. The tree could literally be considered the tree of life.
One day the unfathomable happened, we were at church hanging out and having our normal dose of fun everything was great and getting better. All of a sudden a huge wind came out of nowhere and uprooted the tree. Not the dead one or all the ones that were in desperate need of pruning, but the great big oak. The wind was so magnificent that it lifted the tree and turned it on its side breaking the very live roots. Then the heavens opened up and the rains came down, lightning struck and all hail broke loose…. Hail started falling from the sky. It was awful and an hour or so later it was gone as quick as it started.
When the tree was removed, it left a huge void in the yard…. There is a major brown spot in the yard that we just this summer decided to make a children’s garden.
Someone said it’s not always the leaning tree that falls
Maudestine Glanton was an oak tree kind of person. She had the unique ability to encourage and engage children and adults alike. She helped and gently nudged and would even make you believe what you were doing was you own idea.
One of the great debates in our two years together (which really seem like a lifetime) is what would the church do when I left as pastor. Maude Glanton always said that whenever Greater Smith Chapel had trained a good pastor they would leave. I would always emphatically tell her that I had no intentions of leaving, that I was not seeking to go anywhere and that the kind of congregation that I ideally wanted to pastor, we would create at Greater Smith Chapel. We always talked about what if when and if I left, I always explained that I was 150% all in. We never EVER considered what Greater Smith Chapel would do, what I would do when Maude Glanton left us…
There is a huge void left in my heart. I know as surely that I do that our Savior lives that Maudestine May Glanton in her infinite wisdom has already given us the tools to fill this incomprehensible void… I look forward to sharing my learning with you in some blog posts in the nearby future entitled “Maude and me…. The girl’s guide to pastoring and loving and living”
great post Toni.
OOOH, Toni you got me on that one. My godson is looking at me like I’m crazy as I sit here crying. Beautifully said..I’m feeling every word and remembering every Oak I’ve been blessed with. Thank you for this reminder.
Toni, well said. There is much to learn for the very example she modeled.
I look forward to your learnings.
Beautifully written, Toni. Thanks so much for sharing.
Powerful post, I look forward to the series!
“Maude and me…. The girl’s guide to pastoring and loving and living”
I love it!
Thank you for sharing the post. I was both saddened and inspired at the same time. I look forward to reading additional posts of “Maude amd me . . . ”
Peace and Love,
Thanks so much for all that you have given to the Smith Chapel Church family. My mother really loved you and respected your hard work in the Lord.
Thanks for all that you do; Be blessed!
Continue the legacy . . . . . . .
Very poignant and Inspiring story. Powerful storms can be unexpected and leave our lives forever changed. But God’s Grace will fill the voided aftermath with even greater blessings. Looking forward to reading more about “Maude and Me…”
I dont’ even know what to say… Simply beautiful. She absolutely loved and adored you as well.
Always in all ways,
Edith Ruth 🙂