(I wrote this shortly after Hurricane Michael attempted to destroy my home town on October 10, 2018. Not sure why I never published it.)
I was born, raised, and taught what family legacy is all about in Panama City, Florida. Even after my parents relocated to Atlanta, we were in PC at minimum once a month. It was where we would spend the weekends floating from family member to family members homes. We would visit, laugh, hear stories of the past. While several family members have passed, I am still flooded with amazing memories.
My family on both of my parents side is full of rich heritage of serving the Lord. As a young child I remember the process of my great grandparents and parents literally building the church, Life and Praise. It was a beautiful church building. But more than that, Life and Praise truly was a place of deep worship and deep growth for things of the Lord.
I remember my Grannie and Pa, and Aunt Roberta studying for hours the Sunday School lesson for the coming week.
I remember my Pa serving faithfully week after week as an usher.
I remember Fred Andrews always giving me bubble gum.
I remember running up and down the halls with Brandi Cook and Candace Hathaway, as we giggled like we were at home, but to us Life and Praise WAS home.
I remember the smells and the taste of dinner on the grounds.
I remember during services my Aunt Roberta passionately testifying of the Lord’s goodness and faithfulness in her life.
I remember the creaks of the pews and the sound of the piano throughout the building.
I remember watching members of my actual family and my church family worshiping with boldness and gratitude for all the Lord had done in their lives.
I remember the texture of pages hymnals pages as we turned to the song choice of the day.
I remember accepting Jesus in my heart on a Wednesday night during my missionettes class, during a summer visit to Grannie and Pa’s.
I remember the specific sounds of the voices blending together during various worship songs.
The memories are endless. The heritage I was raised in was so full of experiencing glimpses of Heaven on Earth. The influence that people directly and indirectly had on my life were intertwined and connected to Life and Praise.
On October 10, 2018 Hurricane Michael caused devastation to Panama City. Life and Praise was no exception. My heart is broken for PC. Every video I watch, or post I look at is full of recognizable places, that have been completely destroyed. Homes that I have spent cherished time in, are unrecognizable.
Over the years my family little by little have been welcomed into their forever home in heaven. One by one I have mourned the loss of family members, while celebrating the legacy each person has left. I cherish the memories and frequently reflect on them.
And now, I mourn the losses from Hurricane Michael. I mourn the loss of tangible things and buildings. Even through Life and Praise did not weather the storm, as I close my eyes I hear generations and generations before me signing. I hear them singing with boldness, declaring the name of Jesus.
“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus; there’s just something about that name.
Master, Savior, Jesus, like the fragrance after the rain;
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, let all Heaven and earth proclaim
Kings and kingdoms will all pass away,
But there’s something about that name.
Kings and kingdoms will all pass away,
But there’s something about that name.”
What a reminder that things will pass away, but the name of Jesus is CONSTANT. He is our very help in the time of need. I celebrate ALL that the Lord has allowed me to see and experience, in plenty and in times of need. I have seen His hand in so many lives from generations to generations. And while I may mourn today, I know that He works ALL things together for His good. Despite the unknown at this present time, despite the devastation that so many of my friends and family members are facing in Panama City…. one thing remains, He is GOOD.