Personal Testimony by Nancy Hancock
Given at church on Commitment Sunday, November 19, 2017
Good morning, my name is Nancy Hancock. It’s hard going last in an assignment like this. We’ve heard such heartfelt and compelling testimonials these past several weeks… But I guess someone has to be the caboose. And they’re usually red – so appropriate for today!
In the flyer that came with your pledge card Adrian reminded us that St. Andrew’s is here for us through all the ages and stages and vicissitudes of our lives. And of course, in so many ways, that’s what church is about. For my family and me, St. Andrew’s certainly has been that reality.
Twenty years ago, almost to the day, I attended church here for the first time when I had come to town from Fort Worth, TX to interview for a job that I desperately needed. It was an all-parish Eucharist, and the rector, Addison Hall’s, sermon to the children was about inclusion. Addison used the example of being nice to new kids in class at school. I thought, “Boy, I hope you guys are listening, because if I get my wish, we’re coming, and my daughters will be the new kids.” Well, I got the job. We came.
It was hard. I was going back to work full time, cold turkey after a number of years at home with the kids. New community, new school, a string of babysitters about whom I often felt uneasy for one reason or another (some of the working mothers out there may know what I mean). But St. Andrew’s felt like home from day one. So important and sustaining for all of us during a really rough patch.
By God’s grace and with a lot of helping hands, we bumped along. I taught Sunday school and worked on various committees; the girls acolyted, helped with the toddlers, pitched in with Katrina cleanup in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi; they were all confirmed here. Now they are out in the world, but when they are home, they are at home here.
So, my nest is empty for all the right reasons, and you’d think I’d be starting to feel “home free”. But as a reminder that life truly is “what happens when you’re making other plans”, along came this past year. It’s been a bit of a doozy.
- One year and four days ago, I lost my job in a corporate downsizing
- Two days later I was in family court, and that went on and on
- In December, my mom had a major health crisis
- In the spring, my youngest daughter had a life-threatening, life-altering injury
- Mom took another scary dip in May
- Then my dad, who’d been the Energizer Bunny, had a surgery in the summer from which he never fully recovered, and we lost him last month
Welcome to the “sandwich years”! And we all face these things, or our own personal version of them, right? And my woes are chicken feed compared to many. It’s just life, and it happens, but it can be pretty overwhelming and scary.
And yet, through it all, St. Andrew’s, you, have been here for me, at the ready, with prayers and support of every kind, slack when I needed it, and just pure, boundless, unearned love like the love God promises all of us. Helping me to see beyond things temporal and focus on things eternal, as it says in one of my favorite psalms. And it’s been that way for my family and me through nearly 20 years of ups and downs, joys and challenges. Just… wow. You can’t put a price tag on that.
So if you have already pledged, thank you. If you’ve stepped up, thank you thank you. If you haven’t made a financial commitment to St. Andrew’s yet, please do. Do so today. We receive here so much more than we could possibly give in return – but we can try! If you are new to this pledging concept, please, take the plunge, or at least get your feet wet. There are extra pledge cards in the narthex. You’ve had time to think about it. Be generous. And as my dear old mother would say, “May God continue to bless us.”