I have to admit I didn't want to try out the church last week. My knight had picked it (with thought) but without consulting me to the extent I felt I deserved I should have. (Notice all the I's in that sentence just a wee bit selfish aren't I) I felt like I had no voice, Just wee bit sensitive to that right now darling. I prefer smaller churches that one can actually get to know people and have strong relationships with.
So last Sunday was mission week and there was a gathering in the space near the coffee shop... how funny, so like the basement coffee hour at a Catholic church. Hubby is looking for the guy working in Asia, I'm standing awkwardly alone... I start randomly talking to the person standing awkwardly by me. She is one of the local missionaries, she is fascinating. I'm going to invite her for dinner sometime soon.
We leave with mixed feelings. Wednesday is youth group, Little Miss Sunshine has events scheduled this day. We become the typical runaround like mad family to get to everything done and and still manage to somehow eat dinner. Hubby is exhausted, he's had a rough nights sleep and a full day. So I offer to take the kids to youth group. Sweet Potato is all a-dither in hopes of finding new friends and etc. Non stop chatter though dinner and the ride.
No one is at the welcome desk when I arrive, feeling slightly lost, I find an adult (now referred to as E.) amid the throngs of teens and tweens. He sets me right and I discover his daughter has already taken Sweet Potato by the hand and is making sure she's finding her place. This was surprising in a good way! Well now comes the question...drive back home or stay where there is high speed internet??? Need you ask? Feeling very alone I head to the coffee shop with my 3 dollars in hand in hopes I can afford a coffee. As I enter, my name is called by a familiar voice! Wow I actually know some one here, there is a happy delightful ex-staffer I haven't seen in over a year. We talk a bit, she's pretty shocked we have left the ministry. She heads back to work, while I sit down for a nice bout of Candy Crush and maybe work up some blog ideas. The tablet is dead... ha ha ha why did I say they could play Minecraft! I decide I'll catch up on my bible reading plan. E. The man that showed me around shows up instead and asked if he could sit down and proceeds to engage me in conversation. He really listened, seemed genuinely interested in our family, answered many unspoken questions about the pastor, the church, and how it worked. I've never felt so welcome in such a large church. It wasn't his job, he's not a greeter, he's just himself.
I left with the kids both jabbering at me about things they did, people they met. Oh LORD save me from the "Lets randomly text guys we meet at youth group." We had another internet safety talk on the way home.
My hubby and I decided to go to the newcomers meeting yesterday. It's always useful to go and hear everything the church has to offer etc. These meeting one usually needs a cup of coffee to toy with and stay awake, as not all the information applies to you. Oops we forgot to sign up, ahead of time! They make us feel welcome set us up with name tags and etc. I kept finding myself welling up with tears. This church is so different from the ministry we left, and oddly it has a lot of people who have been hurt by "church" in it. Our table host was so authentic and real. They are not about putting on "church face," they want you to get involved minister and be ministered too. Transparency is evident already in the way E. behaved. When we mentioned we didn't see an Adoption support group and would we be able to start one? There was eagerness in the hosts face. She was like that's exactly the kind of place this is. No hesitation, no "You need to be more spiritual", but rather "way to go" "that's the spirit" How can we get you plugged into a home group so you can make friends and begin to heal. It was real, I can see they embrace humanity not "christians." It was beautiful, I was suppressing tears the whole time, thankful God showed my spouse this church. As we drive home My Knight in Shining Armor started confessing he was holding back tears the whole meeting as well.
How odd, for so long there have been things I longed to do, yet was not allowed to do, because the CALL was oh so important, Church could be a distraction, bible study's kept you from praying and having an authentic relationship with God, because its just seeking head knowledge. Our world has been so narrow so limited so inward. I feel free, no longer trapped.