Monday, February 6, 2012
Church for us lately. . .
Anyone who has ever moved to a new city and tried to find a new church knows what a hard thing it can be to accomplish. And anyone who has ever tried to do it with kids knows how much harder they make it! Somebody is always sick or picks something up in the nursery. And then, when you visit a church, you really only get a snapshot. What if this Sunday was just an off day? What if we are missing out if we don't come back? Then you find one you like or that at least could "work" and then it turns out not to be what you had in mind. We have been looking for a church in our new home town for a little less than a year now. We had been visiting a church that we thought we liked, but decided it wasn't where we wanted to be. This is actually the first time in our marriage that Ryan and I have chosen a church together. When we were in Dallas, we just attended the church where he had been singing in the choir for a number of years. We made some great friends there and have very fond memories of that church. Trying to find a balance between what I desire in a church with what Ryan desires is a bit challenging since we came from different church styles growing up. He enjoys liturgy, a good choir, and a more traditional service all around. I enjoy a more contemporary style service. The thing that we decided was important to us both, though, was sound, thought-provoking teaching and a community in the church where we felt like we could get involved. This summer, I was talking with a friend of mine who had also recently moved here. She and her husband were also looking for a church home. They had been attending her husband's church where he grew up as well as a larger group Bible study (which would become a church plant a few months down the road). One thing she said that made me think was, "Yeah, we like my husband's old church, but I really think they need us more at the Bible study." I thought, huh--how interesting. Choosing a church based on what you can BRING to it rather than what it can GIVE to you. I thought her perspective might be due to the fact that she did not grow up in the U.S. American culture is brand new to her. Hence, this whole idea of "church shopping" wasn't something she was really focused on. I mean, I think it is important to look for a church that fits you, but what if we all went to church thinking about how we might serve others there. And then I thought, "Well, we are in a stage of life where that kind of giving is hard. We have two little girls. They take up all our time." This is also true. But it does not necessarily mean that we have nothing to give. Fast forward a few months. Ryan and I start attending this Bible study/church plant and we really like it! The teaching is awesome, and it is very small. Everyone knows everyone, so when we visited, SO many people came up to talk to us because it was obvious we were new. We plan to continue going there and are excited to finally have a church home. Like I said, I was thinking that we were just in a season of not being able to give much, but God totally changed my perspective about that this past Sunday. It is BECAUSE we are in this season that we are ABLE to give. Here is what I mean. There are quite a few young couples in the church, but we are some of the few (maybe one or two others) who have young kids. There are, however, quite a few pregnant couples. The pastor and his wife being one (they are due any day now). Ryan had mentioned to me how it would be nice to make them a meal when the baby came. I agreed, since people had blessed us in ABUNDANCE with meals when Sophie came. We felt so cared for. So, I felt prompted to ask his wife if someone had organized meals for them. Long story short, someone sort of had, but I was able to introduce them to Meal Train which would simplify things greatly for them. So, we will be bringing them a meal, but what God allowed me to see is that I (and probably Ryan) have a heart for other parents. Because we are in this tough season of life with our babies, my heart goes out to other moms. I know how hard it can be. I know what a blessing it is to connect with other moms. I know what a blessing it is for someone to watch your little one for a bit so you can go to the grocery store or go on a date with your husband. I think that God has given me a heart for mothers and he wants me to use it to bless other moms I meet in the church we are going to and anywhere else. It really excites to me think about serving people in that way. Isn't it funny how God can use us the most when we think we don't have ANY time or energy to give to something else. For me, I end up getting extra energy from serving. Point in case: last night after church, I came home with a ton of energy and ended up painting the final coat of paint in our entire basement (which is a lot of surface area). I think part of this energy came from getting a break from caring for the babies, but it also came from this revelation that God can use me where I am in life to help others! I am excited to see how it will play out.