Tuesday, July 31, 2007

This, That, and The Other

This:

Looking at life through the systems we move in and through...
After a year-ish of looking for a church community, I am pretty sure that we have found our new community to call home. The process of searching was really very powerful for me as I have only really been completely integrated with one faith community in my life. It was hard to leave what I had known, but it was important for me to follow the calling to step out of my comfort zone. It was also difficult because I was given the message that leaving wasn't in my best interest and that I was just withdrawing from community...which I sensed was untrue then, but now in retrospect I know with certainty that was not a message from God.

Getting the chance to experience many different systems of community over the past year has proven very fascinating and helpful for me. The church system I was raised in and employed by, felt very similar to the family system of my childhood. That is not a bad thing necessarily except for when it was. It was a very limiting thing for me unconsciously. I stayed immature in my personhood and my individuality. I allowed myself to be held back by my past and therefore viewed every relationship and every experience through those eyes.

After visiting many other communities, (some only once as I ran out of the building wanting to scream, some several times because they were real possibilities) I have come to understand what I suspected all along. Every system is open to humanity, meaning it is wonderfully imperfect. That is the point. I have also come to understand that yes I can relate in good and healthy ways...when I feel safe and comfort to be who I was made to be. I withdrew in my last community because I felt I needed to protect myself, and now that I am in this place I see just how true that was. That community as I experienced it, was more interested in doing than being and that can be very dangerous for any person involved in it.

I was intentional about finding a group of people who are more about being than doing and I feel like I can really get involved with that, because in the being who I am meant to be I can more fully do what I am meant to be doing.

That:

The hand of a living God...
Another thing that has really struck me as we have prayed through the decision to move deeper into a new faith community is that a place has been prepared for us for quite some time now. We found a connection to start attending this large and prominent church in our community through Freecycle.org of all things...and we visited the day I started having contractions with Sweet Pea.

Then I ran into a woman I knew from high school shortly after we began attending more regularly. Then we were not there for a while and I ran into one of the pastor's wife at a local coffee house. I've now run into her a couple of times because we both frequent that place and so she has helped me feel so much more welcomed. Our children are all about the same age. Then this last week I ran into a friend I know from my MOPS group at another church and I had no idea she attends this church because we used to attend a night service until it was moved to Sunday morning. Also, I totally forgot I knew the senior pastor's daughter from college. So now I feel like I already have a sense of community, because of some behind the scenes work for quite some time. It helps me feel cared for.

The Other:

And I breathe...
Can I just tell you how good it feels to worship in community again. I love to pick my kids up from Sunday school and they both...the 2 year old and the 4 year old...can tell me what their bible story was. That is really important to a former Children's Ministry director. I love that the service we had already become a part of is now linked with the junior high and senior high ministry. (A shift that just happened in July) David and I feel totally at home in an environment filled with teens. And they are being discipled in how to live a life of worship and I feel that our gifts and talents can totally be used in this new community. We have willing hearts for volunteering and we are well trained! It is all good!!!

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