Monday, 16 November 2009

I wonder

What makes a church your "home"?  If you're anything like me, you grew up going to church and the people who go there always refer to it as their church "home".  Is it the place?  The people?  Or perhaps it's something more intangible than that.  From the time I was a child, this church captured my attention.  We used to drive by it and I would marvel at the beauty of the building.  Even as a little girl with no inkling that I would ever leave Walnut Hill I wondered what it would be like if I could just go inside.
Shortly after I turned 21, I left the church I had spent my teenage years in.  I was divorced, broken, and wanted nothing to do with church.  I never truly believed that there was no God, but I was quite certain that he wanted nothing to do with me.  I spent several months not bothering to go to church at all, but when I began to suspect that Jonathan would be proposing, I decided that I'd better suck it up and pick a church.  I still wasn't sure God cared, but I wanted a big church wedding.  I also had a vague idea that I wanted to raise my girls with Biblical values.  Something in me remembered the big church on Northwest Highway that I'd always wondered about.
On a beautiful October morning, I packed up the girls and drug my best friend and her roommate to Park Cities for the first time.  I was in love.  In a church of literally thousands, the director of women's ministry came over and introduced herself to us during meet and greet.  How could she possibly have known it was our first time there?  We happened to visit on the anniversary of the church's founding, and the pastor outlined the wonderful history of the church.  It all started with one simple statement:  "There ought to be a church in the Park Cities."  The berobed choir was amazing, and the soloist clearly loved singing for the Lord.  Jamie never came back, ultimately finding her home in Wylie, but I just knew it was where I belonged.  My family stayed there for four years.  I sang in the choir, loved on babies, and Jonathan and I were married by the young marrieds minister from there.  When Celestia's father was hospatilised (and ultimately died) I first went to church and sat in the middle of the aisle of the sanctuary all alone, praying for him before I could muster the courage to enter the emergency room.
When Celestia was in first grade (and Tatiana was still in pre-k) we moved here to North-of-Everywhere, and she couldn't handle the late Wednesday nights at church.  Every Thursday, like clockwork, she was getting in trouble at school.  She cut clothes with her scisors, stole other students' classwork, and was just downright mean.  One Thursday afternoon, I was sitting in her teacher's classroom (I worked at the school) chatting about the phenomenon, and it occurred to me: we were keeping her out too late the night before.  She just couldn't handle it.  We would have to find something closer to home.
I tried out several chruches, and none seemed like a good fit until a sweet couple from First Baptist Anna knocked on my front door one Sunday evening and envited us to church.  We had not had a proper church home for almost a year, and everyone was very inviting.  In our time at First Anna, I sang on praise team, loved on bigger kids, and saw both of my girls baptised.  Our time there recently came to an end.  This time not for any logistical reason, but because I felt that God was calling me to move on.  Where to next?  I visited for a month at FBC Wylie, but as much as I love Jamie, that was her home, not mine.  We tried some other churches earlier in the year - FBC Melissa, FBC Haslet, Cottonwood Creek - all nice churches, but none that gave me that sense of "home".
Two Sundays ago, I walked back in to Park Cities Baptist.  Despite the huge new addition that had been nothing but a construction crater the last time I had been there, it was like we had never left.  Sure, the pastor has moved on as well as the choir director, and the teacher of the class I attended.  The children's minister is different, and I'm certain that they've added staff.  But it felt the same.  I still know so many of the faces.  Everyone there is still so welcoming.  It still felt like home.  Sunday morning, I had no intentions of making any decisions one way or another, but when the meet and greet time rolled around, Celestia and Tatiana both skipped over to say hi to friends from their Sunday school class.  Both girls flipped to the songs in the hymnals (Yes, some churches really do still use them.  Yay for reading music!) and sang even the songs that they didn't really know.  Tatiana leaned over to me after about five minutes and said "mommy, I like sitting in the pews better".  Suddenly I knew, that there was no need to think about it any more.  We were home.  Don't ask me why God has called me to a church 45 minutes away from where I live, with a group of people who are WAY above my socio-econimic status.  All I know is that He has.
What about you?  What makes your church a "home"?


Angie Werley said...

This post makes me very sad and happy all at the same time! We will miss your beautiful face and spirit at First Anna, but I love that you have prayerfully sought the Lord and He has blessed you with a feeling of "home" at Park Cities. We will always be here if you need us. Thank you for all your time, service and dedication to our Church. You were a blessing!

Darling Daughters said...

We too drive quite a distance to church. It is home for us because of the relationships we have there.