The Five of Us, Spring 2014

The Five of Us, Spring 2014

Church Search: Episode 1

So, back a lifetime ago when we lived in Boise, we had a really great church that we loved, full of wonderful people, great worship, etc, etc, etc. Then we moved to the Great White North which had dozens of tiny churches but we didn't really fit in anywhere. After several months of searching, we landed at Salem Baptist, along with some other AOH staff members. While we were able to begin some relationships there (for which I am truly very grateful), the events and timelines of everything conspired to make the whole thing seem temporary from the beginning. Hence, since Oct 1, 2007, we've basically been homeless, churchly speaking.

For a confluence of reasons (moving across the country, starting new jobs, going back to the workplace after being a SAHM, adding a family member, living in a tiny apartment on a remote farm, baptism by fire in the new jobs, and more), this past year has probably been the hardest of my life. And, we did it all with no church home and no girlfriends. We clung to a couple of relationships from Boise, but it's just not the same as having people in your physical vicinity. It's true that these experiences deepened my relationship with my husband and with my God. However, I have severely missed and suffered the loss of regular, deep Bible study and fellowship with others.

So, now that we've moved again, I feel pretty deserty-dry and like a used-up well whose mouth is gaping open silently crying for someone to sprinkle a bit of water in. (Water in the form of a good, intimate girlfriend! and a life-giving church experience.) For that reason, I've been vacilating between eagerness and hestitancy about the prospect of looking for a new church. If I felt all full and healthy (the way I felt before we turned our lives inside out), I'd walk into a new place confident that I had as much to offer as to gain. In fact, there have been times in both of the churches we attended in Boise that I walked up to particular women after a couple of weeks of attending and initiated friendship, out of that confidence. I had a need, of course, but I also had something to offer. Now, I feel so raw and depleted that my "offer of friendship" would be more like a burden, a plea for restoration to relational and spiritual normalcy (for me, which is probably different from other people's definitions, normalcy for me is intimacy and depth). I have such high needs and hopes and that's where the eagerness comes from. But, I'm also a realist and I know my needs can't be fully met by anyone, or even several anyones. While one can't live the Christian life in isolation, God truly is the only One who can meet all my needs. It's sort of a paradox--I need Him and only Him, but I also need others in my life to be able to fully experience all that He is; to deepen my relationship with Him, it takes relationships with other people too. And, I also know that you can't find a perfect church--certainly not the first time out. Thus, the eagerness and the hesitancy.

All that to lead up to the church we visited today. They have two services each Sunday and they meet in a strip mall space. Their website (our only means of info about them prior to this morning) talks a lot about welcoming visitors. And, they did just that. People seemed very nice and they were eager to meet us (have you ever been in a church where everyone ignored you? Yeah, we're not the kind of folks who really want to melt in. We want to meet people.) The worship seemed to be really worshipping God and it was easy to enter in. The message was interesting because in it the pastor basically laid out the values of the church--a good thing for visitors to hear! Which, in a word, would be people. You could hear the kids in the next room participating in their lesson and probably actually learning something. When I picked up the kids from their class, the teacher said she'd loved having Punk and Pea and that they were delightful children. Over lunch, I asked Punk what they did in class today and he told me how every kid got to play a musical instrument and his was tambourine. They showed him how to play it and even give it a toss and catch it! He told me about some of the other kids' instruments and how they all played together to praise Jesus. It's the first time I've ever gotten a real answer to that question! Several people asked about Pea's story and half of them even said, "I've always wanted to adopt!" One asked some really good questions and then gave me her phone number. Another gal who's going to the mission field in South America in two months said she'd love to help us get settled here by babysitting for free, if we needed her.

Over lunch, A and I talked about it and we think we're going to try this place for a month before actually committing, but that we feel pretty good about it. We're going to try to check out the small group situation and try to talk to some of the people outside of church-time. I'm still longing for a group of women I can connect with and study the Bible with, but I'm willing to look outside our "family" church for that. So, things are looking good on this horizon. Like I said, we're not jumping in whole hog just yet, but it would certainly be an answer to our prayers if we could get plugged in so quickly. I'm feeling more hopeful and less hesitant...

If you are of the praying sort, please continue to pray with us about this decision. Thanks!

2 comments:

Tanya said...

Glad you had a good first experience. Can't wait to read "episode 2" :)

Carolyn said...

I know what you mean about finding a church home. We've been in limbo since December. Hopefully things are settling down for both our families.

My Man and Me

My Man and Me
married 7/7/2001

Punk

Punk
ours through biology, born 7/25/2004, home 8/1/2004

Pea

Pea
ours through adoption from Liberia, West Africa, born 7/15/2005, home 10/25/2007

Pup

Pup
ours through domestic adoption, born 1/15/2011, home 2/10/2011, final 8/3/2011

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Round Two Timeline

  • 9/24/08 Home study update home visit for Ghana adoption
  • 10/15/08 Dossier sent to AOHG
  • 10/15/08 I600A application sent to USCIS
  • 10/30/08 First heard about possible domestic private adoption
  • 11/18/08 Last spoke with contact about possible domestic adoption; expected to hear back about meeting with birthmother
  • 12/3/08 Withdrew application from AOHG
  • 1/6/09 Found out another family had been chosen for possible domestic adoption
  • 1/21/09 USCIS fingerprinting appointment
  • 1/8/09 Received USCIS fingerprinting appointment notice
  • 4/11/09 Sent Pre-Application to Covenant Care Adoptions for Domestic Infant Adoption program
  • 6/8/09 Social worker visit to update home study from International to Domestic
  • 7/24/09 Received completed home study update
  • 8/25/09 Went "on the list" for birthfamilies to choose from
  • 4/28/10 Found out a birth mom had chosen us
  • 5/8/10 Met the birth mom
  • 5/11/10 Got the call that birth mom changed her mind
  • 5/19/10 Birth mom's scheduled c-section
  • 11/30/10 Visit from DSS sw about foster parenting
  • 11/30/10 Got the call that another birth mom had chosen us
  • 12/21/10 Met with the birth mom
  • 1/15/11 @1:42 PM BB was born!
  • 1/19/11 ICPC (interstate) paperwork sent to GA for approval
  • 1/31/11 ICPC Clearance Approved
  • 2/10/11 Placement Ceremony and Pup comes home!!!!
  • 8/3/11 It's Official! Pup's Adoption Decree was issued