Thankful Thursday: Church Home

6:00 AM

For the past year I have felt pretty spoiled. This is not because of extra purchases I have made or received or anything like that. I have felt extraordinarily blessed because of the church home I've become a part of.

When we first moved to our little mountain town, I had some trouble making friends and finding a niche. The first thing we did was visit a local church, and I adored the music, admired the preaching, and thought it could be a really good fit. But when I started trying to contact teams/ministers about getting involved (small group, worship team, you name it), I didn't hear back from anyone. And that's not an exaggeration. I e-mailed several people, tried calling the offices... nothing. I didn't hear back. And though we had met one other couple who was due with baby #1 just like we were, they were also more than ten years older than us. People we became acquainted with seemed to talk down to us and treat us like children, as though we were one of those families. And I must confess, it made me really angry. Going to church became harder and harder, and we made more and more excuses.

Fast forward a year. Michael did a month of preschool and we made one awesome couple-friend who invited us to another church. With Clark's job changing and him being gone much more, I knew I needed to find something more to do. After all, my one local friend had a full-time job and a little girl Michael's age. She wasn't going to be available 24/7. I needed more.

I went to church with my friend two weeks in a row. The next week she invited me again, but then ended up not going because she didn't feel good. I went anyway, and even ventured to the front of the church after the service to talk to the music director. That evening, I e-mailed about small groups and got a response within 24 hours. I registered for the women's Bible study starting in January. I was overwhelmed with the Holy Spirit moving me, and just knew that this was going to be home.

When I started the women's Bible study, I was extraordinarily nervous. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know if there were going to be any women my age. I didn't know if I was going to enjoy going, or end up making excuses to skip out and continue being miserable. I had no idea.

But now, almost a year later, I'm still going. And over the summer when there was a break, the young moms in the group made sure to meet up as many times as possible to keep our friendship, fellowship, and encouragement going.

Only two of the amazing women I have met are pictured, but there are at least three other young moms and a countless number of other women who I have grown to love and cherish. Not only the women from the Bible study, but the praise team members I have served with and everyone else at the church who has welcomed me in countless ways... I always feel so overwhelmed when I think of my church.

Finding a church that is right for you is so important for your relationship with Christ. Without fellowship and other Christians to lean on... well, take it from someone who was there for a long time-- it sucks. I find I worry less and praise more these days, and isn't that how it's supposed to be?

This Thursday, I am thankful for my personal church home and for all churches that truly have open doors, hearts, and arms for new members. What are you thankful for?

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