Monday, April 1, 2013

Out In The Great Wide Open.

Under the skies so blue.

Yesterday we experienced the greatest Easter weather of our lives.  It was warm to the point of wearing shorts and tank tops.  And there was not a drop of rain to be had.

We tried a new church this weekend.  We joined them in their Good Friday service as well as their Easter service.  I will have to humbly admit that I had resigned my self in thinking we may not go to church this Sunday.  I dreaded the idea of visiting a church for the first time on Easter Sunday because my experience of being in church leadership has jaded me.  It was pride too I suppose.  I didn't want to appear as a Easter Christmas attender.  I loathe the idea of being someone's charity case or outreach opportunity and really I am so incredibly exhausted over the idea of church hunting.  The must ironic part of this statement is that it sounds as if I am the perfect subject to be someone's outreach opportunity my heart was so not in the right place entering this weekend.

I am once again beyond blessed to have a God that loves me despite my own misgivings, my own hang ups and sins.  We have been blessed by others in our journey to this side of the mountains.  Not only from the people we have left behind but with new friends as well. We have become friends with two other couples, the moms I met through our homeschool program.  They are wonderful Christian couples with imperfect children and loving relationships. The bond with them happened quickly and they have blessed us beyond with friendship and connection and a sense of belonging.

Hang on with me I am coming back to church and I promise this will all tie together.

When we first started looking for a new church here we chatted about what we were looking for, what we wanted for our little family, what we felt God wanted for us, and how involved we thought we would get. In the process we have experienced a church we could have been comfortable attending but never would have been able to be connected, a church that was operating on a completely different wavelength, a church with lots of rules but no love and everything else that resembles a poor fit for us.  Its been frustrating, its brought tears, its brought discussion, its been the root of my homesickness at times and it has brought much longing. 

Now back to the friends.

One of the couples is part of a church here that is missional.  It just so happens that was the number 1 thing Brian and I were looking for in a church.  It was #1 on our list.  We know that our time here in Spokane is probably going to be short and we want to serve as much as we can while we are here.  We want to connect through God using us here with others that belong to Spokane.  We know we can't make large commitments or fill callings because of our projected outlook of our time here but we can serve, we can be worker bees, we can connect.....we can work for God. And in doing this we will be fulfilling our own callings. 

This church has small groups throughout the city called missional communities they are not only filled with members of the church but they are used for outreach in the community as well.  They are filled with believers and people that are on the fence.  Together they all work through the same Bible study each week and then they talk through it.  They usually share a meal, there are kids running around like wild Indians and people are not only enjoying each other but they are learning and loving God through it all.  It is quite beautiful!  It is quite wonderful.  And God is it using it for his glory. 

So we tried their church this weekend.  On the weekend that marks the whole reason I can call Jesus my Savior.  And although I was apprehensive and at first I felt as if I were invading on this intimate and lovely family experience, I soon saw that this is a group a people that are loving each other not only for their likeness but I believe their differences as well.  We met more people on this past Sunday then we have met at any of the other churches combined.  We had invitations for lunch, shared phone numbers and connections made with people that I believe we could create relationships with.  It was refreshing.

I stood in that church singing Nothing But The Blood yesterday morning, surrounded by complete strangers and felt for the first time since we have been here that we could be home.  Tears streamed down my cheeks, my hands fell outstretched from my sides and thanked God for loving me enough to send His son to die for me.  For me that doubts, for me that lacks faith, for me that turns my back, for me that refuses to pray some times, for me that falls short, for me that forgets to be thankful in all times, in all things.  This past six months have been a testament of His love for me, of His never ending care and provision, for His plan for my little family.  Never once has he left us and not one piece of it could I claim for my own doing, it has been apparent that this journey belongs to Him as does all of my life.

We finished our day off by spending some time in His creation.  We took a hike through our new favorite outdoor space...Bowl and Pitcher near the river here in Spokane.  It is a different kind of beauty than what we have on the west side.  Everything looks foreign yet the same.  Different because if the surroundings, the trees look different, the sky looks different, even the rocks look different, yet it all looks the same to me because of my knowledge in who made it all.  We shared our time with our new friends and their children, we experienced bumps and bruises, blood and tears, laughter and play, but most of all I enjoyed the idea that God is still growing me.....still creating something new for me, through me, around me and in me.  His love and sacrifice surround me everyday, yet it is not held against me rather its only used to love me more.

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