Prior to this time, Mike and I had begun looking for a new church home. This was not easy for me. I was happy at my church. I was comfortable, and by comfortable I mean I could sing when I wanted and then be lost in the crowd the rest of the time. I was not challenged by this church, but I learned things... when we went. Mike was not so content there. Actually, he didn't like it at all. He wasn't challenged. He didn't learn anything... and he was done. Now I want you to know this is NOT a bad church... I liked the people there, I enjoyed my time there, I had been a youth there, but it was not our church home. I refused to go to his church... it was too much for me, I was intimidated there. COMPLETELY uncomfortable. So, there we were. Fighting it out because I'm hard headed and was afraid of change. He was right of course. [I hope he doesn't read these posts and start to realize just how many times he really is right. ;) ha ha]. So there I was. Pregnant and irritated that we now had to go on this search for a church. We visited one church in the area... were lukewarm about it. It wasn't bad. It wasn't overwhelmingly fantastic either... but what church was? Or so I thought.
My best friend suggested we visit the church they were visiting. Centerpoint. Okay, why not? We'll give it a shot, even though it's much more of a drive for us to get there than any of our neighborhood churches. We walk in... and this was not like any church I had ever been to. Everyone was smiling, relaxed... it was all so casual and friendly, I mean genuinely friendly... then the band started. Man, they were good. After one song the message began... okay, that was a little out of whack for me. The moment Louis began talking I saw Mike's eyes light up... then he leaned forward... then he was smiling. Then I was smiling. I had never heard anyone preach like that. Completely from the Bible. No side stories... no "examples" except a quip here and there. This was my first experience of true Biblical teaching. This is the word... and this is what it means... and this is how it pertains to you. Whoa. A full blown explanation of the text, not one verse was skipped in the passage. This was way above my head. I learned more in that one day than I had in months. The music came again at the end... "there's really some talent here" I thought. I get lost in the music. I love the music. Music is what makes my heart sing... I would PAY to see these people perform... where did they FIND these people?! I was intimidated and in awe of their talent at the same time... and I loved it. We were definitely not lost in the crowd here. Louis walked up to us immediately after the service and said "hey! I've never seen you guys before! How are you? Where ya from?" It was like talking to a friend.... Yep, this was absolutely unlike any church I had ever been to.
The next Sunday we got up, "where should we go?" we asked one another... we had the same idea... I dunno, let's just go back to the place we went last time... and we did. And we were sold.
Then the miscarriage happened. While we were in Nashville I got a text from Kim, the church wanted to pray for us but wanted to make sure it was okay with us first. At the time I didn't think much of it... did they really have to ask? It was strange to me... but we said yeah, sure. I mean we could use all the prayer we could get right?
Fast forward a few weeks...
When I finally felt up to it, we decided to go back to church. We were already sold on Centerpoint so there were no longer any discussions about where we would go. I was so nervous on the drive there... scared... I didn't want to face these people I didn't know. They all knew about our loss. I was okay with them knowing... but honestly I didn't want the pity that I just knew was sure to come. We walked in. No one treated us any differently. Sigh of relief. We listened to the message... Okay, Mike listened to the message... I kept stealing glances at the pregnant girl on the other side of the room wondering what it would feel like to have that big beautiful baby belly. I did however pay attention to the beautiful music... and the beautiful lyrics. God loved me. Regardless of what I've done.
Once the service was over a few people began to come up to me giving me their apologies. Up to now, other than the people close in my life, apologies felt empty. But these... these were different. These STRANGERS actually cared. I could see it in their eyes. There was no pity there... They looked at me as if they loved me and they empathized with me. I thought it was so bizarre... I mean what was I to them?! They didn't even know me! And if they did... they most likely wouldn't love me! I was in shock. And then I met Leah. This beautiful woman my age came up to me. "I know how you feel. I've had two miscarriages." I could feel the lump in my throat looking into her eyes. She knew how I felt. She knew. I wanted to fall into her arms right there, but I didn't. I was so encouraged by her... she told me there were several people there that had this experience and that I was not alone. I was not alone in this room. We spoke for a while... She said if I needed anything I could talk to her. It would take me a while to open up to her... but eventually I would come to cherish this woman... all of these women. One day I would love them all as they loved me.
I went home mesmerized... completely. Overwhelmed by the love that had been poured out to us, with no expectation of anything in return. How could these people love so easily. How could these people love me so easily... How can GOD love me, was it really that easy? To love? To be loved? To accept someone so freely?
The answer is of course- YES ...
I still wasn't there yet... but I was one step closer.
I did know one thing for sure... this place, this church... these people... It felt like coming home. We were home. This was our church home... and these people would be our family.