Thursday, June 25, 2015

A New Place to Call Home

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No, I am not buying a new house. (Although that would be so nice...)

I'm talking about a "church home".

First a little background.

I have been a wanderer in regards to churches. After I left the church at which I met Michael, it took me several years to get over some hurt I'd experienced there, and to even want to go to church again. At that point the Lord led me to a church that felt enough like my former church so that I immediately felt comfortable. I ended up attending there for several years and became involved in a fledgling singles ministry and the music ministry. It was what I needed at the time.

I wasn't dissatisfied with that church, but when Cottonwood opened in it's current location in 2008, I noticed that their services included Wednesday night. I had always loved Wednesday night church, and the church I was attending did not have a midweek service. So initially, I only walked into Cottonwood wanting a midweek service to attend.

My first visit to Cottonwood was a bit of an eyeopener. What I remember the most was that EVERYONE had their Bibles with them, and many even had notebooks, highlighters, and pens. The congregation was serious about God's Word, and so was Pastor Bayless. I was a little embarrassed because I hadn't taken my Bible to church since I was a kid, and I rarely read it. I don't really remember the topic of study that night, but whatever it was, I liked it.

The next time I went to church, I took my Bible! I couldn't believe how much I didn't know, and how much there was to know. I was hooked. My growing knowledge of God's Word and His nature really helped during our struggle with infertility, and eventually Michael's illness and death. It was Pastor Ray (from Cottonwood) who witnessed to Michael and led him to make a decision for Christ.

I love Cottonwood. I love the warmth of the people there. I love the pastors. I love the music. I love the teaching.

However, Cottonwood is a mega-church. It is very, very large. As I looked ahead, I was concerned that Michaela would be overwhelmed by the size of the Sunday School and youth groups, and that she wouldn't have a strong connection to the kids and leaders in those groups.

So earlier this year, we visited a couple of churches close to home. The first one was just too small, but the second one was just right - large, but not gigantic. It was the very same church where I had attended GriefShare after Michael passed. I liked that the pastor(s) taught from the Bible as much as Pastor Bayless did, and I liked that the Sunday School (even for three-year olds) included a Bible time. While the church facilities are older than the other churches I've attended in the past, it reminds me of the church I grew up in and I like that feeling. There are many opportunities for involvement that fit Michaela and me, and our schedules.

I signed up to volunteer at VBS this week in hopes that we'd both make some connections, and that the Lord would confirm that this is the right place for us to be. The people I've interacted with this week have been so welcoming and inclusive. This morning, I was reintroduced to a woman who had been in my GriefShare group back in 2010. I didn't recognize her (she's lost 80 pounds!), but she remembered me and my story. Everyone has been very gracious. Volunteering has helped me learn the campus, and not get lost in the hallways. Ha! That is a big part of feeling at home, though.

So, I'm happy to say that it appears that we have found our church home. I hope that we will both be spiritually led and fed, and that we'll develop some lasting friendships.


  1. I am so happy that you and Michaela have found a new home where you can grow together in Gods love. I haven't been commenting as your blog no longer loads for me ...grrrr. Well it does but it takes about an hour??

    1. Dawn, that is so strange. I wonder why? Thanks for waiting it out this time and leaving your comment. :)

  2. Hi! I was thinking about you all during church were really on my heart. I was listening to our Pastor preaching about some of the most recent events and recalling your question awhile back where you asked how many Pastors were preaching about......(fill in current topic). He was also talking about how going to church should be joyful and something you want to do because you want to be surrounded by others who love Jesus. It is not an obligation, rather a way to worship and share with others. We do go to a mega seats about 2,000 in theater style seating. It is a Bible church. I am guessing Cottonwood is even bigger. I can totally understand your wish for Michaela and you to be in a place a bit smaller where you and she can feel more connection. I am so happy it sounds like you've found that in this new church home!! Praise!! (and, I do have to agree with the above commenter....your blog now takes over 15 minutes to load. I thought it was just me!!) I am not sure why?!!! Big hugs to you, my friend!

  3. Hi, Sarah! The pastor at my new church addressed current events with grace and love and truth yesterday - and I was really pleased to hear the things he said. He is currently teaching verse-by-verse through Acts. I had started a Bible study on Acts the summer after Michaela was born, but never finished it. So, I'm really enjoying this series. There's a Bible study starting next week on Wednesday evenings, and I'm going to participate in that. In the past, these things would happen at times that I was working. This church has a schedule that works for me. :)

    I will try to figure out what's going on with the blog. Maybe Faith will be able to help, too.

  4. I just used something called Stopwatch, and it took 16 seconds to load. I have limited the number of posts to five so that there's less content to load. Let me know if you notice an improvement.

  5. Hi!! I was off my computer for the last few days but checking back in this evening. The blog loaded faster this makes me really happy to read about how you can participate in the Bible Study and have it where it works with your schedule. It is really important to find the fit, feel AND the schedule - all to help us grow in our faith life.

    I cannot believe the 4th is over and we are 50% through summer. The local stores are starting to put out school supplies and I just want to cry. Big hugs to you!!

    1. Sarah, I started splitting my posts so that the reader would have to choose "read more" in order to see the full post. Perhaps having less content on the front page will make the blog load faster?

      I don't report back until September 3rd this year, so we are not as far into our summer as you are. I am thinking about school a lot, though. I've got a new classroom to decorate - kind of overwhelming and exciting!


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