Monday, November 23, 2009

things i'm thankful for, part one


In this, the week before Thanksgiving, I am particularly reminded of how much I have to be grateful for.

I think about it and my eyes well up and I’m rendered speechless.

We have learned {are still learning} that a thankful heart doesn’t just come from getting everything we want.

We have learned that sometimes, how we cultivate the most thankfulness is when we truly look around and as cheesy as it sounds, can count our blessings.

We really don't have to look far to name numerous things that fill our cups, which leads me to one thing I am thankful for this week...

About three or so months ago we stumbled upon a new church. After leaving our old one due to some obvious differences we spent about a month going nowhere. It was the detox we needed to start another church hunt. We knew from past experiences that this is neither a fun nor an easy process and this time proved it proved to be right once again. We spent the next month or two trying out churches around our neighborhood, most to no avail. We left each one feeling bored, frustrated, annoyed and uninspired.

As we began to make a list of other churches to try, getting further from our home, my friend {Kate} emailed me. She had read about a church online in our relative area as she and her family were looking for a new church themselves in Dayton.

Needless to say, we decided to check it out the following Sunday. It wasn’t exactly located in our neighborhood, but across town on the West side. After the 30 minute drive we pulled up to the school that they rented out on Sunday mornings. We walked in and were not immediately bombarded by people like we had been at some churches. That was kind of nice.

It was a small church and very casual. We sat down and a few minutes later, a girl about my age with an adorable blonde-haired, blue-eyed baby sat down next to me and introduced herself. She was so nice – and unlike many of the churches we’d visited, she seemed so normal and down-to-earth. While we were still talking the music started and church began.

The service was simple, but moving.

After church we met a few other young couples that also came from the East side. They asked us if we wanted to grab lunch back in our neck of the woods – so we went to Tommy’s in Coventry. We left feeling hopeful that this could be the place for us. It felt like we had been there for years. Conversations were easy and we had a good feeling.

And now, a few months later, as far as we can tell, we think this is the place for us. We’ve met some genuinely nice people and we leave on a weekly basis feeling challenged and refreshed.

Which leads me to yesterday. We were invited to lunch over at the pastor’s house. Now, we’ve been friends with a few of our former pastors, which may or may not have been the downfall of our church relationships. We often knew far too much of the workings of the church and in the end, they failed us, like humans are known to do.

So, you could see our apprehension for getting to know another pastor and his family.

Imagine our surprise when the afternoon led to a lunch that lasted nearly to dinner. We sat around eating pizza and salad and talking until the clock approached 5pm. We got to know each other, laughed, told stories and genuinely had a great time. They had invited a few other people from the church that they thought we’d get along with – which we did, it was a pleasant way to spend a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

They were just normal people, people who never thought they’d be the pastors of a church one day. They weren’t uptight and didn’t act holier-than-thou. They made jokes and were sarcastic, yet when it came down to it, we could tell they cared about each other and genuinely cared about getting to know us too.

We drove home in that wound-up/exhausted state that usually accompanies a conversation that lasts hours. And as the sun set on the highway behind us, we both knew that this was our new church home.

It is different than anywhere we’ve ever been. The people are normal, not pretentious or odd. They have been open about the problems that accompany them in real life, which in turn, makes us open about ours. And it doesn’t feel weird or forced, it feels natural and right.

And that is one of the things I am thankful for this week.


Amie said...

you are so lucky and so blessed! I was excited just reading this! How awesome this was such a wonderful day.

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