After searching for what feels like forever, I believe I have found my new church home! … or at least, my new Sunday School group, anyway. If you’ve read some of my blogs, you may know that I’ve been in a search for a new church home because I moved from Atlanta back home to the Nashville area a little over a year ago. This hasn’t been easy, but when God puts things together, they usually stick. At least for as long as He wants them to.
The journey to come to this church started almost a year ago when I decided that I really needed to go to the Priscilla Shirer simulcast. It was an urging to go that couldn’t have come from anywhere else but the Lord. Primarily, because to go, I would be going on my own to a new place, where I knew no one. (Which isn’t easy since that’s stepping outside my comfort zone.) So, I made my reservation and showed up that Saturday. When I was pulling into the parking lot, I noticed a woman getting out of her car and walking up to the building. Somehow, I just knew that she would figure into my day.
Turns out that….well, let’s be honest here, I followed her to her table and asked if I could sit beside her. She said I could, so I plopped my things down and that’s how and where I met my first new best friend after moving back home. Because there’s a bit of distance between us geographically, the last 10 months have been a relatively slow time of us getting to know each other. But we both felt that meeting each other was one of the reasons we had been led to come to the simulcast. (That and the fact that pretty much everything Priscilla said that day was directed at the two of us.) The Lord knew that we needed each other. And, as always, He was right. We just hit it off, and Janet has been quite the blessing.
The fact that the Lord has led me back to a Baptist church, instead of an Inter- or Nondenominational church is a bit of a surprise. But, I grew up in a Southern Baptist church, so, it is, I guess, like an old glove. It’s a comfortable fit. I wasn’t convinced by the services that this was where I was supposed to be. The church is searching for a permanent pastor, and, they don’t give an invitation at the end of each service like we used to do. There’s not even any mention of ‘if you have any questions, the pastor, (or a pastoral team), will be at the back to answer them’ kind of thing. That bothers me. Oh, after being there for a month or so, though, I did see it mentioned in the bulletin. I don’t know…it still bothers me. But I knew as soon as I went into the Sunday School class, that I felt comfortable. A ‘fun fact’ about my class is that the woman who teaches it is the same woman who taught me in Sunday School when I was in 5th grade! So, yeah, it was almost like coming home.
It has taken me several months, though, to start feeling like I really fit in. But, until the last few weeks, I wasn’t really able – or willing? – to go to any of the outside activities that they’d had. I had gone to a Women’s Dinner a few months ago, where I got to know a few of the ladies a bit better. But it was an organized event that was pretty loud and hard to hear too much across the table. (We all know what 200+ women in a large room sounds like, right?) 🙂 But, it was a start.
In the last week, though, I have been to two events. The first was a fun night of dinner and an enlightening game of Apples to Apples! Until last Friday night, I didn’t really realize just how much I had missed having, and being around, so many “girlfriends”. As we all sat around the large dining room table eating, it hit me just how much this new group of ladies meant to me. And how good it felt to be a part of the group. For me, it was a new beginning, a new adventure, and definitely a new learning experience. Each woman is so very special and I can’t wait to learn her story.
The other class gathering was the bible study group. This, too, is something I’ve really missed. Back in Georgia, I had a wonderful bible study group. We learned so much together. So, here was another chance to delve into the bible and learn more about it, as well as the women who came to the study.
Just by feeling like I belong, this new group of women has brought back the spark of learning that has been missing almost since leaving Georgia. It’s something I’ve missed so terribly. It’s hard to foster something like that on your own. Sure, you can read books, watch and listen to pastors on tv or online. But there is no replacement for fellowship. None. You can’t get a hug from a book or from your computer. You can learn things from either of those, but the physical interaction of talking about ideas, telling your experiences and listening to others’…. there’s just nothing like it! It’s exciting!
Do you have a church home? A Sunday School group you’re a part of? Oh, if not, I urge you to find one. It’s not always the easiest thing to find and you may have to push yourself to become a part of one. But, in the end, I think you’ll be so glad you did. There’s just nothing like a caring group of women.