I had a light bulb moment today.
Our usual routine is to be up in Washington on the weekends, but this weekend brought us back to town for a birthday party on Saturday night. We were looking forward to this weekend because not only did we get to connect with our friends on Saturday, but it meant we would be able to attend our church this morning.
For the past 11 years, we have attended the same church. It's a place where I have heard truth, knelt in prayer, wept in repentance, felt mercy poured out on me. The people of this church have brought me food when I was in the hospital delivering a baby, encouraged me when I was heartbroken, loved and prayed over both my daughters. I have stood on the stage of this church as my babies--and our roles as new parents--were dedicated to the Lord.
Whenever we drive past our church, Sydney is faithful to call out, "There's our church!" and she and Jules cheer wildly. I do too.
Now, however, with us spending our weekends 70 miles away, we have started the search for a new church. We have to remember that there is no church exactly like the one we're coming from, with friends and memories already built in. Our search hasn't been too painful. Already, we have plans to revisit one that seemed like a good fit, and where we were blessed to be sitting by a kind and encouraging heart (Hi Tamara!).
Searching is hard work, though, especially since we come from a place that we love. Some Sundays I feel like looking for a new church is like looking for a new dentist, except that one tends to the teeth, while the other tends to the soul. It's all a bit nerve wracking, and you don't want to commit without knowing how they handle their responsibilities, particularly since the effects can be quite noticeable.
What was not so noticeable to me, until this morning, is how much I rely on Sundays. Sure, my faith is not limited to a church experience, nor do I believe that God is contained to a building. Even still, I need Sundays. I need to hear the strains of music lifted to the heavens, the thoughtful words from our pastor, the familiar faces greeting us at the door. My soul was starving for that connection, and as I look back over the past month I can see how the hunger pangs were evident.
When I walked through the sanctuary doors this morning, the light bulb lit: the feeling of relief, the lightness of step, the release of tension from my shoulders. The pangs subsided, and peace filled my heart. This is what I had been missing from the last four weeks.
I am confident we will find a church in Washington. Until we do, I am so thankful we have a place where we can return and feel at home.