Friday, March 1, 2013

Finding our Soul Mate

Our family has been together in Massachusetts for 3 months now.
That is roughly 12 Sundays.
Twelve Sundays without a church to call home. 
It's been frustrating, stressful, and discouraging.
I never knew that finding a church to call "home" would feel like the search for my soul mate.
I moved out here with such high expectations for a church because my church in Orange County was so amazingly awesome, and I was also saved there.
Maybe God made it super easy for me to find a church when I was in Cali, because I was much more of a "broken soul" back there, and my soul needed to be in a church ASAP.
I've lived up and down Southern California (from San Diego to Oceanside to Orange County), and I have NEVER had a problem finding a church.
I didn't think much of it when we moved out here to the east coast. 
I figured I'd do a Google search (the way I found every single church I've ever attended in my adult life), and our family would just slide right into a church family....


I went through pages and pages of Google looking and browsing through different church websites, and I was disappointed 80% of the time.
While I won't go into great detail, a lot of the churches out here are extremely liberal and have skewed their biblical views to make mainstream society happy.
In fact, one of the churches I looked at (that stated on their website that they were Christians) had gone so far off the path of the bible, that they were studying other religions and other books as well!
Their view was something along the lines of how "all religions can come together and be in harmony"....I didn't get it either, and if you're a Christian reading this, it makes no sense.
It was just disappointment after disappointment.
I did find two churches that looked promising, and we decided to check them out.
So, here's one of our experiences...
**prepare to do some reading**

The first Sunday we went to a church out here, my stomach was in knots and I felt like the new kid going to a new school...totally like a fish out of water, and to be honest, I was kind of dreading it.
As our family entered the building, everyone was so friendly and welcoming (actually, I've never been to a church where people aren't friendly and welcoming).
I started asking around about their Sunday school program for Dannika, and I was informed that the children participate in the worship service with the adults first and then they are dismissed to their respective Sunday schools.
That was a little different than what we were used to, but I went with the flow and our family sat down towards the back (in case we needed to make an
When the worship service started, it started just like any other church we had been to.
Everyone stood up and began singing while the words to the songs were put on a big screen behind the church band.
Dannika had never been in an adult worship service with us, so I think she was in awe (or maybe shock).
Several songs (and a couple prayers) into the worship, things just got strange.
People started taking their shoes off and doing some sort of interpretive dance moves around the church, people were screaming at the top of their lungs, and lots of crying was happening.
(This is the part that freaked Dannika out.)
I picked up my program to see the schedule of worship, because Dannika was starting to get restless.
I realized that the worship service at this church was an hour long, the actual sermon was an hour and a half long, and Sunday school was 30 minutes longer than the adult sermon!
That's a three hour long church service!
I tried really hard to be respectful, but I felt like I was in some sort of Christian circus, and by the look on Nick's face, he looked like he was going to burst out in laughter at any moment. 
I couldn't hold my laughter in any longer when I looked up front, and I saw a man waving a big blue (or maybe it was purplse?) flag back and forth with his eyes closed (and still singing).
Then he started running around the room with it like he was doing a lap with the torch at the Olympics.
I looked over at Nick, and we both gave each other "the nod".
I think we high tailed it out of there faster than the length of a knife fight in a phone booth.
We laughed hysterically all the way to the parking lot, and ended up taking Dannika to go see "Wreck It Ralph" at the movie theater instead. 
I honestly believe that the church meant well, and it just had a different style of worship and praise than what our family was expecting.
It was just so hard for us to focus, and truly get the experience that we wanted out of a church.
Like I said, I'm a strong believer that if you can not feel comfortable at a church, it'll stunt your growth in your relationship with God.
I always have felt that a church should feel like a second home and a sanctuary, and that church did not make me feel that way.

I think Nick and I were so traumatized by our experience at this first church, it made us even more discouraged about finding a home church.
We tried out another church the following Sunday, and they did not have a very well established Sunday school program for Dannika.
That was a deal breaker for me, on top of the fact that I felt their worship service a little "old fashioned", and I felt like I was 6 years old sitting at my grandpa's church in South Louisiana.

Our family gave up, and I even contemplated just listening to podcasts every Sunday from my old church.
The cruddy weather didn't really motivate us to "get out there" and check out some more churches either.

I had horrible insomnia last night, and I stayed up browsing Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram on my IPhone.
I put my phone down to try and get some sleep, and said a little prayer to God asking that our family get out of this rut and for help to find a church.
Of course, I still couldn't fall asleep, so I picked up my phone and decided I would Google some churches in the surrounding areas (I've become a little more familiar with the area I live in).
And there it was!
The VERY FIRST church that popped up on my Google search.
How could I have missed this church in my million other Google searches?!
I really feel that God had a purpose for my lack of sleep last night, and he answered my prayers (along with my family and my church family back in California who have been praying for us).
It's the first church I've looked at online since moving out here that I have been genuinely excited about going to.
I woke up Nick up in the middle of the night to share my excitement (he wasn't too happy to be woken up and he was incoherent).

I know we haven't actually physically gone to this church yet, but something inside of me tells me that this is the one!
It almost feels like the way I did when I first met Nick.
I knew he was the one before I even fell in love with him!

Lots of prayers for us please!
I'm really excited to share our experience this Sunday, and hopefully this feeling I have is right!

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