Can I just tell ya'll how much I LOVE going to church. I told the Captain this exact same thing as we were crawling into bed last night..."Tomorrow is church! I love going to church!"
The reasons for this statement of fact is many-fold...most reasons I know, but I am sure there are some reasons that even I overlook and take for granted most of the time.
Andy and his family have been going to our church since he was a little boy. I started attending when I was in middle school (the age everybody looks back on with fond memories!) He is slightly older than I...so he was in the super-cool high school class and therefore we did not meet or really know each other until much later.
I met some of my best friends in this church...friends who are still my best friends and I still talk to once or twice a week...if not more. I know I am in a minority to have made friends when I was just a child who are still my closest friends... God knew what I needed. He knew when my life would get, ummm, difficult, I would find comfort with people who have known me since tight-rolled pants...(Hey! don't judge, I am sure you did it too!)
I became a born-again believer in this church, was baptised in this church...and then later re-dedicated my life to Christ in this church. My family has grown and become stronger, more knowledgeable Christians in this church.
I really started to study the bible and who God and Jesus really were/are/will forever be in this church. I have struggled with who I am compared to who He is. I have learned that I will always come up short. I have learned that He is always there to pull me through with His strength when I am ready to give up. I have been challenged, molded, lead and accepted in this church.
I started dating the Captain while attending this church....it is something interesting when you date a man and spend Sunday mornings with him, your parents, his parents and everyone else you know...all staring at you wondering....are they going to make it?
I was married in this church. A great day, magical really. Not because it was the most wonderful ceremony in the history of mankind...but because it was mine. It was also the only wedding I have ever attended where EVERYONE knew one another...I mean all of our friends were mutual and our families all knew each other for years...great stuff.
I was able to go into this church and flutter around one Sunday and tell everyone I was going to have a baby. She was loved and highly anticipated long before she graced us with her presence. I was showered with gifts and hugs, belly rubs and love by all my "mom's" and Caden's "grandma's".
This church is the first place Andy and I went the day after sweet Caden died. I went in and collapsed in front of the cross (that my daddy built years before) and cried out to God in the empty sanctuary.
We held Caden's memorial service in this church. They held us in safe, soft, loving hands as we said goodbye to our baby girl. We went the very next day to Sunday service in this church...and it felt right, even thought mere hours ago we forever gave up our baby to God in the very same room.
We were able to share of God's provision and blessing in the news of our second child in this church. We were met with hugs, high-fives and tears. There was much rejoicing and praise to the One who deserves it all.
When the captain had his seizure and was in the ER. It was our church that filled the ER waiting room. (about 20 or so of them!) And it was our church who visited after we received the news of the tumor later that day.
It was in this church that the night before Andy's surgery we met for prayer...about 70-80 people, all praying for the Captain and his upcoming surgery.
It was this church that came and sat, and waited and stayed while the surgery was underway...it was this church that visited and brought food and encouragement and more prayer to us after the surgery was over.
It was in this church that I sat this morning and raised my voice in Prayer and Praise to God. This morning was a typical morning, I laughed, I cried (there is this cute baby girl who, for some reason reminds me of mine..she does not even look like Caden, but there is something in her face...anyway I started crying when I saw her, so Cristi, naturally hugged me and told me she thought the little girl looked like a hugabunch...remember those from our childhood? So then I laughed and talked about my hugabunch and the hugabunch movie which you can find...NOWHERE!...anyhoo, I digress)
It was in this church, that just this morning, I felt like I was home. Because in all reality...this church, exuding everything I have said above as well as with all of its shortcomings, and flawed people...is my family.