4/24/14

We Went to Church!!!

I went to church.

Let me rephrase that… I WENT TO CHURCH!!!!

Okay, WE went to church. Haha.

Wait, let me get this right... WE WENT TO CHURCH!!!!

If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you’ll know why that’s such a big deal to me. If you are new - first of all welcome - it’s a big deal because I have been yearning to go back to church for quite some time now. To spare everyone a repeat of all the details, you can catch up here if need be.

Our friends Cayla and Brandon moved back to the Lou from Florida recently. They came back for multiple reasons, but the main being that they are going to start a church in the city. I’m fuzzy on the details, but the main point to this is that they are back, and wherever they are, is where I want to be. Okay, that sounds so funny to me now. I should clarify. I say that I want to be where they are because I had no idea where Gene and I (and Emma) would fit in since we are not from the same religious background. I was so confused that I just put it off and we never went as a couple or as a family. I always knew that our best bet in finding a church home would be to follow the Smothermans. And they’re back, so we can!

So, with their invitation, we went to their church on Easter Sunday. August Gate.

August Gate (South City) is not in a well-known area to most. Some may even say that it’s not in the friendliest area – although the area is very updated and recently built-up, so yes, it is “friendly.” But, when you drive up, it is BEAUTIFUL! Seriously, in the middle, of a random neighborhood, you’re just driving along and there it is, in all its glory. Lol. I sound so sappy. But looking back now, I may have heard the choir sing as the sun was hitting it. “Aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh.” Haha. I laugh, but it’s no joke. It was magical. I wish that there were pictures on their website because just the outside is inviting. Even the inside is pretty. The windows, the ceiling, everything. It’s. Just. Beautiful.

Anyway, moving on.

We walked in and while we didn’t know anyone there, everyone said their hello to us. I noticed that there was a coffee bar right there in front. That’s so nice. I love how relaxed they are. I can drink my coffee as we listen to the sermon! We saw the signs for the kids area and we headed that way. Emma was a concern of mine when it came to going to church. I know some don’t have “daycare” and some do. August Gate does, thank goodness. However, Gene and I have never left Emma with someone other than immediate family. We found the area, and it’s so great. So many toys, so much to do. I filled out a form and asked a few questions and Emma couldn’t care less that I was walking away from her, leaving her with people that I forgot to introduce myself to. Oops. It turns out that if she has a meltdown they will text me. Awesome!

Not only is that awesome, but looking around at the people there, it’s all families (well, mostly). It’s a lot of people like Gene and I; 20s or 30s and most starting a family. I think the reason I noticed that so quickly is simply because most of the time, Gene and I are hanging out with people in their 50s and 60s. It was refreshing actually. It was just the thing I needed to get Gene onboard. :-)

Having previously been a member of a Christian church, I knew that Gene was in for a culture shock (for lack of a better term). He’s catholic, and I’m sure everyone knows how uneventful Catholic Church is. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, I’m just pointing out the difference. Anyway, August Gate had a pretty great band. The guy on the guitar in the back right corner of the stage was wonderfully into the song that they were playing. The man and woman who did the most singing were great! While Gene didn’t really tap his foot, or dance, or show much emotion, he seemed to enjoy it (even though he had this look to him like he felt awkward). In fact, at one point he grabbed my hand and held it. Nothing huge, but to me it meant that he didn’t dislike or disapprove.

Now, the sermon? It was heart-wrenching. It hit home. We went on Easter Sunday, so it was all about the resurrection. “He is Risen. He is Risen, Indeed!” I’ve read the Bible front-to-back in my younger years, but I think that I just wasn’t into it then. I knew the stories, I could recite scriptures, but I guess I had other things on the brain back then. Who knows. Either way, when Pastor Noah read verses from Luke, it hit me. I wouldn’t have believed. The women who went to tend to Jesus’ body in the tomb ran back to town to say that He had risen. The town people did not believe. They may have even followed Jesus while He was alive, but when He died they changed their minds. Even when those women told them what they had seen, they still didn’t believe. If I was there then, I don’t think I would have believed. And I’m ashamed.

I started to think more about why I wouldn’t have believed, and I keep thinking that I still have doubt today. How could I doubt God? I remember learning when I was younger that even the strongest of men can be swayed by Satan. Is Satan why the “what if” is in my head? I pray all the time, I talk to Jesus and God like they were walking beside me throughout my day, so why would I think “what if?” It’s like I’m saying “I believe in God, I love Jesus, but WHAT IF it’s all made up?”

That brings me to my next point… the movie The Invention of Lying ruined me. I can almost guarantee you that many, many people were slightly doubtful after that movie. I think it’s the reason I have doubt.

Getting back to my point of the sermon. Pastor Noah did a fantastic job. Have you ever noticed how no matter what the sermon is about, it’s always about you? By the end of the service I was crying. And I was relieved. Pastor Noah told me what I needed to hear. And he prayed with us (of course). I have been happy ever since. Seriously. It has been so long since I was truly happy, and I am now.

That being said, I’m hooked. I want to go back every Sunday. And on Wednesday nights they have gospel community so we can talk on a more personal level about what the sermon meant to you. Right now, just typing this out to you, I am getting teary because this is what I have been longing for, for so long. However, I’m trying to hold back. I don’t want to scare Cayla and Brandon with my obsessive need, and I don’t want to scare Gene away from wanting to go back (he’s from a town where church is just church and not fun). How do I squeeze my way into this without scaring people away?

If you’re wondering how Emma did in her hour and twenty minutes of “daycare,” we had to bribe her to leave. She didn’t want to leave with us, and she wanted to stay there with them. Lol. Makes me giggle thinking back to how I was luring her out with goldfish.

We chit-chatted a little bit with Cayla and Brandon (and their kiddos) before we left; Gene ended up having to go to work Easter Sunday so we couldn’t hang out longer. We did get a CD from the church for being a new member (so we can sing along next time, yay!), but I haven’t gotten to listen to it yet because it’s always either Elmo in the CD player, or I’m talking to Mom on the way home from work.

Every day I’ve been wondering when I get to go back. I’m one of those people that gets obsessed and paranoid at the same time. So in my head I’m saying to myself “What if Cayla and Brandon want it to be THEIR church and they were just being nice for the sake of Easter?” Or, “What if Gene isn’t going to want to go back? Am I going to go without him? If he does go, will he ever open up and get into it? Is it weird for him for us to do this together?” Oy. It’s like my brain just won’t stop.

I’ll pray about it, of course, and maybe you can too. :-)

Thanks for checking in… and if you have time, check out AugustGate. You’ll like it!

Jenni

2 comments:

  1. Glad you found a church that you love! It's so hard to find a place where you feel completely comfortable and enjoy yourself. (Church should be ENJOYABLE!) Hope it's something you, Gene and Emma can start doing regularly as a family!

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