My mama just left a couple of days ago after visiting for two and a half weeks. I miss her terribly already. Seriously, I really do. I want to move back to California.
I am enjoying New Jersey, I honestly am. But Krista and I promised to be honest in this space when we started the blog, so I’m being real with y’all.
Starting over is hard.
Gratefully, we are beginning to connect with people here. We joined a community group with our church and absolutely. love. them. We have group tonight and I’m bringing dinner. I love to cook for people. And these people are slowly becoming our new family here, so I’m hoping they’ll be as forgiving if my pasta dish doesn’t turn out (I have a recipe though! Follow your recipes, people! Every time I actually follow a recipe I tell myself I need to do it more often, the food tastes soooooo much better ha!).
Over the last five years, David and I have moved three times. Each time, finding a community/life group at our church has been critical in meeting new friends, feeling “at home” in our new surroundings, and getting involved at church. The first life group we joined is where I met Krista!
But first things first. You can only begin to join a community/life group when you know where you’re going to church.
Let me tell you, for David and me, finding the right church for us has been everything from excruciating to seamless and everything in-between. I married a man who is very intense, serious yet genuine in his approach to finding a church. He enjoys theology and knowing the doctrine behind the pulpit. I am a bit less enthused by this sort of thing. I read the “what we believe” section on the website and that’s enough theology for me! But that’s just the beginning of the differences in experience and preference we’ve had growing up in church. For the second year of our marriage we fought about these things. About church. What the bible said. What it didn’t say. Why we didn’t know these things about each other when we got married. A bible may or may not have been thrown during one of our arguments! We were immature and selfish and maybe a little self righteous. We were both speaking two different dialects of christianese (insert puke face here) and couldn’t understand each other.
So where do two people with two similar, yet somewhat completely different religious backgrounds converge and find a place where both are comfortable and even happy, dare I say, connecting with the purpose, people and programs at a church?
Seek to serve, not to be served.
It’s as true today as it was four years ago when we were tantruming and feeling misunderstood and drowning in self pity.
We both had to get off our high horses. We both had to submit. We both had to stop speaking christianese and just start talking. We had to learn to serve each other without expecting to be served.
By God’s amazing grace, we walked through the doors of a church in an odd building off the freeway next to an auto parts store. We were late. Very late. And the next thing we knew we were welcomed and offered coffee and invited over and asked to come to such and such and we left feeling oddly cared about from these people we had just met. If we’d never dared to serve without expecting the other to serve us back we never would have stepped through those doors. Our lives are changed because of it.
With each move, we’d had to start over in looking for a church. Thankfully we’ve learned from the past and no longer throw bibles. 🙂 We’ve slowed down enough to talk and understand rather than stammer with our Christian-babble-jibber-jabber. And now that we have a little girl added to our family, we know more than ever that being served always comes after serving.
I constantly have to remind myself of this. Moving is tough. It’s not easy on a marriage. Moving creates conflict, and conflict can breed dissention and strife if not carefully managed. All too often, I find myself seeking to be served. And every time (and I mean every. single. time) when I serve without expectation, I am left with unspeakable gifts. An unsolicited kiss from my baby girl; a surprise lunch visit from my man. Whatever wall conflict is trying to build, service speaks love and love chips away even the most callous of hearts (mine).
28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. ~Matthew 20:28