Our lives have changed since moving to Tennesee, some awesome changes and some less than awesome changes. One of the less than awesome changes is church...we are still struggling to find our "fit" in church and that's exhausting.
Our family used to be extremely active in our past church. Church was very much a part of our daily lives. It wasn't uncommon for us to be at the building 3-4 times during the week and it was more than common for us to see someone from our church family almost daily. We truly did life together.
Now, church is "where I go." It used to be a big part of who I was and what I did, but we haven't connected well and the familiarity is gone.
*Church was where my primary relationships were.
*Church was where my kid's friends were.
*Church was where my husband's friend base was.
*Church was where I was comfortable and at home.
*Church was something I loved doing.
Now, church is where I go, I have very few relationships there. I'm not comfortable when I go in because I don't like large crowds of strangers, and that's what it is now and I feel guilty admitting this, but I don't love doing it. I love God, I love Jesus, I love the preaching and singing but without the relationships it's hard.
In a nutshell, I miss it. We are trying, so hard, to engrain ourselves but it's a slow, painful process.
In our old church we did life together. Within weeks of moving to Indiana we had people who would drop in and say hi, just because we were new. We had multiple offers of babysitting while we unpacked or got settled. None of which I took because I'm entirely too overprotective for that, but the offers were genuine. (Makes me laugh to think of me rejecting Sherry's offer! She's practically family now!) We had play dates for our kids set up immediately, sometimes before I could even catch my breath.
Living here and our "new church" (it's been over a year) makes me sad. My daughters haven't been invited to even one play date, no one from church has dropped by to welcome us to TN, there've been no outlandish babysitting offers from practical strangers for me to decline, none of the men have asked Keith to join them for golf, or coffee, or whatever men do. Only once have the other moms invited me out for anything, and that makes me sad. What's more troubling is that when I've spoken about this to other members, they've agreed with me, that their relationships aren't at church either, and that's disturbing. This is our family and we have no idea what they're up to! I say that with near panic! We NEED each other, whether we admit it or not!
We've even left the church for an extended period of time and explored other options. Exploring is fun! I've always gone to the church of Christ and really, only ever visited baptist churches with my grandparents so to see the variety out there is incredible! One thing I know, I'm not terribly charismatic and I'm also not overly conservative. There were some very uncomfortable moments that led to those discoveries! Let's just say that when I break a sweat, dancing for Jesus on a Sunday morning, I'm probably in the wrong place. And head coverings? Well...have you seen how big my hair is? If you haven't, trust me, it's big! Circus tent big, not bigger handkerchief big...
What rings true for us, is that the church we are at is where we believe God wants us. God has called us back there and it's where we are desperately trying to dig in. My prayer is that once this horrible flu season is over, we can shake things up and start doing life with our local Christian family. Whether they like it or not!
We are definitely on the right path and are slowly building meaningful relationships, but the emphasis is on slowly! If God wants us here, and I truly believe he does, you'd better believe we are going to do it big!