Many of you know that we left our church of 19 years in July. People ask us why. They want a specific reason. But, we didn't have one catch all reason we had several and we just knew it was time. It had been time for a while, but we didn't want to go. So we dug in and tried to get involved and prayed and tried to affect the changes we felt we as a family needed from the inside, if you will. But the change we craved didn't come. I think it would have been easier if there had been a really big no mistaking it everybody knew why reason. But it wasn't like that. We just knew God was telling us to go.
When really pushed to give an answer I usually say something like this:
It's kind of like vegetables. We were getting lots of green beans. Nothing wrong with green beans. Our church was really good at cooking green beans, but were tired of the same green beans. We were craving broccoli but there was none to be found.
Silly, I know but it's all I had.
It wasn't easy to leave. It felt like death only we weren't surrounded by people offering support. People get really protective over their green beans.
But life didn't stop just because we left our church so it's been pretty lonely out here searching for broccoli. We've been surprised by the reactions and lack of interactions since leaving. We felt like fish out of water without the support of our church family.
We knew we needed to find a place to belong.
We started searching for where God was telling us to go. We visited a lot of churches. We wanted God to tell us to go to the church directly across the street from our house. That was our plan, at least. There are several churches within a few minutes of our house but when we visited, all we could see were NO BROCCOLI signs posted everywhere.
We liked things about each church and joked that if we could take the music from this one, the pastor from that one, the kids program from another and the Sunday school from another we'd have what our family was craving. We'd have broccoli. But then we felt guilty like we were shopping for broccoli and missing God.
New Year's came and we celebrated with people that we've worshipped with and loved for decades. People from the rock---some are still at the church we loved and some have moved on in search of their own broccoli. In the conversation that night, Villa Heights kept coming up. We had our excuse, mostly we kept saying it was too far- that we really wanted to be closer to home.
But church after church we couldn't find broccoli or peace. Where is God leading us?
So we decided to give Villa Heights a try- at least we could mark it off the list.
The first Sunday we knew. Pastor Jake delivered truth in a way all five of us, from 6 to 50 could take hold of. Rex and I talked after church and we knew. It was a broccoli buffet.
So we went back the second Sunday.
And we knew. We knew when Elijah threw up all over the foyer, and Mr. Travis got on his hands and knees to clean it up. With a smile while Daddy and Elijah went home. I stayed with Isaiah, and Pastor Jake delivered another truth filled message that lept to life in a way my 6 year old could explain to his Daddy at lunch.
So we went back for the third Sunday and we were getting anxious, cause we knew. The messages were constant. Solid truth.
That morning I had prayed that Shayne would know at least one person when he went to the youth department. He walked in and knew one person. The youth pastor. Shayne knew him from Camp Eagle and God had answered this mommas prayer. May seem like a little thing, but was huge for my son who's teetering between high-school and young adulthood.
The kids started Awana, I started bible study- Rex checked out the hot topics class.
And yesterday, I followed my husband as he led our family and we stepped out in obedience to join the church. We're thankful to already have some friends there... the Nicely's, the Anderson's, the Meade's. And we've found a Sunday School class that reminds us of a rock that we sure do miss.
We miss our RF BC family so much. But we're also excited that God doesn't require us to eat green beans if we really need broccoli. And one day, we're gonna sit at a banquet table with Jesus- together with all believers and keep getting filled up on everything we crave.
Until then, it's good to belong at Villa Heights Baptist Church. Broccoli anyone?
Happy Monday y'all!