I haven’t posted an Inspiration from the Carpenter post since the end of October last year. These posts were meant to encourage you while cementing what I’ve learned in my faith. I kind of hit a wall with them though. I was feeling rather stagnant in my faith and didn’t really feel inspired to post what I was feeling because there’s nothing inspirational about a stagnant Christian.
Last year I had to be honest with myself and with Jacob about what was going on in our Christian walk. There was a period of 6 weeks where we prioritized everything over going to church together as a family. I knew this wasn’t how either Jacob or I wanted to live.
Having had kids, going to church and being a part of a church family was paramount for the growth of our own faith and re-energising our enthusiasm for life because sometimes the busyness and craziness of life can really deplete the heart and soul.
And so I found myself in a situation where I would go to church, not take anything in and go through the motions of worship and allow my mind wander during the sermon. I would walk straight out unchanged and disappointed because I had come expectantly, but didn’t feel like I had been fed.
I would internalize my thoughts about church, but interestingly I would regurgitate how I felt to my dad come Monday morning at work. My dad would listen and the only advice he gave me was to pray about it. So I did.
Through constant prayer I knew that I had to make a move. I talked to Jacob about how I had been feeling and whether he would take the step of faith with me to go to a couple of churches to see what they were like. We decided to step out of our comfort zone of going to a church that we knew so well to a church that was different and much bigger.
How did I decide on which church to go to? Ironically, a builder dad and I worked for went there with his family, our electrician went there and dad and I would do work for families that attended this church too. I don’t believe it was a coincidence that the name of this church kept coming up!
We visited our new church and were welcomed warmly. Esther was keen to stay in the kids church program and I nearly fell over backwards when she said to Jacob and I that we could go now!
The moment the worship started I cried because I felt at home. The worship was inspiring and I happily joined in with the songs I knew. My mind didn’t wander during the sermon and as soon as the service finished and we were back in our car I told Jacob, I don’t want to visit anywhere else. This is where I want to go. By the following week and attending another Sunday service Jacob shed a tear during the worship and he agreed that this new church was going to be our home.
We have been attending our new church for a little under 5 months. We didn’t make a grand exit from out other church or announce it because there was no scandal that made us decide to attend a new church. We were just hungry hearts that needed something different.
We noticed that we would rarely see our friends at church because they would attend a different service (there were 3 services a day). We would socialize with our friends outside of church and this made the move even more clearer because we weren’t going to lose our friends, as we were already seeing each other outside of church anyway.
Today I am flying down to Sydney with my mum and thousands of other women to attend the Colour women’s conference run by Hillsong. I have never heard a bad word about these conferences and women come back from them with hearts that are changed and nourished by wonderful speakers. This is my first Colour conference and I am excited. It was on my 100 Dreams list so I am thankful to be able to cross it off. With all the life changes that I have had in the last 5 months (new church, baby on the way, loss of job) I’m expectant and excited by what God has got in store for me and for every woman going down.
Our move to a new church has been wonderful for our family. We have started attending a connect group, meeting with other families in a similar life stage to us. I have been able to get reacquainted with an old school friend who has daughters like I do. The leaders of our connect group live in the same neighborhood as us and they have their daughter enrolled to the same Kindy next year as Esther.
While the church move has been a good one for us, my personal growth has meant that I have had to invest and put in quality time with God. One can’t rely on church to build a strong relationship with God, it comes down to how the individual chooses to spend their time during the other 6 days of the week. Going to a new church has given me a new hunger to read my bible and pray more throughout my day.
What can you as a reader take away from what I have shared today? Well firstly, prayer works and secondly, taking a step of faith means walking out of your comfort zone. You need to follow your calling over comfort. Don’t sway with the same motion and rationalize it in your head if you know in your heart that something doesn’t feel quite right.
Now it’s your turn. Do you go to church or have you ever gone to church? Ever made a change like our family has in changing churches? I’d love to hear your experiences.