God is so funny. Truly.
I decided it was time to try church again. So yesterday, I went to The River. I went with the attitude of, "I'm not going to like it, I want to be unapproachable, just a fly-on-the-wall." Well that was all shot to you know where when I walked in the door. The pastor shook my hand and welcomed me. He had jeans on. : ) I heard a slight crackling sound in my wall.
I sat down, and within a moment, someone plops down in front of me and says, "I know you!" It was Jacob's speech therapist from Early On. I was like, no way. The walls I came in with were starting to crack.
Praise and worship started....other than singing a few songs I wasn't familiar with, it was pretty cool. Great bass player, bongo's (LOVE LOVE LOVE)...very enthusiastic, kind of worship-how-you-want. You want to sway back and forth, cool. You want to stand stock still, fine. You want to raise your hands, go for it.
There was a man behind me on the left that I would catch out of the corner of my eye during praise and worship, and I was like, gosh he looks familiar. Then, after singing, we did the hand shake thing, and the man next to Familiar Face shook my hand and introduced himself. Then, Familiar Face shook my hand...one of those two handed ones...I've only met 2 people who have done that when shaking my hand; both were older gentlemen, and both were 2 of the warmest people I've ever met. Anywho....
I see his name tag and my jaw drops, and I say, "You were my pastor when I was 8 years old!!!" (Chink, chunk, crash...a few bricks fall off my wall....) I told him my maiden name, and it was just crazy.
After a wonderful, relevant message, I was just going to sneak out without a lot of meet and greet. Pastor Jon grabbed my hand again and asked how I was, how I liked the service. I told him I enjoyed it a lot. (On my way out.)
I'm in the place between the inner and outer doors (the word for which escapes me right now...) and my former Pastor comes running out. He wanted to chat for a minute, get "my story", find out how I ended up there...I told him that my husband and I had been severely disappointed with the last 3 churches we attended at one time or another during the last 8 years, mostly surrounding my illness and the birth of Jacob. Before I said ANYTHING about what upset us, or what caused us to leave, he said, "I want you to know that I am a counseling here, free of charge, and I would just love to sit with you and talk to you about these hurts and tell you that the people here will come along side you and love you and help you. They can bring meals" and so on and so forth....I just started bawling. (I should also mention that I saw at least 3 handicapped people in wheelchairs in the service...lots of disabled people for the size of the crowd. That alone speaks volumes!)
So, appropriately, we went back inside to the "cry room". This was so amazing, because it's EXACTLY what we need for Jacob, but he couldn't possibly have known this! I am nervous about putting Jacob in nursery because of the germs, and I went on to explain this to him. They have this room, called the crying room, where you can take your child if they are loud in any way (children stay in the service for everything but the message, but Jacob would be in there for that too). It's a fairly good size room, probably 10 x 10, comfy chairs, a huge window and speakers so you can see and hear everything, and yet not have your child disturb anyone. It was the PERFECT thing for us. He couldn't have known.
Clunk, crash, splat....more bricks are history. Needless to say, I don't believe in coincidence, so it appears as if Doug and I will be continuing to check out this church. I still have some hesitancy, because we HAVE heard all this before....but this time it really feels different. I'm also not going to start serving immediately. This time we are TOTALLY testing the waters before we jump. But I have a feeling we will be landing in a soft place.