Thursday, June 6, 2013

Church

St. Francis outside of my Uncle and Aunts home
Two weeks have come and gone with an overwhelming rush of reminders that God's Spirit is on the move. It is important for me to take a moment to testify to the obvious benefits of breathing in and out that pentecostal breath that binds us all together in love. 

That breath has to begin with the church. The church is not a building, it is not a place you can go, it isn't a thing you do for an hour on Sunday. Church is people. "Open the doors and see all the people." Remember that childhood rhyme? That one was actually true.

If I told the story of the past two weeks the way it was meant to be told, it would go like this:

I received a call from God back in March asking me if I wanted this great job in local missions. I said "No, but I know someone who would be perfect for it- my husband Joel." God called Joel and told him about the job and then asked him to apply. Joel applied. Neither of us were sure what this was all about or what the likelihood of his getting this job would be. Plus, we were really comfortable in our current situations. 

My friend's wedding in Charleston, photo by Kayla
God called again and scheduled an interview. Joel thought it went well and came home energized, touched by something holy. Then we traveled to Charleston for a wedding. It was here we made the deal with God to purchase His amazing car for an incredible price. At this point, we still thought this was a very "out of character" purchase for ourselves but we just went with it. We simply had a feeling...

Usually in the summer we plan an epic journey somewhere and leave for a couple of weeks. Joel and I had the weirdest time choosing a place this year. Nothing felt right, nothing came together well. We finally decided we just didn't feel good about it and better go with that gut and leave our summer open. We have not ever considered doing something like this. We had a feeling...

Another month passes and Joel gets another call. Two more interviews go by, a paper written, a skills test taken and we suddenly realize he could get this job. God speaks through influential people in our community; a pastor, youth leader, missions director, professor, co-worker, friends. Joel lands the job. Then we drive to Virginia to pick up the car we now need.The timing was perfect. 

Now we have to move from campus. 

Spending time in Eden with friends
God inspires Joel to write a "goodbye/thank you" email to his peers in the office just to express his gratitude for them. God writes back ,"I am moving out of my apartment soon, would you like to see it?" It is perfect. It's us. It is practical, it is close to our jobs, it is amazingly priced, and it even had french doors (how did God know I liked those?). 

God inspired me to write a friend at church who owns a moving company. I just wanted prices because we have so much going on and I am about to leave for mission trips so moving is going to be a big hassle for us. God answers the way He always answers, "Just tell us the pick up and drop off addresses and we have you covered." Amazing grace.

We still have two weeks where we will not have housing. There is a gap in our plan. I ask around, nothing pans out. I bite off my nails. I go to work. God asked what our plan is during the gap time and I tell her we don't have one yet. She offers us her place that she has just moved out of and has to keep until the end of the month. 

It is done. All we have to do is pack. 

Visiting with family at sunset
These perfectly timed details did not come from the week I took off from work to try and figure them all out. They did not happen in a moment or out of the blue. Every detail of this situation accumulated from the building momentum of that holy undercurrent pouring in and out of the church. Each connection that was made; the job, the move, the moving, the apartment, the car, and time off, the rest in Virginia, everything we needed, was all part of the intricate community of loving support that I know as the church. 

Church is people who rejoice in God's blessings. They share them.

This story is full of physical examples of God's blessings and I am sharing it because I think a lot of people can relate to this sort of miraculous gifting of provision. It is crucial for me to note that I have fully experienced God's blessings in the emotional, spiritual, educational, and relational realm of this world as well. This story happens to me everyday of my life. It is just lately folks are starting to notice these blessings we are called to share because they happen to be ones they can touch. 

Rejoicing in community at a friend's wedding
I have a friend who doesn't attend church and doesn't believe in God. She told me once that she misses church (she grew up in a church) and she really sees the benefit of being in a community of love, grace and support. I think most human beings can relate to this whether they believe in a deity or not. It is undeniable that having a network of support (no matter where it comes from) is transformational. People who have the support of relationships truly are better off. You can be the poorest person on the planet or the richest on Earth, but if you are doing either of those things totally alone you are living in the worst poverty I can imagine. 

My church is full of people of all ages. We attend different "churches" and worship at different times. We have very different jobs and live all over the world. However, my church is full of people who are tapped into a life force that binds us all together in love. We are tapped into living, growing life and let that current take us where it pleases.

I know God through His church. I know God is pleased to bless his children. I just have a feeling...

"Thank you, God."