On the Reality of Changing Ponds

Why are we having a hard time feeling settled in church here?  It’s the question we are asking every Sunday after church.  We’ve been to the same church for five Sundays or so.  We’ve had lunch with the pastor.  The cheesedoodle doesn’t go apoplectic in tears when I leave him in nursery any more.  We are getting to know people, and meeting new people.  Our next door neighbors go to the same church, and we love them.  So why are we still feeling odd about it?

At first we thought it was because we left behind a church that we loved so much.  That may be a bit of it.

Then we thought it was because of the size of the church.  Despite being small for St. Louis, it’s larger than any church in which we’ve been involved – both separately and together.   That may be a small part.

We’ve been in five churches in our marriage and in every one we’ve been unique.  In three Jonathan was on staff.  In three we were the only foreigners in the church.  We’ve been “the infertile couple”, “those Canadians”, “the guy who used to work at a church”, “the ones who want to go to seminary.”  In one church Jonathan was the only ordained man.  We’ve always been special.  There’s been a spot for us and we liked that.

It is humbling, and I think good for us, to realize that we’re not as unique as we think we are.

No matter where we go here, we’re pretty mundane.  Most of the guys at Covenant have been on staff with some church or parachurch organization.  Not only are we not the only foreigners, we’re not even the only Canadians.  We walk through the doors of any church with our boy and our girl, and we look like average, middle America, suburban seminarians.  There are thousands of people just like us in this city and some of them can be found in any PCA church you care to name.

The fact is, we’re now in a much bigger pond, realizing that we’re smaller fish than we thought we were.  It’s a good lesson.  It’s the first of many good lessons.  I know we’ll find a place and a niche here in which to serve and use our gifts and benefit the body of Christ.  I know that we will benefit from the searching out and finding of that place, rather than having it handed to us with fanfare and thanksgiving.

Here’s to going deeper in our bigger pond.

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About Coralie

After 11 years of infertility, I am now a mother to three, a wife of a Presbyterian (ARP) preacher and a struggling homemaker. Welcome to my little corner of the net. Kick off your shoes, put your feet up and join the conversation. View all posts by Coralie

3 responses to “On the Reality of Changing Ponds

  • Marianne

    This post really spoke to me. I feel so fortunate to have found a church I love just blocks from our apartment. I LOVE IT. My problem? Getting connected. I met a great young woman who mentored me through baptism. But other than that, I haven’t really connected with anyone. All the other moms of toddlers I’ve met are much younger than me. I didn’t think that would make a difference, but it seems to. I’m the only mom of a little who works outside the home. And I seem to be the only one who struggles (and I do mean *struggles*) with sin.

    A few months ago, in my small group, I asked for prayer for my anger behind the wheel. On that particular day, I had said something really terrible in front of Nathan and he repeated it. I felt like it said a lot about my heart. Anyway, I said something like, “I just get “righteously” angry. Why do you have to cut me off? Why do you have to attempt to run me off the road? I know it’s irrational, but I get so upset. I often honk, and sometimes, I swear at the drivers.” The women around me were all “Oh, when that happens to me, I just smile and wave.” Or, “I always just say a prayer for them.” Things like that. I was really taken aback. Really? None of you ever struggle with ridiculous, irrational outrage? Apparently none in this group of 10 women.

    So, I keep trying… but I’m seriously known as “The Angry Driver” in my small group. I haven’t attended for a couple months.

    • Lily

      Marianne, don’t feel too bad. I think the women you were talking to were in the minority. The lady who smiles and waves probably does so because she knows SHE was in the wrong. As for the one who prays for the other drivers – the prayer is probably that she never, ever, meets them in real life as, once again, she was probably in the wrong. They probably go around feeling smug because they don’t get upset on the road when they cause other people to do just that. Am not sure why the majority of us are more inclined to road rage now than years ago but it certainly is the case. Possibly it is because most of us are under more stress, so many are in a hurry and it is easy to cut someone off sometime, swerve to close to someone, etc. We have all done it at sometime but it is irritating. Hopefully you can find a less self righteous group in the future who will support you.

  • AJU5's Mom

    We have struggled with what church is right for us too. The first church we attended in this town (for almost a year), didn’t have any married couples without kids – and that was a church of about 200. For different reasons, we left that church and now go to an even smaller church (about 50 people on Sunday). There aren’t many like us at the church, but we are being used in ways we wouldn’t be at a larger church. But we struggle with the fact there aren’t many kids at our church – only 5 including ours 5 and younger.

    Until we feel that God is calling us to change churches, we will stay were we are at. But, it is something we think about at least monthly…

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