“Mom you love church, because you love Jesus!” -Audrey
She is right I love church, the big C, and our little family called 2nd Street. I love church because Jesus is there and he is at work among us. It has been one whole year since my family and I linked arms with those who call 2nd street their church home. We were in search of a place who loved children and saw them as a vital part of the body of Christ. We were in search of place where we could share daily life with those in our church. We were in search of a place that listened to the people and valued all voices. We were in search of place that loved each other well. We found it with 2nd Street.
As I reflect back over the year I remember my very first day. I wasn’t even hired yet. However, I was going to training. We postponed a trip to Seattle and put birthday plans on hold and set out on a new adventure. I pulled up Amy’s long windy road thinking “what did you get me into Jesus.” I spent entire weekend with four strangers learning a new way of allowing children to be with God and finding the start of my new church family. I remember the joy that bubbled up on Sunday when Lisa said, “they voted yes” (I know, I know we don’t vote.)
As is true with almost all of my church experience this year has not being all roses and rainbows. There has been hardships, sadness, heart breaks, conflicts, and remorse. But from these things God brought healing, wholeness, and a forming of rooted relationships. He allowed me to practice trust and surrender. He used each and every time as opportunity to transform my broken images of God, of church and of ministry.
This year also brought lots of joys and the creating of our church family. Our dining room table was one of the holy spaces in which many of my lasting relationships and Jesus work was done. Over a healthy game of cards stories were told and lives were shared. And as Eli would say, “victories were won!” The sacred space that allowed us to become family wasn’t always at our table but it was anytime two or more of us were together. It was eating homemade doughnuts and climbing a hay mansion. There was Jesus and there was family. It was eating green and irish food and my children be welcomed with loving tickling arms. There was Jesus and there was family. It was serving thousands at the special needs Olympics shoulder to shoulder with those who have such a heart for that community. There was Jesus and there was family. It was sharing life stories at a mom's sabbath. There was Jesus and there was family. It was a soft whisper of “I think I am suppose to pray for you” on a Sunday morning. There was Jesus and there was family. It was celebrating over some mighty good chocolate mousse. There was Jesus and there was family. It was chips and salsa and life lessons with my teaching team. There was Jesus and there was family. It was crying together, praying together, laughing together and loving together. There was Jesus and there was family.
I am so grateful to have walked the last year with you all and now I look to the present. I am a year old, more full of wonderings, learning to live with paradoxes and to live into the promises God has given us. I am joyfully walking linked arm in arm with all of you. Holding you in the light and claiming God’s love, joy and healing for this family. May we continue to see his Kingdom at work in us and through us. May we love each other and our community with God’s unconditional love. May we see the Holy Spirit at work and follow his calling. May we encourage one another and invite wholeness. May we continue to be a faithful loving family to all. -with love Janelle