Monday, January 17, 2011

A baby in da house.

Nope, not mine.

Here in Texas I've changed things up a bit, I'm doing home daycare as well as photography.  Today a sweet little newborn began spending his days with me. He's absolutely wonderful and it is so nice to have a wee one to cuddle again.  Nate's still cuddly, but you know how 3 year olds are..... their terms.  I could stay in bed with him all day snuggling but unfortunately he wants to do things like eat, play, and watch Yo Gabba Gabba.  Silly boy!

Anyway,  There is lots of newness going on in my life.  I always knew there was a divine purpose for us moving to Austin, Texas.  I knew it would present itself if I just listened.  Well, I still don't know what it is but I was shocked when I was informed of my next step in the journey.

SHOCKED y'all.

We were led to church.  CHURCH.  CHURCH.  

Ya know, God's house and all that jazz?  Yeah.  A Pagan being led to church.  My first thought obviously was what the.........  I mean I kind of saw it coming.  A dear friend informed me last week that she and her precious family are thinking about moving to the Austin area.  The kicker?  She's a pastor's wife.  Yeah.

So since I have been determined to follow my gut and my heart.  When we were directed to pick up our lives and move 1300 miles in just two weeks without secure jobs... we listened.  So what would it hurt to just keep listenin.

A little quick background.  Craig grew up in a lutheran church, his mother has always been very active in the church and to this day works in the church office.  I started out Catholic but grew up in a Pentacostal church and was very active until adulthood.  And you all know that since Alex died I have basically told God to take a flying leap and I just wasn't doing that anymore.

So here I was feeling strongly called to church and struggling to let go of my defiance.  But I decided what the heck, i'll give it a shot.

We were going to go to a church nearby but overslept lol...... yeah, get the party started right eh?  So we went to another church that seemed to fit, by their online message anyway.

So we ended up at a place here in town called Celebration Church.  I'm fairly certain just the name of it gave Craig hives, with his traditional upbringing.  I had brought him to a Pentacostal church in the past and he was put off by the lack of hymns and the upbeat atmosphere.

Was  he in for a surprise.  And even growing up in a fundamentalist environment, so was I.

We drive up to the church which is located on a hill on the edge of the city.  We are immediately amused with the Sheriff's deputies directing traffic on the road outside and the men in yellow directing parking.  Really?  Upon leaving the car we hear the upbeat music that is coming from speakers outside the buildng.

We go in and are immediately immersed in an atmosphere not unlike a busy shopping mall.  There's a coffee and sandwich shop, and a front desk that closely resembles the information desk of any hospital.  There are so many people milling around and loud rockish music filling the space.  I'm sure by now Craig was ready to bolt, as he can't even go into Hollister due to the abnoxious music.

We get to the service desk and an extremely friendly woman takes us to a computer where they input our children's names and print out name stickers to put on their shirts.  We are shown where each child goes and are instructed that we need our parent sticker, with matching ID number when we are ready to pick up our children.  They have numerous classes for the children based on age, so many that they are spilling out of the church into a series of portable building's annexed to the building itself.

We get our kids to their respective places and find a seat in the massive auditorium style space reserved for Sunday service.  I learn that this is the busiest of the 4 identical services which speak to a 6,000 plus  congregation held on Sundays and am surprised how fast the place fills up requiring ushers with blue tooth headsets to shuffle people around and fit them all in.  I notice quickly that we are slightly overdressed in our dress pants, as most are wearing jeans and t-shirts.

When the lights kicked on and the complete rock-type band began to play on stage and the media show started on 2 huge screens to the left and right of the stage I was certain Craig was going to have a stroke. I am fairly certain if he had been sitting on the end of the row he would have felt the sudden need to use the bathroom, for an extended period.  But he didn't.

The service began with what they call "worship".  Which could be mistaken for any concert you've been to (Ok, maybe not ANY).  The light show, the media show, the band, the people standing with hands in the air belting out the tunes as the lyrics are displayed on the screens.....

The singing concluded and a brief history of the 10 year history of the church played on the screens in an upbeat and modern format.

This was followed by offering, which for the first time I was relieved there was no pressure to give.  A: we are broke, and B: I would like to find out some more about the place before I go handing over my hard earned cash.  Usually you can feel all eyes on you as you pass the offering plate, but not here.. probably simply because with so many people it's impossible for them to focus on you.

This was followed by a very nice message from the pastor about "upgrading".  I enjoyed the sermon and it really made me think about my life, my history and my feelings regarding faith.

The kids absolutely loved it, which I was relieved about, with the exception of the 2 oldest.  Expected that.

We also attended a "connect" meeting yesterday evening for new people.  It was very informative and really spoke to me. I felt myself tearing up more than once actually, without reason.

I have no idea why the man upstairs brought me to this church, which is NOTHING I would have considered in the past.  I have no idea where I am being led or for what purpose.  But I know one thing, faith has gotten me this far, without it we would have never got on that plane, packed up that truck.  The whole weeks leading up to the move and the travel itself Craig and I constantly reminded each other to just have faith and follow.  Why should I stop now?

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