Monday, July 11, 2016

The Search Begins

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the Lord" (Jeremiah 29:11-14 NIV).

My husband and I are at a crossroads of sorts. With our move, we have left behind our home church. Although we have driven the distance back to our church for several months, the real problem is not mileage but time. It is difficult to be more than an hour away and be a dedicated servant who is available to attend meetings during the week or be on call for needs that arise. Honestly, this is one of the most challenging times we've faced.

My roots are very deep at Bethel Grove Church. Sixty-one years deep. How does one leave behind the lifetime of faith growth due to the people and experiences of a home church. Though I don't remember too much from my youngest years, pictures have shown me images of them that I hold dear in my heart. At three, I was a flower girl in one of my sisters' weddings. There is an image of me sitting on the stage, adjusting my shoe. I doubt if I fulfilled my duties adequately that day.

At age six or seven I was photographed in our Sunday school room showing brand new tables, chairs and fun wooden toys including blocks, and a ride-on truck and tractor (most of which are still in use at the church). I remember outreach visits we made to the Ramsey Home in Des Moines. We had a former member, Fred Layman(?), whom we visited there, among others. I don't recall what we did besides visit, but there probably was music involved. Another resident there created beautiful handmade dolls and on one visit I was lucky enough to get a boy and girl doll set that she crafted, along with crocheted hats, shoes and underwear; and hand-stitched clothes. I still have those special dolls.

I guess I am quite unique; attending the same church for all of my life. Most people move or marry or relocate, forcing the change to happen at least once or twice in a lifetime. I was blessed to be baptized and married in the same church, see my husband grow in his faith and be baptized, and have our sons dedicated and baptized in the same church. I never expected to move 70 miles away and be faced with this decision so late in life. But here we are.

To be continued...

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