Day Five: I’m Thankful For…Church Family.

Preface: I thought it was fitting to express my thanks during the month of November for something new each day, as so many others have done before me. I’ve never taken the time to do this, and it will be a challenge to blog each day, but it’s so important to recognize the blessings God has given us! 🙂 These are in NO particular order…

I have made two major moves in my life: the first was from Northern to Southern California (523 miles) for college in 2001; the second was from Southern California to Pennsylvania (3,000 miles) in 2008. Both moves were significant landmarks in my life, and both placed me far from my family, friends and comfort zone.

However, God is eternally faithful and He has continually brought me “church family” to take care of me, befriend me, and love me.

Within my first month of college, I found the First Baptist Church of Glendora and the friendships made there still stand strong today. The bond that I have with so many people there will last forever and I am so thankful for God’s leading! I know that I still have “family” in Glendora. I was so blessed to be surrounded by like-minded musicians and we made some incredible music together. I was surrounded by friends my age who were seeking to know Jesus more and more and they sharpened me. They encouraged me. They were sad to see me move in 2008 but recognized God’s hand in the journey and supported me all the way. I love them dearly.

Within my first month of moving to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, I found East Shore Baptist Church. From the first time I walked through those doors until now, I felt welcomed and loved. As soon as people discovered how far I had come and how far my family was from me, they stepped in and took care of me. They supported and encouraged me. They helped me find a husband 😉 (haha). When I lost my job, they ensured that I was fed and taken care of. One Sunday I found $200 in my Bible–which was exactly what I needed to finish paying my rent for the month. I have no idea who blessed me that day, but I am SO thankful.

The pastors allowed me to begin a ministry to the singles in the church (which is, ironically, where I became acquainted with Brennan) as this was a large people group within the church that was not being served. They encouraged me to use my gifts for the good of the body (even when it was uncomfortable–like playing guitar for worship…which I did every Sunday, two services, for two years and do all the time now) and never discouraged me from following God’s leading.

They allowed me to be on the leadership team for an amazing church plant called The Well at East Shore. I was the “Community Projects Coordinator” and was able to live out two of my passions: missions and serving. I planned community service projects for our church that we did the third Thursday of every month (that’s the night we met in order to reach those who can’t or won’t go to church on Sundays)…we chose to go BE the church on those nights instead of just sitting in church every week. It was a powerful way to be the hands and feet of Jesus to our community.

We eventually felt led to discontinue The Well, but God definitely had plans for our little church plant: It was through The Well that I met the Morrisons and the Shays. They came up from North Carolina to see Harrisburg in March 2010 as they were praying about where to plant a church. I helped show them around Harrisburg and we were able to show them where we were seeing God at work–EVERYWHERE! They felt led to come join God in the great work He is doing here and moved here in 2011. Brennan and I are now part of the church that they planted, Redeeming Grace Church, and they have become such a wonderful blessing to our lives. Redeeming Grace has brought us another wonderful church family and we are so blessed to call RGC our church home.

God has proven His love to me in so many ways, but this is one of the greatest: wherever He has called me to go, He has brought people alongside me who love and encourage me, and I love and encourage them as well. He is so faithful to care for us!

Thank you, Jesus, for providing amazing Christians who become family to me wherever I go…

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