There is a desire in each of us to become a part of something. That something might bring us joy or excitement. Or it might mean entering into someone else's something; their pain and heartache. I've experienced both.
I've been a member of things in my life...I'm a member of my family. I was a member the cheerleading squad and the track team, a member of fan clubs, of Bible studies, and sadly, even a member of cliques. I've joined organizations and causes I believed in and in 2007 when our daughters were born and then again in 2009 when Anna Claire was born, I became a member of the unofficial "parenting club."
There have been two churches where I was an official member. The first church was one of the first I visited when I moved to Tennessee from Ohio in 1999. It came as a recommendation from a family friend who said it was a growing church and had something amazing to offer. From the first time I attended I knew it was something special and I wanted to be a part of it. Little did I know that 5 years from that time, I would be on staff working in the counseling department.
Fast forward to May 2008 when we made the decision to move north of the city. The commute was too long to continue going to FBC, so we began the very tiring search for a new church. It was exhausting to say the least. There were Sundays after Sundays where we would go to a church, sit and listen and look at each and think, "we will never get this hour back." Some, I'm sorry to say, were just awful. Until December. Mike drove by this church almost every day on his way to work. He had mentioned it to me several times and as we were slowly making our way through the churches we wanted to visit, we decided to skip some of them and try Calvary out. We walked in, were greeted by countless welcomes, smiles and handshakes. The music started, we worshipped, the pastor began to teach, the message ended, we headed out, got into our cars and knew. This was our new church home.
We became members of this church this weekend. This church that welcomed us and has loved us. This church that provided meals to a family they didn't even know when their daughter was in the NICU. This church where I have made friends that have added so much to my life in so little time. This church where, every week, never fails to shed light on the Word of God. This church where the Bible is taught, word for word and where we don't just sit and listen, we sit and learn. This church that loves well, but also calls us to repentance. This church whose pastor speaks truth at every opportunity and loves his congregation so well...to the point of tears.
I was reminded this weekend that being a member of something doesn't just mean that you get to partake in the rewards and the celebrations, but it is a calling of responsibility. A call to serve, to love and to sacrifice. To enter in, regardless of if it is comfortable or not and not sit on the sidelines.
I am so thankful to be a part, an "official" part, of this community, this family of believers. To be a member of something that is bigger than myself. Something that has the potential to change lives...to change mine.