One writer learns patience on the long road to finding a church home in a new city.
Finding a church can be a time-consuming and stressful experience. It takes a great amount of patience. On average, you can only visit one, or maybe two churches a week, so the search to find a church can drag out over the course of weeks or several months. Longer, even. Years. Are You Sitting Back & Waiting For 'The One?'
My husband and I will be taking on the giant endeavor of moving to a new city in August once our house is finished. We will be closer to his job and his family. It seems we have everything figured out except a church to call our own. And now, big reveal ahead…
I am not the most patient person.
Patience is something I have to diligently work on and pray about almost daily. So, the period of months—or years, heaven forbid—it might take to find a church is basically scaring me out of my wits. Although I watched my friends go through it, and handle it with grace, I am struggling to do the same. Where is the church we'll feel at home in, that will meet our specific spiritual needs as a couple? As Christians, my husband and I believe that a church should be a place of refuge (Isaiah 37:1), and a place to search for wisdom (Isaiah 37:17). My husband and I are in a total sanctification season of our lives and believe that God is preparing our hearts to do something big. We can feel it. It's on the horizon; whether it be in our marriage, our future as parents, or something else entirely. But we need a new church home to help us grow, and that click just hasn't happened yet.
You want to be involved in a church where you feel called by God, right? We do. And that's a tough spot to be in, this place of limbo we're in now. The fact is, as humans, we are skeptical of an invisible faith. We are scared to trust something we can't physically grasp, and so we're scared to make the wrong choice of church. We have to fight against those fears, and so we've been praying for Him to guide us along the way to success in His kingdom. 5 Ways to Build Trust
Are you looking for a church home, or maybe feeling God's "new life direction" tug in your life? While you're waiting, the most important thing to do is pray. Sometimes, it's the only thing you can do.
Waiting. We are still waiting. We know we may be waiting a while. And let's be honest: Waiting is hard. For us all. That is why my husband and I are trying to pray with a focus. A focus on understanding, patience and finding peace with our decision. For us, it's a church. For you, it could be whether to take the retirement package, which school to put your children in, or if it's time to speak up about a raise at work. But you shouldn't necessarily pray for him to give you an answer wrapped in shiny paper with a big bow on top. In Proverbs, there is a verse that talks about having your focus straight ahead: "Let your eyes look right on [with a fixed purpose], and let your gaze be straight before you" (Proverbs 4:25). If we want our prayers to be answered, we need to learn to stay focused not only in prayer, but also in life. On the bigger picture. For me, and my husband and I as a couple, we are trying to stay focused on the bigger picture of patience; that God will bring us where he wants us to be in his time.
I get the feeling that God is testing me right now. (And hey, I probably need that lesson.) It's like He's telling me, "not yet," or "it's not time." But I'm confident that God works out the smallest details, that he has it all figured out. And He's teaching me more and more about church needs, and about spiritual-life needs. When It Comes To Love, Would You Let God Decide?
My husband sweetly reminds me to be patient. He feeds me scripture when I get frustrated and overwhelmed, "Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5), and somehow it always calms my soul.
As I wait, I've learned the church that is right for us will be a place where we can grow in our love for the Lord and serve Him by contributing to the life of the church. And we will find that church in God's timing. I've also learned to rely on Him and trust in His plan. It's the waiting that's the hard part—but I believe God will give me the patience I need.
At least, we're working on it.
Is there a time in your life that you've had to be patient?