Everyone has a story about why they attend a certain church. Some stories are simple. Our story…well…it is simply not-so-simple. But, I wouldn’t change a thing.
My story starts out quite simple actually. My husband and I were married in 2007. Not long after we married, we started our quest to find a home for our family. We made several moves all around the suburbs of Houston searching for the “perfect spot”. There are so many factors that play into a decision of where to live right? What school will my children attend? Where is the neighborhood park? What house can we afford to buy? I never once asked myself what church we would join. Honestly, that felt very secondary to everything else. I figured once we were settled, we would ask around and find the church with the best program for our children and just join. We would get involved, our children would grow up in church, and we would create wonderful memories. It was simple. We moved, and then moved, and then moved again…and a couple more times. It was a search filled with many houses…but never a home.
A few years into this quest, we made a decision to build a house in Magnolia, Texas. Brian and I were finally going to plant roots and start making “permanent” memories. We started going to the church where two of our children, Julia and Alan, were attending pre-school. We were making friends, having Friday night dinners out in the town, and loving life together. From the outside…I am sure it looked like life was making sense. Even with all the wonderful things going on in our lives, I always felt a tug in my heart. I felt selfish. I couldn’t believe I had this feeling after everything God had given us. I felt like something was missing. I started praying daily for an answer.
I realized I had an overwhelmingly strong pull to bring my family back to Friendswood. I didn’t really want to confess to this feeling…I knew it would appear very irrational to others…after all, we were building a house. I knew I had to bring my family back to my hometown. My brother and his wife, John and Dana, live in Friendswood. Our children are best friends. I had all of these visions and hopes of what life would be like back in Friendswood. I knew from the bottom of my heart that this was what God was leading me – us to do.
Brian and I made the decision to go with my “mother’s instinct” and move back. Each and every day I thank God for sending me Brian. He is so understanding and patient… and I will forever be grateful for the sacrifices he has made to help me to follow my dreams. We were having fun and making memories quickly after arriving back in town. I felt so spoiled. We were spending time with my sister-in-law whom as become a real sister to me and niece’s everyday and loving life. We knew it was time to get our children involved in church. We tossed around some ideas. I asked him if he would mind if we went and visited the Friends Church one Sunday. John and Dana are Quakers; my grandparents were active members when they lived in Friendswood; as well as several other family members. After all, we did come back to Friendswood to be closer to family.
The day we walked into those Church doors…I felt instantly closer to God. There are no words that could possibly describe the feeling I had the first time I sat down and looked around. I knew that I had been pulled into that room by something higher. I knew He had led us there. It is very difficult and probably impossible to completely put into words…but there was this sensation of comfort and fullness. During open worship, I took a peek and looked around to take in this feeling. It was an “ahhhh” moment. It didn’t make sense to me how I could get so many fulfillments just from walking into the doors of a church. I looked at my children and knew we had finally found a place to grow their love and commitment to God. I was overpowered with instant relief and peace. I took it all in that day. I found myself staring at the elders and members of the church and wanting to really get to know them. I listened to the sermon and felt connected with the people sitting around me. I knew that this feeling was something that I needed to hold onto and continue pursuing.
We didn’t join the Friends Church that day. I wanted to make sure Brian felt the same way. This was a huge decision and one that we both wanted to be open and honest about. Thankfully, he felt drawn to the Church as well. He saw how happy it made me. He saw how happy our kids were to go worship, make friends, and grow in their own Faith. Our family helped us get involved quickly. They introduced us to so many wonderful people. We started going to a Wednesday night small group called In the Kitchen. Our kids started going to Kids-Can-Do with Ms. Janet and Kaitlyn; both ladies have become quite popular names in our house. We really started meeting people and getting more and more involved. I attended Bible Study every Wednesday morning. I couldn’t quite put my finger on this incredible feeling of completeness when I was in the building.
I was asked to be a part of a mentoring program. I didn’t know whether I should accept…as we weren’t even official members of the Friends Church yet. I prayed about it over several nights. I decided to participate. I was matched with the most amazing young lady. We met six times over a period of three months. We studied the book of Luke. We discussed and shared our lives with each other. We developed a friendship based on our love of Christ and our commitment to follow Him. That young lady brought so much joy into my life and will forever be a special friend of mine.
It was around that time that we made a very important decision and requested to become members of Friends Church. There are endless reasons for this decision. We both love how passionate everyone is during worship. We love the open arms and welcoming faces each Sunday morning. Our children speak of Jesus as a friend, leader, and example. We love looking down the aisle and seeing the smiles, giggles, and happiness of the surrounding families. Every once in a while during worship, I look at a familiar face and take it all in. I love meeting the other members and hearing their story. I loved getting to take part in our fabulous and fun Vacation Bible School during which I was able to “rock out” with young rock stars. I love the love that is inside this building every day. I truly believe God has brought us back here…Home. This feeling I will never take for granted. I prayed for a home…and that is exactly what we have found.