As the line goes, "Home is where the heart is." That's why its so hard to pin down my "home" these days. There's home, my physical residence where I live, and there's home...hundreds of miles away. I've been blessed with two places that feel like home. Two places that my heart aches for when absent from them. Two churches that I am blessed to call mine.
Home #1 is the one i have known my whole life, and yet if it weren't for my church, it wouldnt really be home at all. I mean my parents live there, but theres far more to it than that. Walnut Creek Baptist Church is the church I started attending when i was 7 years old. For those of you wondering, its not a "praise band" church. It has conservative standards that serve as guardrails for people who live and raise their children and families in that church. The standards do not serve as shackles. I miss that church dearly. It's where I got saved, baptized, and taught so many things about life and love. It's this church that sent my family Christmas presents just a few months after we began attending. It's this church that supported our family when my dad had cancer. It's this church that prayed for me through years of college. It's this church that I can walk into and feel at home at anytime. When I was 12 or 13, our church welcomed a new pastor. It was tough at first. We didn't have a lot of the guardrails he wanted to put in place. We didnt want them. We thought he might have been a little power hungry. Years later I look back and i know he was exactly what God had for us at that time. He is the man that was exactly what we needed. Of course, with a pastor, comes his children. I was intimidated. As a "nerd," I got intimidated easily. Tomorrow (Friday) one of his daughters will get married. I'm happy to say that my intimidation was ill founded and i found friends among his children. They truly want to live for Christ in a world where it's not always easy. I found many other friends at WCBC. Some are still in my life and some broke my heart. They walked away from me as they walked away from God and the church (not that walking away from a particular church building is walking away from God, but in some cases, thats just how it works). As we entered college, my youth group friends began to tentatively reach to discover what we really believed. I am happy to say, that most of what I found was what I had already been taught. Our church has grown as we have. At first our searching was examined and a little misunderstood. There were hurt feelings and frustration to work through, but its amazing that once lines of communication were opened, we understood what was going on...on both sides. No church is perfect, and there are things that can always be improved, but I'm so happy to call that place home. I don't understand how people can be brought up around such amazing, loving people, and turn away from all they have been taught and experienced. I know God's word will not return void. For those of you there, I miss you all more than words can say. My heart has been aching lately to return home, even for a little while, but I know that God has my here at this time in my life for a reason.
Home #2. When I started my time at mbbc I didn't really know what I was getting myself into. I prayed that I was making the right choice. I had peace that I was, but I knew no one. Through God's evident leading, He brought me to Berean Baptist Church. I've been there for 4 years, and I have learned that the body of Christ I was a part of at WCBC wasn't limited to that church. I have found families that have taken us in for meals and good times. I have found friends that spiritually challenge me, and I have found a place to use my talents to serve my God. I am so thankful to know that I have a home away from home.