I talked in my first blog about our search for a church home. I want to elaborate on that a little bit. The first thing that I would like to do is explain a little bit about my faith journey up to this point.
I grew up in a fairly small town, in a fairly small church. I was baptised as an infant at my grandparents' church in Ft Worth, and around the time I was 3, my mom found the place that would become my church home-Grace Presbyterian Church. After my sister was born, my mom quit work and became VERY involved in our church life. My closest friends (aside from Erin and Stacie) were church friends. By the time I was in sixth grade, it seemed that my faith was absolutely cemented in place. Our youth group actually won an award from an organization in town for service, and I was one of the kids selected to miss school (woohoo!) to go accept the award on our behalf. In seventh grade, I and a couple of my girlfriends joined the church choir. I babysat church memebers' children, worked in the church nursery (back in the days before you were required to know CPR and stuff...). Needless to say, church was a HUGE part of my life.
High school hit, and with it, I got much busier and didn't have much time for church. It didn't help that the youth leader we'd had while I was in junior high left for another church, and we'd had a string of unsuccessful youth leaders. Some weren't cut out for the job, others just weren't cut out for us. We were a group of kids who had literally known each other all of our lives, and acted more like siblings than like church friends. Very few kids came into or left our group, mostly because of the town we lived in. It probably wasn't an easy dynamic for a strange adult to walk into. By the time I turned 16, my mom sort of left the decision up to me whether to attend Sunday services or not. And of course, I mostly chose not.
I graduated from high school, still probably more involved in church than a lot of kids, but not as involved as I had been. Our youth group had wanted for many years to go on some sort of trip. We had a groupd of parents who didn't want to send us on a ski trip, despite many years of trying, and we finally hit on a mission trip. We weren't ready to head off to a foreign country, besides, there is plenty of mission work to be done here in the US. So off to Alabama we went. Having family in AL, I had been there plenty of times and knew what to expect. Hot, humid, pretty much the same as TX. The trip was fun, and I do think that I got some spiritual food out of it, but I don't think it was until the trip to Colorado (also a state where we have family-the joke was that the McLoud kids had family everywhere) that the mission trip finally really made an impact. I had gone off to college by then, lived in the dorms, joined a sorority, and not even attempted to find a church home in my new town.
Needless to say, by the time that I got to this trip (not sure if it was #2 or 3), I was carrying some unnecessary burdens. Its TOUGH to be a sinner and not give it up to someone else.....That year, something touched me, and I learned to let go. For then. I still don't do it well. I kind of don't think that anyone does. Not only do I hang onto the sins, I hang on to all of my burdens-financial, parental, et cetera....
Fast forward several years, I met my future husband, still lived in the same town, and still hadn't found a church. For one thing, the church I grew up in was (is) really hard to let go of. Its taken a long time for me to realize that I am not likely to find another church like it, and that the best I can do is find a church that provides me with what I need to survive in a world that seems to be more and more of a mess each day. That, and I need to find a church that will provide Hailey with the kind of Christian experience that she needs. I hope that we will find a place that will nurture her as Grace nurtured me and my siblings.
So in the 17 months since Hailey was born, we have been much more active in searching for a church. We found a church that worked for both of us in Dallas, then we moved. To Tulsa. There have been several churches that seem like they are almost a match since we moved here, but unfortunately since we moved at the end of the school year, we caught Easter, then Memorial day, then VBS, 4th of July, Senior Sundays (not in that order)-in short, there have been a lot of Sundays that were not "normal" Sundays, meaning we did not get to hear a regular sermon. So we keep trying. And keep praying. And ask our friends and family to do the same.
Finally, as this has gone on WAAAAY longer than I intended to, I want to get to the title of this. I believe that there are "accidental moments" in our lives that seem to be inconvenient until later. I had one of those today, and I feel like I need to share it. Hailey and I went to meet Chad for lunch and ended up at a restaurant that was farther away than we usually travel during his hour lunch break. He was fretting on the way back that he was going to be late. En route, we passed a fire truck going the opposite direction. Not that unusual, there is a fire station right by the restaurant that he words for. After we dropped him off, Hailey and I got on the highway, and before I traveled a mile saw brake lights. There was an accident on the highway. No one seemed to be badly injured, but a car had rolled across the entire width of the highway-all 4 lanes. There was debris scattered across the road, and only one lane was getting through as a result. The accident was extremely recent, because the back up was only about 5 cars deep (trust me, I know-I used to drive 635 in Dallas every day).
The moral of the story is this-sometimes God says to all of us, "Hey!! I'm here!! Pay attention!!!" I know that only one paragraph of this blog was about such an incident, but I felt like I needed to share the rest too. There is NO such thing as a coincidence, only divine interventions. PAY ATTENTION....He may be talking to you.
Thank you, God, for watching over me and my little angel today and keeping us out of harm's way. Please let this experience be a lesson for someone else who may be struggling to find You as I have struggled over the years to keep You in my sight. In YOUR name, Amen.