“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” –James 1:2-4
Our first experience away from our home church . . . I suppose it was silly of me to think that it would all be easy. We moved July 4th, and by the end of the box-carrying, grocery shopping, and cooking for our army of volunteers, I was completely worn out. After the dust settled, I was anxious to go to church, hoping miraculously that I might find Rejoice here. It was so much harder than I expected. Nothing was the same. We are accustomed to people meeting us at the door, wandering around the church to talk with one another. We watched people fall silently into their pews. We are accustomed to contemporary praise music. We were instructed to sing from our hymnals. It’s not that I mind hymns at all . . . I like many of them and enjoy singing them. There were just too many differences in one weekend for me to handle. The pastor spoke well (all about liberty and the value of freedom to choose), but he wasn’t my pastor. I kept thinking how it wasn’t my choice to be here! I cried through the entire service, and I hate crying. I am NOT a crier. After waking up in an unfamiliar place on an unfamiliar street, with very little unpacked, meeting a new and very different church pushed me over the edge. All of a sudden, I was grieving the loss of my church and my friends in a very public place, and I think there was just a little bit of a temper tantrum mixed in. In retrospect, I think my emotions caused me to judge the church a little bit unfairly. I’m sure they’re a wonderful congregation. They even gave us a jar of homemade peach jam for visiting (which is delicious in a PB&J sandwich). I was just too traumatized by the event to ever visit again. I just wanted to go home to my little house in Columbia.