March is here, as almost unfathomable as that is.
After a long, cold winter there are signs of spring sprouting everywhere.
And this weekend we put the sunshine to good use, with another busy but great weekend. (That’s how things seem to roll around here lately.)
Friday Mikael and the boys had band practice in my hometown (not an Adele reference).
That meant I, the dutiful #bandwife, had a great excuse to lounge around my parents’ house on Pinterest and to cuddle with my favorite puppy nephew.
I got a free cup of coffee out of it somehow too. All in all, not a shabby way to spend the evening.
Please consider this your first of many personal invitations to that show.
They’ll be playing some familiar worship songs, some originals they’ve worked really hard on, and it should make for an exciting evening for the young and young-at-heart.
It’s also designed to be a great chance for the churches in town to come together (not a Beatles reference) for a night of music. I’m pretty stoked about that too; I love it when churches unite for good music or a good cause (I think it's a good reminder that heaven probably won't be segregated by denominations).
Back to our weekend, Saturday we slept late (of course).
Then we walked to see our favorite donut store lady who gave the charming hubby a free kolache. (Lucky him!)
We don’t eat donuts very often these days, but I sure love when we do, mostly ‘cause I can think of no better way to motivate me for cardio than to dangle donuts or coffee in my path.
It’s very effective. Maybe.
To combat our “bad breakfast” we headed to the local farmers’ market that afternoon.
It was beautiful.
I forget how much colorful fruits and vegetables, especially stacked neatly in adorable, old-fashioned baskets, make my heart mushy.
I love junk food as much, if not more, than the next person, but even cream-stuffed donuts can’t get my heart racing as much as a gorgeous basket of fresh strawberries, or even a bushel of brussel sprouts. (Crazy, huh?)
There’s just something about seeing such a fresh, colorful
bounty like that.
It’s sort of like spotting those first, reassuring signs of spring.
With our bags full, and our pockets emptied of cash, we headed to eat downtown while we were out.
It had been weeks since we’d been to Deep Ellum. I forget how much I really do love it down there.
The graffiti-d walls. The skyscrapers at sunset. The super random palm trees.
There’s something sorta magical about a big city at twilight (not a vampire reference). Or maybe I just need to get out more. Your call on that.
Though we had a great time Saturday, and Friday was nice too, by far my favorite day of the week is Sunday.
It really is a day of rest around here, a day for recouping from a long week, a day for drinking my coffee slowly.
About a month ago we started visiting a church that meets in the evenings.
It’s non-denominational, but what some would call emerging I guess.
It meets in an office space in Dallas, where they take communion each week with actual bread. And the pastor is a girl. (Imagine that. True story.)
But we didn’t choose to go there ‘cause it’s trendy, or non-traditional.
We go there because the people are witty and educated and funny, and relatable.
And... more importantly... they make me think, a lot, the way they talk about God, and life, the way they live as a community, the way they’re concerned about global issues it’s all-too-easy for me to ignore.
And that’s something I need, at this stage in my life.
To be encouraged and challenged. To be part of a community that makes me feel at ease, while drawing out the best from me.
And the fact that these great people meet in the evenings is maybe the best thing of all (kidding, kind of).
Because instead of rushing to get ready with the sunrise, instead of fighting traffic to get there, then fighting for a table at the best nearby lunch spots…
We get to lounge around for a bit on Sunday mornings, and that’s such a nice change of pace for this season in my life.
Before you go painting me as someone that hates traditions though, you should know…
Some of my favorite people in the world still get dressed up and head to church faithfully, every Sunday morning. They sing hymns or worship songs, and sit in pews or padded chairs.
Other people I love throw on jeans and sit on couches, in a living room where they talk about Jesus and grace.
Still others meet on Saturday nights, and go for beers after to discuss what God’s been doing in their lives. (Scandallllous!!!! ;) )
Some gather right alongside the people that live under a bridge, sharing music and stories, and the power of doing life together.
Some have church with dancers, in a strip club, with a cross attached to a pole on the stage behind them.
Some meet outside, weather permitting, to praise the Creator while taking in the beauty of His work.
And I think all those people are wonderful, and I respect them very much, just as I respect the people I know that don’t want anything to do with church.
They're people that don’t believe in God, or maybe have just been hurt by His people, but just because we don't agree about things doesn't mean we can't be friends. They are incredibly kind people, who are honest about their thoughts and their stances. And I'm learning a lot from them. In many ways I hope to be more like them.
It’s so hard in this day and age to be vulnerable, to have open conversations with people that think differently than you.
But it’s so important, I think, and that’s why I’m so thankful to have people in my life that are teaching me to be kind, above all else.
I'm thankful to be learning slowly how much better it is to show love, than to prove a point, much less try to "win" an argument, especially one being fought "in Jesus' name."
I was richly blessed to grow up with people that lived that principle out in their own lives, and not just on Sunday mornings.
In their business dealings, in their conversations (and gratuity) towards waitstaff, and in their interactions with my coaches, teachers, friends...
They lived kindness, so much so I grew up thinking that was the norm.
It has broken my heart, and also challenged me, realizing not every person has had similar experiences with "church people."
I hate that many people have been hurt by an entity that claims Christ's sweet name.
In many ways I'm ashamed by the company I keep.
But because I've seen so many good examples too, because I've read what church can be, I can't give up on the beauty of a group of people that have been touched by grace, living in community and using their lives (their talents, their money, their time, their voices) to share that same free grace that saved them freely with the rest of the world.
Getting back to our sleeping late on Sunday, for years, my very Southern Baptist parents kindly encouraged me to find a church where I would feel at home.
And I knew they meant well, they wanted the best for me. But in my mind I kept adding a condition.
“Find a church… but make sure it’s just like our church.” That’s what I heard them saying.
It’s taken the better part of my adult life to accept that the clause I lived under was mine, not theirs.
They really just wanted (want!) me to experience life in community, being encouraged, and serving with other people that have experienced God’s grace the way they have.
Because they know what a blessing that can be, living in Christian community, they want that same positive experience for their kids.
Whether that community calls itself Southern Baptist or not, they want to know we're actively participating in God's redemptive work, by being his hands and feet, with other members of the Body of Christ. (Membership cards and letters not required; correct me if I'm wrong on this Dad.)
As spring approaches, I’m so very glad to have found just that.
A community. A place to seek Truth, to ask questions, to serve and to celebrate the blessings in life.
A place I can be of use. A place I can let my guard down.
A place I can admit my frustrations, seek solutions, and humbly ask for help on this journey I'm on.
I love that we are on the verge of a new season, one characterized by growth and thawing and second chances, and hope.
And I pray this will be a time of enrichment, that it will be a season marked by grace and kindness and newness of life and hearts.
It was a cold and dark and dividing winter. There were times I didn't want to leave my cave, and other times I didn't want to get out of bed.
I just wanted to be wrapped in the blankets of comfort and security I was used to. I wanted to hide out until the cultrual climate seemed safer.
But now the sun is shining; it's beckoning me to come out and enjoy the day.
And I don't want fear to keep me from answering its call.
It's time to take a deep breath, change out of my PJs, and begin again.
I hope you'll join me out there.