Friday, November 8, 2013

Give 8

Give thanks -    30 days of  gratitude...
I rejoiced with those who said to me,  "Let us go to the 
house of the Lord."   Psalm 122: 1
Today I am grateful for my church family.  One might think I am speaking only of my current congregation.  The precious people worshipping there are certainly part of  whom I am writing; but they aren't the only ones.  
Growing up in upper East Tennessee, I worshipped with three different church families at different points in my life between the ages of newborn and 27.  
I have written before about being born at the hospital across the street from the church my family attended.  My daddy ran across the street after my Sunday morning, 9:45 am birth and taught his Sunday school class.  We were part of that church family for my first three years.
For the next three to four years, our family went to a very small congregation in a community situated between two of the three cities making up the tri-cities.  I found some wonderful people in that church family with whom I am still in contact.
Because my siblings had grown into their teenage years, and the small church didn't have (m)any young people, my parents decided to move us back to our hometown congregation.  That is where I attended until I was married with my first baby.  I am still in touch with and feel a lifetime connection with many of the souls I knew and with whom I worshipped. 
Years before that time, a group of Christians had decided to do a church plant in the part of town with our local college/university.  That plant was successful and the small congregation grew.  That is where my husband and I attended church with our baby girl; our son was born into that church family.  I found so much love and support during a very difficult period of separation from my husband during that pregnancy and the first few months of our son's life.  I have many friends still from that church including one "bestie" friend whom I see several times a year. 
I recently celebrated my 25th anniversary of living in Knoxville.  I have been part of two congregations in this hometown.  I have attended my current church home for nineteen of those years - blessed by amazing love and spiritual growth in this family of believers.  I have never seen a church which better displays the love of Christ in a real, living way.   The generosity when someone has a need is astounding.  The Bible  teachers are phenomenal!  
Our other church home was a safe haven during a stormy part of life and I am so glad we had that experience of a very large church family.  I recently wrote in another post about one of my church homes but it holds true for all of them - 

"when you are part of the Lord's body, home is close; family is just under the steeple; it showed me a glimpse of heaven for which I long - unity, love, family."
I don't see the majority of the people of whom I am writing with any type of regularity; but we maintain contact through social media with an occasional face to face meeting.   When we do see one another or when I spend time with my current church family, I know I belong.  There is love and joy when I run into one of my brothers or sisters in Christ causing me to long for heaven and eternal unity.   I am grateful for my entire extended spiritual family!

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