While I have to refrain from the real thing for the next few months, last night I attended "Espresso" at my sister in law, Erin's, church.

I just wanted to say how much I enjoy these. I have gone to three thus far and every time I walk out with a new outlook on whatever current "situation" I have going on. It's basically a group of women who come together and discuss whatever the nightly topic is and how God is working through that with them, or how better to let him do so. At least that's what I get out of it. It is a relaxed, supportive and refreshing atmosphere. One in which you don't feel pressured or out of place or like you have to know the answers. It's basically like chatting with your girlfriends and that to me is the perfect setting...

A litte background: I was raised Catholic and Chris, Christian. I stopped attending church the day I graduated high school (and would have stopped sooner if my parents had let me) and Chris even a bit earlier. I had mixed feelings about church growing up and can't say that I learned much. The interesting thing, however, is that my belief in God has never faded. Even when in college it was most popular to believe otherwise, I really never doubted the fact that I indeed have faith. I know this is true for Chris as well.

I also thought that the day I decided I wanted to start incorporating church back into my life, it would be easy peasy. Pick one and go.

So when Chris and I decided sometime last year that it may be good to get back into the "church thing", we started trying out a few. The process proved to be much more difficult than I ever expected. To find something that suits both of our religious backgrounds, our current needs and a place that we feel comfortable attending (not to mention within a half hour from our house preferably) has been a challenge. So much of a challenge that we kind of just stopped.

I think that in all of my "time off", I have become more picky about what I want and what it is I am looking for. Writing that sounds very selfish, like I want something to suit just me. And in part I suppose it's true. But with all of the choices we make regarding where we are going to go to school, who are friends are, who we are going to marry, how we will raise our children, heck, even what we're going to have for dinner tonight, shouldn't the place you go to worship meet your ultimate needs? I'm sure I have this part all wrong - which is even more challenging.

And why do I feel as though I am the only one "stuck in the middle"? There are people who go to church and are happy campers and those who don't who are happy campers. Does anyone else ever feel like they are floating between the two? Kind of like camping without the s'mores, which would make it half happy camping...no?

I know that adding a child into this world will test me beyond belief and I am finding that I need a source of strength that is beyond myself or my husband. So for now, I am just taking baby steps. Baby steps to improve my spiritual relationship with God and baby steps to find something that feels right for me. I am hoping that I can be led in the right direction because at times it feels a bit overwhelming.

Last night's Espresso was the perfect baby step - so thank you Erin for always extending the invite.


Anonymous said...

I'm with you on the church hunt. It's not always easy! My problem is that I loved my church from home so much that no other place seems good enough. The truth of the fact is, if you like the style of preaching, that it going to be the deciding factor. If you can find a way to get plugged in whether it be a small group, joining the choir, or othe rministry, then those things can grow as you grow. But the preaching style is what matters. If you don't feel like you are gettin fed spiritually, then keep looking!

Brandee said...

Yes, indeed, this has been a struggle my entire adult life. Tony's too, to some extent. I was "raised" at St. Lukes off of Broadway. I was lucky that I had some friends from TR that went there, too. However, once I moved to Denver, it just wasn't convenient anymore, and the church changed a bit. I needed something that would grow with me, and it didn't really. When I was about 20 I started going to an "alternative" Christian church in Denver called Scum of the Earth. It was recommended to me by an ex boyfriend (who was also an ex youth pastor). It was for young people who didn't feel like they really fit into a normal Sunday morning atmosphere. I loved it and went numerous times for a few years. It got me through some hard times and helped foster a stronger relationship, which is what I wanted. It was actually pretty perfect. Then my bff started dating one of the young pastors there. He came over to my house and was a complete dick, completely judgmental, and I had a really hard time returning. Just goes to show you that the people and the FEELING can make all the difference. It has to be authentic! Your search makes so much sense. After that, my search continued...
Tony grew up in a pretty right-leaning-hardcore-Christian church. By his late teens he was completely turned off by it. Church, in general, kind of makes him feel uncomfortable. I know that if the atmosphere is right, and it is an accepting environment, he's more likely to go. We decided to try the Unitarian church in Denver. It was really great, but didn't feel 100% right for us, still. It's all about the feeling. I have heard the one in Lakewood/Wheat Ridge is stellar, though. Anyway....I ended up visiting (solo, usually) about 4 more churches in Denver before we moved to the mountains.
My search continued in the mountains, but I only made it to one church. It was fine, but didn't spark a fire or have me feeling empowered, clean, ready to face the week - which is what I'm looking for.

keep searching! Try L2 in Denver! I enjoyed it the one time i went...and my hair stylist has been going there for years (after her own search). www.l2today.com.

You'll find a church that just FEELS right. Just wait for it and don't settle! For now enjoy visiting different churches and seeing how different groups of people pray and worship.

[You totally didn't ask for my life story...]

Tiffany and Chris said...

Brandee, your in Breck right? We need to trade places! Our favorite church is Calvary Chapel in Breck on Main Street. We even considered the 1.5 hour drive each week, haha! Pastor Jimmy married us and he is great - check it out!