Brandi McDonald

Can your church just be your church for a point in your life?  Can you live in the same town and go to a different church than you previously went to?  Are you committed to just the one?  Are you letting down people by making a switch?  Are you making some big statement?  Or maybe, different stages of your life present you will different opportunities to connect with a new group of people.  Change can be good, and maybe the reasons you were at your church have changed as well.   

Life happens. 

When you go through trauma you have a tendency to block out your past. Big chunks of your life just seem to disappear. I can remember things from when I was 6 or 16, but from 6 years ago?  Nah.  It is like it is just gone.

I remember my now husband telling me this when we were dating.  You know that time when you are getting to know each other and sharing life stories?  Those beginning days when you have some mystery and don't know everything about one another.  He couldn't remember so much of his life, and I didn't really understand.  It must be a defense mechanism in your brain right?  Or, maybe you get so used to just trying to survive and keep your head above water for so long, you don't want to look back and relive those days.  Or, maybe for me it is the reality that my first marriage was a completed scam. I cannot filter out the lies from any truth, so why bother?

However, I can look back, and see where God was with me.  Those are the memories I don't block from my mind.  I remember signing up to volunteer to work a week long Vacation Bible School program at a church, before even stepping foot into the church.  I did not even know a single person that attended this church.  This church that would be my church home for the next three years.  The most difficult, trans-formative, and beautiful three years of my life.  These are the years that would shape me.  They did shape me.   This was my church for a moment in time, when I needed it the most.  And how did I know that this was where I was supposed to be?  Well God led me there, I just didn't know it until I took a chance and walked through those doors.  

I knew I was eager to get my family connected to a church in our new town.  We moved to the area, not really knowing anyone, just a week or two prior.  Our first Sunday in town, we arrived to the church early.  If you know me you know I arrive everywhere early.  There were just a handful of people sitting in the pews when we found our way inside, glancing around, trying to find a pew to sit at.  I walked in the doors and veered to the side.  I knew I did not want to be front and center for our very first day.  We would just slide in, see what this place was all about, and make our escape.  We didn't know anyone and had nobody we would be sticking around talking to do after the service.  

After finding that perfect spot, where maybe nobody would notice us, and we wouldn't upset any regulars from stealing their normal seating arrangements, I glance to my left and see a familiar face.  And not just any familiar face, the most familiar face I could have seen on a Sunday morning.  My preacher!  My preacher for the last 15 years of my life, in fact he married my husband and I.  But, what was he doing here?  I mean talk about a sign that I was in the correct spot that Sunday morning right?

My family of three quickly got up and went over to sit right behind him and his wife. I was thrilled to see two familiar faces and I quickly filled them that we were brand new to the church, this was our first time coming to visit, and that I was signed up to start volunteering to help with the Vacation Bible School starting tomorrow, even though we knew not a single person at this church and had never been inside the building before.  Of course, upon hearing all this, my childhood preacher introduced us to the preacher at the church.  At the end of the service, they called all the VBS volunteers to stand at the front of the church.  I think it was a way to pray over everyone, but it also shows that it doesn't take much to serve.  Anyone can do it, just look at this group of misfits up here.  The preacher even took the time to introduce us to the congregation.  We felt beyond welcomed.  I even remember my, then-husband, saying he really felt like this was the right church for us.  

Of all the weekends for us to try out a church and for all the churches for us to try out, we choose that weekend and that church.  What was the odds?  I only have one answer for that, it was a God thing.

God was showing me that this is where I needed to be.  When my entire world flipped a year later, it was right during VBS week.  I don't think I would have been able to face everything as well as I did without this church.  

God was there for me, all it took was a leap of faith and walking through those new door Sunday morning.  

If you have been thinking of trying something new, I would encourage you to do so.  Who know what will happen and who all will be there for you, just by you taking that first step.  Also, if you are feeling the urge to try a different church, give it a shot.  This was my church family for a few years, but it isn't my current church.  Different seasons, different churches.  Just because something was so perfect that day, doesn't mean that is where I was meant to be forever.  God uses us in different ways.  That day, those years, this is where God wanted me to me, and for that I am grateful. 


VBS Ready

January 09, 2022 — Brandi McDonald

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