Today was Thanksgiving lunch at church and it was so lovely. All day, I’ve been thinking about how thankful I am that this church has come into our lives this year. I’ve mentioned several times lately that I have been in a challenging season with my relationship to much of Christian culture.  This was especially true during the election and what has followed the election. My heart has been so grieved by people who choose to champion and defend terrible things for the sake of political power while ascribing my Jesus’s name to it…things that seem antithetical His character and teachings. It served as a catalyst that pulled some things that had been troubling me for a while into stark focus, and it became harder and harder to find Jesus in the cacophonous shouts that claimed to be speaking for Him. I couldn’t reconcile what I was seeing in much of Christian culture with who I know my Savior to be. It was a difficult time and it sent me searching. It sent me into the Word, it sent me into a season of questioning what I believe and why I believe it, and it sent me to look for a faith community that put Jesus first.

In the early spring sometime, I visited one church and I went by myself (which is so very contrary to my character). It was such a different experience than what I was used to, but it stirred my heart with great hope. One of the hymns we sang was Jesu, Jesu, which felt so strangely radical, but also so perfect. Everything was simple and beautiful and it was definitely about Jesus. It was the only church I needed to visit. I went a few more times before bringing the rest of our crew along (in fits and starts, because that’s how our life seems to run), and now it feels like home in many ways. It has been such a gift.

They have been so welcoming to all of us, and exceptionally accommodating and mindful of Josie’s needs. She can safely go to the nursery there and has grown to love it. She’s so excited to go to church every week now. It’s a small thing that is actually really huge for us because so much of the world is unsafe for her. They take the charge to love God and love ALL people seriously, and every week I am reminded of what it means to follow after Jesus and encouraged not to grow weary in doing good. I have desperately needed that this year. I needed to be reminded of the goodness in the body of Christ, and I have been. One of my favorite podcasts often talks about BEING a prayer to people, instead of just saying those words to hurting people, and this church has been a prayer to me just by existing and welcoming us in. And this year, on this day, I am so very thankful for that.