So, after all the sagas of the past few years, why the PCA? It’s a question I still ask, probably because I used to be in the “reformed baptist” camp. There was a period when we considered going outside of the PCA, even here in St. Louis, but the denomination seems where we’ve been led and where we belong. For us, the reformed systematic best makes sense of the Scriptures, and its focus on the melding of the indicatives and the imperatives of the faith are what my recovering legalist heart needs on a weekly basis.
Before our family moved to Maplewood last July, the girls and I had gotten to know several families in our new neighborhood through various homeschooling events. A majority of these families went to a neighborhood PCA church right up the street from where we are now living (we had visited this church during our first almost-leaving experience 2.5 years ago and I was ready then to switch, but, as I said, we didn’t feel the freedom from the Lord to do that then). As this year has passed, our family has gotten to know these families even more, and whereas the girls knew many people at Church D, they had real friends in place at Church E. Thankfully, so did I.
Here’s the thing about me and friendships: they are hard to come by. I’m not the type who needs lots and lots of friends, but to even have one with the potential of becoming close is very important. I certainly had a friend like that at Church D (and am still good friends and plan to continue to be so), but being at the tail end of our time of serious life transition meant that I needed friends who were planted (or planting) here, with no immediate moves on their horizon.
I also desperately needed someone who would be in the homeschooling trenches with me. In light of this need, Church E seemed like a good fit because of the aforementioned already-established friendships. Two of them are part of our weekly Classical Conversations group with us; the others we see fairly frequently at various social gatherings we sometimes attend. In leaving Church D, it seemed obvious (for community reasons, at least) that Church E should be the first place we’d visit.
Church E is where we’ve been now for three months. The girls, who struggled with yet another transition in their young lives, were thrilled by the fact that the first Sunday we went to Church E, their two good friends from our Classical Conversations group were waiting for them at the front door. They took off with these gals and we didn’t hear another word about it (actually, we did hear about all the other kids they knew there and how excited they were to be in church with them).
Going to Church E isn’t this magical experience of “Ooooo, it’s the perfect place for us. Don’t we just fit right in here?” Not at all. As we’ve learned far too well firsthand, there is no such thing as a perfect church. The thing that is different here is that my kids’ level of comfort and familiarity is not directly tied to my own; in this regard, they are helping me, and I can feel the healing that comes because of that.
This period of anonymity is nice, too. Besides those we knew before arriving at Church E, few really know us or about us. Nobody is asking Craig to teach anything because of his Nav background or his book; nobody is offering me a contract with a blood-filled pen to step into teaching a children’s class. So far, we’re being allowed to be…and that’s been nice and needed.
While we don’t want to stay in the realm of simply being, that’s where we find ourselves right now, and this is what we need to heal from the past in order to ready ourselves for the future – a future we hope will be one of true community with those in this church. We hope this will be the church our kids will come home to during college…maybe later get married in…maybe one day call home.