I spent much of my childhood as a pastor's kid. Even after that season ended, church was and has always been a big part of my life. I've attended several, received a paycheck from two, sang in dozens, and peed in one baptistry. Ha! OK, I can't claim that. It was my brother who peed in the baptistry, but it just seemed the perfect way to end that sentence. I did drink my share of leftover communion juice in the prep room after service. Cup by tiny little cup. True story.
In our early married years, we were heavily involved at my home church, and I worked there in a few different positions over several years. It was and always will feel like home to me. I know every corner of that building and have endearing and/or embarassing stories about half the members. Don't get me wrong--it was messed up and flawed like every church is. But my literal family attended there, plus a couple hundred other people that feel like family. Then about 5 years ago we moved to a new town where Trent works, and started attending a new church. It was a tough move for me and, to be honest, I kind of resigned myself to the fact that it would never be the same. Never be as good. Never feel like home.
But then...time passed. We slowly started committing to different ministries. Steadily attended the same service and started seeing the same faces...even in a large crowd. Joined a small group and choir--well, I did. ;) Signed up for Bible studies, retreats. Went to BBQ's, potlucks and girls' night out. Had dinners and playdates with acquaintances who slowly became friends. Then good friends. Then walked into church one Sunday morning and realized it felt like home.
But what I really didn't expect was the way My Church has responded to our adoption. From the minute I confidentially shared my heart with a couple choir members in January of 2010, we've felt nothing but support. And not just the obvious kind [$$$], but they totally came through in that regard as well! I'm talking about selfless and generous giving, texts, emails, letters, laywers and notaries donating their time and expertise, written prayers, verbal prayers, chosen Scripture verses for us and for Asher, sincere inquiries about how the process is going, how I'm doing, quickly followed by a temperature check to see if I'm sick of being asked about how the process is going and how I'm doing. There are so many women I know who did not bat an eye when I passed out pictures of our son like a crazy grandmother...and then turned around and put his picture on their refrigerator like he was theirs.
But in the past week alone, I have been brought to tears several times by the compassion of my friends at this church. A couple of my dearest friends went ahead and started planning a celebration/shower for Asher--even though I felt silly confessing that it would be nice to have one. And if you know these friends, you'll know that it's going to be sentimental and unique and perfect for me. I'm so humbled at the very thought of it! We don't need a lot of things, but they already love my son and want to celebrate and honor him.
Then another friend, whom I know would prefer to stay anonymous, but her name rhymes with Schmandace, planned the most amazing gift for me. She said the Lord kept bringing our family to her mind after our approval, and she's thinking (rightfully) that this last 3 month stretch before we meet Asher are going to be long and difficult. So, God gave her the idea to round up a prayer army, and one of my precious friends is assigned to pray for our family of 5 every day between now and June 3rd. They may or may not contact me on the day they are assigned. Since Sunday, I've received emails, texts, cards and sbux delivered to my door, an ADOPTION HAIKU (!!), a muffin and card waiting for me at Bible study...each celebrating the day on the countdown and reminding me that they are thinking of us, interceding for us and asking the Lord to prepare Asher's heart for his transition into our family. I'm pretty sure that since we have 87 days left, the same 8 friends will be getting lots of assigned days. ;)
I KNOW. It's kind of ridiculously amazing how God knew all along that this is where I would be at this season, and prepared this group of people--I'm especially particular to all the girlfriends--to surround and sustain us. My family and my Home church family have never wavered in their support--they are just as supportive and excited as I knew they would be! But my joy is made even more complete by being a part of a local church who has jumped on board with the concept of adoption and are awaiting the arrival of our son, because he, too, will become part of their family. One friend teasingly warned me that "He's not just your son. It kind of feels he's a part of all of us!" I couldn't be more thrilled with that thought.