Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Ok....I can't help it. I HAVE to tell you about going to the new church this Sunday. I just can't help myself. Look, I'm Katie McNemar...I'm impulsive. I don't like to wait. When I have a good story bubbling away in me, I just can't keep it to myself. Just like the disciples, I'm imperfect, but excited about God! (This is going to be kindof a long blog...so I hope you are comfy!)
These last few months have been hard. I've had a lot going on with my friends, my family, my job, my life, heck...my dad and my dog had to have surgery in the same week. I knew that God was preparing me for something, and I kinda knew what it was....but I just couldn't do it. I couldn't make the move. I resisted....until the past few weeks.
Just for a bit of background:
When I moved to DC in January 2007, I thought it was totally temporary. I had just called off my wedding. I felt like everyone was shocked and hurt by what I did. I lived with and worked with my fiance. He was a Radiology resident and I worked in the Radiology Department. I felt like I couldn't go to work and I couldn't go home without continually being reminded of the pain. My friend Julie was kind enough to offer her couch to me. She lived just outside of DC. So I quit my job and moved. I never would have imagined that over three years later, I would still be in DC.
The whole time I've been here, I always felt like it wasn't my home. Like, living here was some sort of holding cell that I was put in until God was ready give me my "real" life. I thought of it as a transient city where people come for a few years, but they never stay. I kept trying to move back to WV, but it just wouldn't happen. Ask my poor family and friends in WV...every 3 months, I would declare that I was moving back. I would get everyone on the task of finding me a job. But...it just never worked out. I never ever thought that I would move into DC. I lived in Ashburn, VA, I lived in Alexandria, VA, and I lived in Germantown, MD....but I NEVER thought I would move into DC. BUT, here I am.
Anyway, so back to my revelation. I haven't gone to church in a few months and it's been really really hard on me. I need church to stay alive, just like I need to eat stay alive. It's not that I would literally die (I hope) if I don't go to church, BUT my soul loses it's power when I don't recharge my battery and get around people that can speak God's word into my life. I'm going to apologize to you all in advance for what I'm about to postulate...but here I go....I think that God knew that in order to get me to find a church in DC and consider it my home, grow where I am planted, and let go of what I am comfortable with...He would have to throw down many feet of snow to stop me from driving to Damascus or WV. So...I'm sorry that God had to have TWO snowpocalyses just so that I would finally relent and listen to Him. I'll do my best to listen earlier next time....won't let it happen again. Sorry.
Now to the part where I find a new church. Wajh has been so supportive and awesome over this really tough time of transition. She has had to say things to me that were very true, but were hard for her to say because she knew I didn't want to hear them. That's how you know you have a real friend. They care about saving your soul more than temporarily hurting your feelings. Wajh has watched me teeter-totter back and forth about setting off on my own..... keeping one foot in WV, not finding a church in DC. So this Saturday night, she and Hosai were at my place and she asked me if I was going to church in the morning. I told her some excuse about how I don't want to go back to Damascus because I know that God is asking me to find a new church, but I am just so tired from work and I just want to sleep in. Trying a new church takes too much energy, blah, blah, blah. Wajh looked me right in the eye with a seriously look on her face ( I don't get this face often) and said, "Listen, you need to get to church. Okay. I don't care which one it is, but honey, when you don't go to church..well...honestly, you get weird. You've been weird. You know it. I don't like it and neither do you. So, I don't care what you have to do....get to a church tomorrow." LOL! Isn't she awesome!? : ) I wish I could tell you that we had a Hallmark moment where I gave her a big smile and thanked her for her honestly and we drank chamomile tea and knitted scarves. Nah, it went a little something like this, (After staring at her for a few seconds due to shock) I said, "OR.....I could just do whatever I WANT." Classy, Katie. Real, classy. Don't worry, I eventually conceded to that fact that I've been "weird" and we all parted ways with smiles and laughter.
So, Sunday morning rolls around. Let me rewind for a sec and tell you that I had been looking up churches in DC for a few weeks. I had found one right away that seemed perfect. I sent the link to my mom and Wajh and they both thought it looked great. But, I just couldn't seem to make myself go. At Difference Makers I knew Kirk, so it wasn't hard to start going to church there. Which was great, because at that time in my life, I needed an easy transition. A new church where I didn't know anyone at all....and go all by myself...scary!
I didn't set my alarm clock because I was still being stubborn and wanted to sleep in. But at 8am, my eyes popped wide open and without thinking I was up getting ready. For what? I wasn't sure yet, but I hoped it involved coffee. What I did know was that I needed to meet with Jesus in a major way. So my initial thought was to go to Difference Makers....I knew that it would be guaranteed that I would meet with Jesus there...I've been meeting him there for 3 years. So I am putting on my makeup when I feel God saying to me, "SERIOUSLY! How many times to I HAVE to TELL you, Katie!? Don't you TRUST me!??? All I'm asking you to do is get into a cab in five minutes and go to The City Church. Can you DO THAT, please!? Gosh." Sometimes God has to be firm with me. : ) But I listened. I threw on whatever was closest to me and I ran outside and caught a cab.
When the cab pulled up outside. I knew.
I walked in and already felt at home. I can't explain it other than..well, it's a God thing. Let me take a moment to tell you all what is most important to me in a church...k!? Number One....It has to be a Bible based church that teaches the truth. I don't want to go to a church where they make up whatever they want to please people and get them in the door. Sometimes God's word is harsh and hard to hear....but any good Father disciplines his children. Number two....God's spirit has to be alive in the church. I want to be in a place where people feel free to worship and praise God in any way they want. If they want to raise their hands up, jump around, dance, fall down, yell, cry, sit still with their head bowed, pray quietly (all of which I have done many 'a time)...whatever God's Spirit moves them to do...I want them to feel free to do it. I never EVER thought I would feel that way, but honestly, all it takes is one touch from God and you won't be able to keep yourself from dancing sometimes. Number three...I just want to WANT to be there. I don't care if they have fancy stuff or free coffee....if God isn't there none of that matters.
Now to how I knew it was the right place to be. The sermon. The Pastor interrupted his regularly scheduled 4 week sermon on "One is Not the loneliest number" in order to preach about vision...and following the vision that God puts in your heart no matter what. He preached about how The City Church got started and how he had to trust in God completely just in order to have the strength to do it all. He talked about how without vision, we get fatigued in our everyday lives. Without a purpose, everything becomes a chore they weighs us down. He talked about how hard it is to live in DC, but he knew that God was calling him here because God is doing awesome things here. He talked about how working and living in DC can feel like running in the sand. It's hard, it takes more effort, and it makes you tired....but it also makes you stronger and more prepared. And one day...when you finally hit the pavement...you'll be able to easily sprint ahead.
That is when I realized it. DC is my home for now and God is saying to me that NOTHING is impossible with Him. I always thought that there is no way that I would ever meet a nice, respectful, awesome guy that would treat me right in DC....but God is telling me that NOTHING is impossible with Him. I always thought that DC was a hopeless city....and that it would take someone with way more experience than I have in order to reach out to the hurting people here...but God is telling me...."Don't you remember the disciples? They were farmers and fisherman. I will do even greater things through you. You are stronger than you know." All of the thoughts I had about DC are different. It's hard when people in WV want you to live there because they love you and love being around you. It's hard when people from your church don't want you to leave because they love you and miss you. But, God is who I answer to and He has been clear. Now that I have finally given up my fight, I have JOY in the place that I am. I know that big and wonderful blessing are happening to me every day and God has even bigger things in store than I can imagine.