Pictures of Our Apartment

We made it! It took several days, but we got here a week ago. Our furniture arrived two days later. Stuffed the storage unit, but the apartment feels comfortable.

The back of the car is holding all the boxes – need to fit those in the storage unit somehow!

It was 70 degrees and sunny two days ago, but today is our second snowfall in a week.

Seems like this could be a bigger storm – supposed to snow on and off for the next couple of days, after it takes a break this afternoon. What a fine time for my hubby to travel to Mexico! Still, at least I don’t have to shovel.

Didn’t get to a church yesterdayūüėē. Drove hubby to Denver airport instead – snow was already starting up there, so drive was slow-going. Son and his girlfriend came over last night and we all made dinner – fun to be living near him!

I think I’m going to like living here in Colorado. It feels a little like we’re on vacation, but I’m sure that will settle down as time goes by, and it will feel more like home instead of holiday.

The cats are adjusting to apartment life. They discovered the top of the cabinets!

Today, they’re each sleeping curled up and staying warm, including one who crawled up under the covers. I wonder if they’re responding to all the snow?!

As the saying goes, “So there you have it!” Blogging from my new home in Colorado Springs. Not so much Spring today, though. I think I’ll curl up like the cats and take a nap!

Girls’ Night Out

I have a new friend, Kim. We met this summer at a wedding, but just finally connected a few weeks ago over breakfast. She invited me out with some of her friends last night – what a nice time!

We went to a wine bar, had yummy ros√© and sandwiches, then walked a couple of blocks to the local live theater. It was a lovely evening. Good to meet some women my own age – finally! Up until now, I’ve known one or two women who are in my age range – most of my female friends here in VA are older or younger than me by 10+ years.

I realized, as I arrived and took off my coat, that I haven’t really been out with a small group of girl friends for almost three years. When I first moved to VA, I was invited to a woman’s house for a discussion of a particular cookbook and eating plan, but I felt out of place and self-conscious in that group – I didn’t know anyone, not even really the hostess, though we’re friends now. Before that, there was once in FL, just before I was moving, when my neighbor ladies took me out for a goodbye dinner.

Prior to that, I went out many times with women my own age, while living in Wisconsin. I was friends with women who had children my kids’ ages, so that automatically brought common companionship. I was in weekly Bible Study and prayer groups with fellow women at the same stage of life as me. I suppose that’s expected – we had life in common.

Besides those groups, and the wonderful team of women with whom I worked daily, I’d get together for breakfast or coffee with a few friends on a pretty regular basis. Then there’s my dear friend with whom I shared many dinners over the years. And let’s not forget my weekly call with my best friend!

I remember many years ago, when my dad was leaving for almost two weeks on a mission trip to Africa. My mom and I had multiple conversations about what she was going to do while he was gone, and she had made plans with several female friends for activities while he traveled, to help offset the potential loneliness of him being away. And we talked then about how important it is to have female friendships!

I think I’ve complained here on this blog about being lonely, longing for nearby relationships with women my own age. So I was excited when my schedule opened up last night – I usually have a Tuesday evening commitment. It worked out beautifully that I was free last night to join this “new” group of ladies. I had just recently bought a new dress, and thought how cute it would look with boots; I’d get dressed up for Girls’ Night – a nice change from my regular sweater and jeans.

But yesterday afternoon, I almost backed out. I had returned home after running errands, and I thought how nice it would be to stay home and make dinner with my husband, share a bottle of wine, and watch Netflix together. But he told me to go, and said that I needed some female companionship. He knows me so well!

I’m glad he pushed, and I’m very glad I went. And the dress looked great with the boots!

Finding a Church Home, part 2

(Follow-up to earlier post…)

I do not consider myself a consumer of church. I don’t go to be entertained. I am a worshipper, as I think Christ-followers are called to be. Yet finding a place to attend each Sunday has been difficult.

“Church shopping” is easier now than ever, as I can listen to local pastors’ sermons on their websites. I can hear the Worship Teams. I can read the local churches’ beliefs and mission statements, and see what they offer for discipleship and mission work. Still, we have to attend to really get the “feel” of the place. And that takes time – it’s not usually a one-visit kind of thing.

I’ve been doing a word study of “joy” from my Bible’s concordance. Not exhaustive, but many verses. I’ve been writing them out in my journal, as I seek to understand what joy should look like in my life. Yesterday, I had to stop with Psalm 42:4, NLT.

My heart is breaking
    as I remember how it used to be:
I walked among the crowds of worshipers,
    leading a great procession to the house of God,
singing for joy and giving thanks
    amid the sound of a great celebration!

It reminded me of Sundays in WI where we attended church.¬† How I miss being among friends at church, that “feeling connected” feeling.

The church we’re currently attending is more Pentecostal than anything we’ve ever been part of. This is a stretch, but I feel God growing me in seeing the work of the Holy Spirit in my life and others’ around me. The pastor is humble, and a good teacher. His sermons are soundly Biblical, he teaches from God’s Word, and there are lots of practical and spiritual applications to daily life. The women of the Connection Group I’m attending each Tuesday morning – while all are older than me – have been very welcoming and gracious.

I hate to admit this, but it’s the worship team where we’re stuck. That divisive, age-old issue of worship style.¬†And actually, it’s not the style, it’s the sound. The music is at such a particular pitch and loud volume that it literally hurts our ears.

So what do we do? We like the size of the church, the people are friendly, and the sermons are solid. I may not enjoy singing every chorus through six times (no exaggeration), but I can pray when I don’t want to sing anymore. But what do we do about physical pain?

I’ve been praying that God will lead us to the local church where He wants us. Where we can worship Him fully, be fed spiritually, and serve Him faithfully. I’m just not sure if we’ve found it yet.¬†

Fellow Christ-followers, I welcome your insights and advice. Please.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another‚ÄĒand all the more as you see the Day approaching.‚Ä̬† ‚Ä≠‚Ä≠(Hebrews‚Ĩ ‚Ä≠10:24-25‚Ĩ, ‚Ä≠NIV‚Ĩ‚Ĩ)

Bible study

Yay! I found a daytime Women’s Bible study!

I’ve been looking since we moved to Virginia seven months ago. I expect it to be a place to meet with like-minded women, hopefully make new friends, maybe even find a church home.

It was important to me that it meet during the day. My evenings with my husband are already short; by the time we eat dinner, it’s almost bedtime! And so I like to be home with him in the¬†evenings. Besides, I have lots of free time during my weekdays, so I’d prefer to spend a couple of hours for a group¬†study¬†during the daytime.

Yesterday was our second week, and the women were just as friendly as at our first meeting. There was coffee (whew!) and several round tables with comfy chairs. The study is a video format by a popular Bible study leader – Believing God by Beth Moore. The table discussion was good and the video thought-provoking.

In fact, the Holy Spirit has already pricked my conscience, and I’m finding God’s Word quite convicting, as it should be. I realized through last week’s study that I’ve been “resting on my spiritual laurels,” and then wondering why my faith didn’t feel strong. I’ve looked back at my life before our relocations, and compared my present-day faith to what it looked like then. I’ve been longing for a vibrant faith like I had before, but see now that my faith needs to be active to grow.

While I’m not currently in any kind of church leadership, that’s no excuse for a lazy faith. God has given me time to spend with Him, time to grow in His Word, and I’ve wasted it. My lack of spiritual friendships is also no excuse for my “stuck” faith. I can grow in my faith by studying God’s Word, spending time in prayer, and cultivating our relationship. It shouldn’t be dependent on others.

At the same time that these things are true, I do need other believers in my life. I need a regular weekly dose of God’s people, which means regular church going. It’s been easy to not go to church since we haven’t found one yet where we’re comfortable worshiping and serving. But that lack of attendance has been to my detriment, and I’ve missed out on hearing God’s Word on a consistent basis.

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.  Romans 10:17, NIV
So back to church. Regularly attending Bible Study and doing the daily homework. Continuing my bi-monthly prayer group (even though it meets in the evenings, Moms In Prayer is important to me). Time in God’s Word, getting to know Him more. Watch out as my faith grows!

Finding a church

We’re shopping for churches. Sort¬†of. I mean, we’d have to attend to officially be shopping, and we aren’t really trying yet. In the five weeks I’ve lived here, we’ve been to one church one time.

I don’t like the shopping analogy, but that’s what it is – trying on different congregations. Finding a church to attend regularly. Trying to determine¬†if it’s a place where we want to become active participants, where we can¬†contribute to the local body of Christ. Where the message of the Gospel is taught. Where we can become engaged, not simply entertained.

Some people never miss church – it’s where they are, every Sunday. On vacation. In snowstorms. Not fair-weather attenders, but faithful followers.¬†I can’t say that’s me. I know church is important, and I have been an active member of several congregations in my lifetime, where I’ve been able to serve and be ministered to. But not since my childhood have I attended every single service the week has to offer. Not even close.

When we were first married and we missed a Sunday, I was overwhelmed with incredible guilt. Hard to distinguish if it was the Holy Spirit, or my own accusations. But like anything, it became easier to miss the more I missed. When I felt particularly guilty about missing, I might do a Bible study lesson or watch a sermon online. Not always because I wanted to, but sometimes simply to assuage my guilty feelings.

These are not pretty things I’m admitting to. I’m not proud of my spotty attendance in this search for a new church home. And I don’t want to¬†make excuses. I’m hoping that if I write it down, it will help¬†me figure out why it’s so hard.

In the 15 months we lived in Florida, we attended 3 different churches – repeatedly each time – until we finally felt like we might have landed in one where God could use us and we were comfortable. We were just getting settled into a routine there; that lasted a few weeks, and then we moved to VA.

So now we start over. Like I said, we’ve been to one church one time. We haven’t been back, nor have we been to the other churches on the list of potentials. It takes effort, and it’s easy not to go. It’s hard to always be the strangers, the ones sitting in the pew alone. A greeter shakes our hands and we are welcomed. Barely.

But I’ve been in this place before, and I know that relationships happen in small groups, in repeated fellowship. So I’m joining an evening women’s Bible study at this church. Maybe it will make Sunday mornings easier.