God has plans that we don't always foresee, however, and in June, one weekend when the boys were at a family gathering with their father, Norah and I took up my friend's invitation to check out the church that we both worked at during the week, that she and her family have attended for many years.
Every Sunday since that day in June, with the exception of less than a handful where the kids or I were very sick (or it was -40 degrees outside), I have sat amongst her family at 8:30am to worship our God and learn more about Him. They welcomed my children and I into their church and their family, and we have felt at home ever since.
The opportunity arose this month to attend an informational night on church membership, and without hesitation, I decided to go.
This morning, I started at the gate. I am now a member of the Church at the Gate. Not only have we been welcomed as family by my friend, but now we belong to the church family officially.
I've felt for months I belonged there, and it feels solidifying to vow myself as a member there. It's exciting and challenging all the same time. I don't know what will come of our time there yet. What I do know is that we are welcome and wanted.
I was talking with the Children's pastor, who I also consider a friend now, how I feel like I know it's the right place to be because my children have been excited pretty much every single Sunday since June to attend church and Sunday school. They've made relationships with kids and adults there too. They love going on Wednesday nights too, and the staff and volunteers who interact with my children are so kind and patient, and many have let me know personally they really appreciate my children and want us there.
This past week was the official end of my marriage and the family that I had hoped, dreamed, prayed, and fought years for.
But today, we were adopted into a new family, a large family, one that I have faith will support and encourage us for our journey ahead.
I pray that I will have the strength and courage to open myself up wholly and let the family really get to know me. I have struggled for many years letting "strangers" or new people really in, especially spiritually. But I feel like I have grown so much in this area already that God will carry me through it in time.