leaving church

i never planned to leave my church. i simply planned to take about 9 months off for a last-few-months-of-pregnancy/transition-to-two-children "maternity leave". november 2011, thanksgiving weekend, i sang my last solo with the choir, and headed home filled and content, to a cozy fire and lunch in the oven. i hadn't even kicked off my black peep-toe heels when my husband suggested that maybe we take this opportunity- my little hiatus- to visit a few different churches.

you can imagine my silent tantrum. he could tell i was having an internal panic attack but i didn't want to let on. i hummed and hawed and said maybe that was a good idea.

for my husband, it was simply a matter of: we've been at this church since we were 13 years old and have never even set foot elsewhere. shouldn't we explore that? shouldn't we know why we're actually going here? we love the church, we love the people, and we definitely love the preaching. there's nothing wrong with the church itself, but sometimes there's something wrong with "it's easy and  comfortable" or "we've always gone there" or "that's where everyone else in our family goes".

i tried to tell him that maybe he doesn't feel connected because he doesn't really serve in any way, that he's not really involved so it doesn't feel like home to him. after all, i've been singing there since before we got married seven years ago, and i feel like part of a family. it's not just "any old church" to me. how could he just, out of the blue, ask me to leave that for no particular reason?

i pouted over the fact that my last solo just before thanksgiving might actually be my last solo forever with that choir, not just for the nine month break. how come God didn't allow me to prepare for that emotionally? how come i had to just leave? it was like i didn't get to say goodbye, you know?

but i committed that day [between myself and God] to pray and to seek His will in it. to at least have open hands and an open heart and an open mind about what God might be doing. it didn't take long for Him to reveal a lot to me and once i committed to keeping my eyes open, i could tell that there was something in my husband that had been begging to unravel and develop. something that i better not step in the way of, no matter how much i loved singing at this church. it was deeper and heavier than singing. and i felt God telling me to just go; just follow my husband's lead. after all, he is my husband and God has placed him at the head of our family for a reason. i haven't always loved that truth, but this time i knew that i'd better embrace it. he was leading our family and i needed to be on board. i know that God leads people on to new churches, i just never thought that would be my story.

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  1. You write so beautifully and you have such a wonderful clarity about this all...I cannot wait for the next installment!

  2. eek! what happens next??
    i like comfortable and easy.. but I think He knows that if He gives me
    that then I'll get TOO comfortable and just 'follow'. so needless to say, I've been looking for the 'right' church home and think I may have found it (crossing fingers).
    i hope, with all my heart, that if my husband ever presented me with such a request that i would act as you have. i struggle with not being in control or knowing what is going on.. I look forward to reading more :)

  3. My husband and I have been in a similar position, just this past January. He grew up at a church for the past 20 years....where his father is the minister. We attended there for 2 years while dating and the first 5.5 years of our marriage. It's 17 miles one way, 3 times a week, 2 being on Sunday. There's a smaller church just 3 miles up the road from our house that we visited on occasion because we know and love several members there. We had our son June 2011, and started attending more regularly at our church, but still didn't feel completely involved. Loved the congregation, they have watched my husband grow up! However, it was Dec-Jan that we realized the small church close to home was in need of a replacement for one of their part-time ministers...the other minister is a close friend, he was working on getting hubby a new job, and I babysit for their family. They offered him the position, and we froze. We had been so excited about the prospect of it, but hadn't considered the part of leaving our church home, where his family attends and we have all that history. We finally took the leap of faith, and it has been amazing! We have been way more involved, the congregation is very close knit because it's small, our son has made some amazing friends (young and older), and we have implemented some amazing fellowship times and opportunities in the few months we have been there. I knew there was a reason we were being called, but we didn't know what was in store; it has absolutely blown my mind! My husband always considered he was meant to be a preacher, but was skeptical having seen his father be one and what goes with it. This has been the best mix as its part-time and he continues on with his normal job! I love being able to teach now and really fill us all grow in our walk due to this opportunity. Prayers for you and your family during this; I'm sure it has been and will be an amazing journey since your head and heart are in the right place!

  4. I can SO relate to this! I grew up at a church & my husband starting attending when we started dating at age 15. We that church in February of 2011 for leadership, drama, other reasons and it was one of the hardest things we've ever done! But now we are at a church that is home and God blessed us more than we could have ever imagined because we were wiling to step out. xo

    1. yes, that's about how long we'd been at our church too! no drama in this case, but just time to move on. i'm excited to watch and see what's in store for us :)