So we had been blessed with getting married and the wife had started to plan everything (correct, all I needed to do was show up). We had booked our flights to the Grand Cayman Island for our honeymoon. We had found a place for the wedding as well; however, that was a major change in itself.
Stephanie and I had met at a church in Phoenix as described before in previous blog entries. She had long been involved there before I arrived in Phoenix. We were both helping out in different areas at the church when we started dating and when we were engaged. We looked to see if we could have the wedding at the church; however, at the time, they had Saturday evening service and we would only be able to do a wedding there early in the day. If anything knows anything about my wife and my mother, they are not part of the morning crowds! So, the search was on!
We took a look at a few churches and had meetings set up. My mother sent me a website of a PCA (Presbyterian Church in America) church about 2 miles from where I was living. After dropping Stephanie off at her place one Saturday afternoon, I went over to the church to take a look. I walked inside and did not see anyone; however, I heard a piano playing. I went inside the sanctuary and talked to a man in there for about 10 minutes about the church and when their services were. They only had Sunday services so Saturday would work for us! We wanted to see how the church looked with people in there so we decided to come back the next morning for service.
We went to service the next morning. The songs were slower in pace then what we were used to but the message of the music was there. Then came the sermon, a sermon I will remember until the day I die. The pastor got up to preach and he started to talk about how his father had passed away recently and that he had buried him just the day before. Crazy time to visit a church for a wedding. Then he started to speak from Genesis 49-50 and I nearly lost it. It talks about how Joseph's father, Jacob, had passed and how he wept uncontrollably. He described about crying not being a bad thing but that it means that when we cry for someone that has passed along, it shows how much they meant to us while they were here.
So we walked out of the service knowing we were being called to not just get married at this church, but to start attending this church. I think our exact words after minutes of silence were "Uh oh." We wanted to be fair and go back to the church we met at and see how their Sunday service was as we were looking to get involved with the youth there. To sum it up: That Sunday service was not good at all. It was saddening to know we were leaving and to know we were leaving the church were we met so many people, including each other. But God's plans are so much greater and trying to understand why God does what He does is fruitless.
We had to tell the respective groups we were involved or leading that we were moving on to another church and I can pretty much say that we very emotional at that time. About ready to get married and we are making a big decision about leaving a church we had become so entrenched. God challenges us at so many times. How do we respond? Do we keep pushing through and ignore clear signs from Him or do we drop everything and say I will follow? I admit that I have tried to push through the challenges instead of allowing God to carry me through those times. But when the mountains get greater, God presents himself in a bigger way to us.
We got through this time with both of us trusting that God had a plan for us and how we could still serve Him. But another MAJOR challenge arose. Would Stephanie and I respond the same way and allow God to carry us or were we going to bully through it.
Phoenix Part 10: Challenges are so much tougher when it involves family!