Today was our third Sunday in our new building, and today it finally felt like home, like we are right where we belong.
Who knew the journey would be so long and take so many unexpected twists and turns for us to arrive at this place, at this time?
Ten years ago, the almost all new congregation of the fifty year old denominational church we had pastored for a bit over three years voted unanimously to leave that denomination.
A year before that we had sold the church's former building and were retrofitting an existing building in a better location into a beautiful new place of worship.
For a year it seemed like our exit from the denomination had been a peaceful one.
We were enjoying our new non-denominational network of churches where we found ourselves more compatible philosophically and theologically.
And then the denomination sued us.
They had no grounds, the denomination's constitution and our church's constitution supported our side.
So, the judge threw the case out.
But they relentlessly filed, and filed, and filed again.
We lost our beautiful building, not because they won the lawsuit, but because all our money was going to lawyers.
Our congregation, miraculously, stayed together and leased space in a dumpy little strip mall in the bad part of town.
We went from a palace to a pit.
There we experienced the best of times and the worst of times, highs and lows, mountains and valleys.
But, we went through it all together.
After about five years, we ventured out of our little space and leased a school on Sundays.
We were so wounded, so gun shy, that to make that move seemed like a huge step of faith.
Shortly after that, we became the pastors of another congregation that had gone through their own time of devastation.
We pastored two churches at once for a short time, then merged the two, and a year later sent a group of people with our son-in-law and daughter as pastors to plant a church in southeast Portland.
Each twist and turn in the road, unexpected, but somehow we knew they were God ordained.
The whole time our church(s) were still mobile, meeting in a school on
A year after starting the church in southeast Portland, we pursued, finally, to get our own building, again retro-fitting an existing building into a church.
For a year we prayed, struggled, fought, to get the necessary permits.
Then we prayed and gave and worked and sacrificed to get it built.
And by God's grace we're in it now.
All glory, praise and honor to God.
"If you don't quit, you'll win."
I’ve taken the Joy Dare.
I’m counting one thousand thanks in one year.
I hunt for thanksgiving using the prompts Ann gives us each month.
If you are interested in joining in, click the link above or at the bottom of this post.
I continue to count my thanks
piling up gratitude day by day
in my little black journal…
3 gifts ugly beautiful-
-Mama's old bean pot
-my oldest daughter's very old, somewhat toothless, Pug dog, (that my two little granddaughters love)
-summer blossoms,dying and drying
a gift fixed-
-the Hubs rescuing me by jumping the dead battery on my car
a gift folded-
-clean clothes, warm from the dryer
a gift freckled-
-going on a run with my red-headed friend who's encouraging me in my 5K attempts,
(she's successfully run 1/2 marathons!)
3 gifts in conversation-
-phone calls that end with "I love you"
-talking to my middle daughter and two oldest grandkids on the phone
-group texting my two sisters, (is that conversation?), on a day when it hit me that I still miss my mama
3 gifts in salvation-
-I'm forever His daughter
-He will never, never, never, no never leave me or forsake me
-no matter how difficult the journey, my destination is FABULOUS!
3 gifts in information-
-so many how-tos available on the internet
-looking up how much average rainfall Portland, Oregon actually has, and realizing it's not all that bad compared to some places, (bracing ourselves for the coming drizzle-y months!)
a gift rattling-
-leaves already beginning to get dry and crunchy
a gift receding-
-the tide out far enough when we went to the beach last week for me to walk all the way out to Haystack Rock!
a gift reclaimed-
-my old, antique wooden cubby,new to me
3 gifts quiet-
-home alone and all is quiet on a beautiful Saturday morning
-Sunday morning home alone, drinking coffee and getting ready for church, the Hubs already up and at the church before the sun
-the car ride to church, the only sound my own voice singing, praying, getting my heart ready