I’m restarting my list of blessings after Yahoo ate my whole blog. But that’s okay — because I’m trying to make it things I’m thankful for in the present.
And today, I have to count my church, Gateway Community Church.
I moved to Virginia to go to this church!
Well, sort of. My two friends-since-third-grade who lived in Herndon both attended Gateway. I visited them at least three times over the years when I lived in Germany and attended their church and thought how much I wished there were a church like that near me.
My ex-husband and I had trouble finding a church home after we left Los Angeles. Gateway is neither so big that you never see the same people two weeks in a row nor so small that the same people end up having to take care of the kids every week, or if one family’s gone, the whole Sunday School is thrown off. I like that Gateway’s focused around small groups — that way you really get to know and care about people behind the Sunday morning façade.
So when my husband left me and I had to leave Germany, I got to pick where in the States I wanted to go. I picked Virginia because my two dear friends lived there — and because I wanted to attend Gateway. It also met at the time in a brand-new middle school, and my son was starting 7th grade, and attended that middle school.
But Gateway people themselves won me over and took me in. They helped me move three times — starting with that first time when my household goods came from Germany (mostly taken apart and broken) — when the people in my group didn’t actually know me yet. They won my heart by their kindness in taking care of me.
And over the years, Gateway folks got me through the actual divorce. They stood by my side while I was trying to stand for my marriage but also helped me see clearly when it was time to actually get divorced. They love me and care about me and make Virginia feel like home.
Oh, and I also love that Gateway doesn’t make me sign a statement of faith to join. Today we signed up some new people, and they ask if you’ve accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior (which I have), but from there you decide if you want to join this community.
Folks at Gateway do “spur one another on to love and good deeds” and point each other to Christ.
I’m so blessed to be a part of this church community.