the unexpected – pt. 1 of 2

Which I would say is a theme in my life. The truth is, I would never have chosen many of the situations/circumstances that I’ve fallen into, but on the other side, or after some time, I can see [at least a bit of] the purpose. I have this theory that God likes to mess up our worlds…pretty regularly.

Two things on my mind regarding this.

PART I: One of my best friends from college began to lead worship [guitar] on Sunday mornings in Jan 09 at an established, pretty large and wealthy church out in a  Kansas City suburb. She’s an amazing musician [of like seven instruments] whom I dearly love and respect; we had the great pleasure of playing all kinds of music together through college [I play the viola, rockin’ it since 5th grade] and get each other musically. And so she asked me to play with her at this church when I could. And I did, I have, I do – a few times a month.

For most of last year, I wasn’t really feeling it. I have a low tolerance and general distaste for cheesy Christian music [most of which I grew up on] and saw myself getting involved in a younger, less wealthy, more creative-minded church, with a closer proximity to the local poor and homeless. I found a church that fit that idea and had been going pretty regularly [in the evenings, after playing in the mornings in suburbs]. I was stimulated and challenged intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally. I liked it, I like it. And I LOVED the music, the diversity – they write most of their own. I even thought I might audition to play with their musicians.

Back to cheesy music. SO, it wasn’t my preference. But as I’ve gone over the past year, my friend has done wonders to add variety and flavor and genuine heart to the worship, to the songs we play. She is a really good, inspiring, and humble leader. It has been cool to witness. And as I gotten know the other people involved, it has really been their sincerity that has had the greatest impact on me. Sincerity in their musicianship, in their leading of the worship services, in their love for what we are doing, sincerity in their interactions with me and others. So yes, it may not be the music I would’ve chosen, but they mean every note of it, 100%, with all their heart. Kinds of makes you think.

Back to the big wealthy church. Back to my judgment of the fact is was a big, wealthy church in a wealthy suburb. The thing is, I essentially grew up in a church that fits that description, and it definitely had a lot to do with making me who I am. And it was because of its wealth and the generosity of its members, my dear friends and community, that I was able to go on every choir trip each year, mission trips, study abroad in Lithuania, and go to the Philippines and China with an internship in college. This place is where I was challenged, encouraged, nurtured, taught, had a ball, and was given experiences and relationships I’ll forever cherish.

Kind of ironic.

The unexpected? I had a different direction in mind for my faith, my community up here in KC. And I don’t think it was bad. But for some reason, to my surprise, I have fallen more and more into involvement and opportunity at this church in suburbs – quite the opposite of what I was looking for. But a beautiful family has taken me under their wing and take me to lunch with all nine of them almost every Sunday I’m there – they are amazing, and so generous. I recently met an inspiring and passionate newlywed couple, my age, who had wanted to be involved elsewhere [the same, more hip, church I had initially been going to!], but felt led to be here instead; I hope to hang out with them soon. I get to keep seeing and playing music with one of my best friends and her awesome, new husband. I started a Bible study there last week and have met even more neat, genuine people.

The unexpected? I get to face the judgments I was unaware of [which I am still doing, and am not sure I can completely identify and share yet]. I get to reconcile those and see what is true. I get to see cool things unfold that I didn’t plan. I get to see cool relationships and opportunities unfold that I couldn’t have anticipated. I get to believe that God has something different and better in mind for me. I get to laugh, smile at it all as I shake my head in disbelief. I am forced to be open and remember the meaning in all things, to see the big picture…

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2 Comments on “the unexpected – pt. 1 of 2

  1. isn’t it wonderful to find beauty in an unsuspected location. i’m happy for you!

    i love reading your blog. and i love you.

  2. Erin, maybe we need this rich church to make us uncomfortable as much as our rich church needs us to make them uncomfortable. My prayer for you is that you never find what you expected to find, and that God never stops stretching you. No matter what I may have said at lunch, all I could really think is how I have no idea where this journey is leading, but I would really like to take it with the people sitting at that table. A great man once said, “coming to the table with people you love is a SPIRITUAL event.” I want nothing more than for us to keep eating together, dreaming together, imagining together, playing together, serving together, and being the church together.

    A few years ago, I might’ve been surprised by our conversation today. But I think we get to a point where we just laugh to ourselves and say, “okay, God, I can see that you’re up to something.” Whatever it is, I’m signed on.

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