Sunday morning we were off to visit another church, this time in an adjacent town. The kids were a bit grumpy about the prospect, and frankly I was tempted to just take the "easy" way out and laze on the couch, but we loaded up and some good music on the little trek got us in a better mindset. We arrived, walked in, were warmly greeted and given a bulletin*. I walked the kids to their classes (they have a separate praise and worship time as well) and headed back. I had a moment of confusion, though, when I exited the kids' section and came to the common area where there were more doorways than I remembered... Yet another reason I miss having hubby around - he's much more observant and has a better sense of direction than I do! Anyway, a couple ladies were there chatting - they noticed my confusion and asked if I was looking for the bathroom :) I said I was just trying to get back to the sanctuary, and then noticed the "Worship Center" plaque mounted on the door. I made a little joke about reading signs, and then headed in to take a seat.
As I was sitting, I looked up to see that one of the ladies had followed me in, and came over to introduce herself. Jean is approximately my grandmother's age, and her accent indicated that she's a "Southern belle" transplant to the Valley. She had short, permed hair, was lugging an enormous purse, and had a warm smile. And I couldn't help but notice her long, purple nails. She hugged me and invited me to come sit with her - then proceeded to stop and introduce me to every person in between my original seat and her pew. We didn't get a chance to talk further as the service was starting. The music began - neither a pounding "performance" nor a stilted dirge - but a worshipful chorus with meaningful lyrics. Ahhhh. I could already feel the weight being lifted from my soul. The pastor is currently working through Acts, and he spoke on chapter 10. Another good thing - expository preaching!
The service finished, and Jean continued to introduce me around, generally with one arthritic hand resting on my arm as she reached out for the other person, purple nails flashing. I got several more hugs, and when I picked the kids up they were both excited to tell me about the songs they'd sung and the verse they were all going to memorize during the week. More good stuff. As we were driving home, I couldn't help but offer a prayer of thanksgiving for Jean... and also wondered if she would have latched onto me so firmly if I'd had my hubby with me. Probably not! Just another example of the way God works with our circumstances.
We'll be going back on Sunday. As a complete family. Continuing to pray!
*Already better than the previous week, when the only thing we were given was an offering envelope. Now that's a great first impression! I left that church service with a severe headache from the crazy loudness, and didn't feel at all challenged in my Christian walk. Our son wanted to know why the girl up front was screaming instead of singing. Couldn't have summed it up better myself.