Standing at the Chapel Door

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It’s my wedding day, and the idea that everything will be different from this point forward terrifies and excites me. Three years of dating had taught me a lot about Josh, but I knew marriage would be an entirely new experience.

Those years of dating were full of questions:

  • Was he the one God had for me; the one I would spend my life with?
  • Did we have similar ideas regarding marriage, family, finances and our futures?
  • Would he make me happy?
  • What if we got married — committed ourselves to one another — and then discovered some horrible secret or character flaw?
  • What if I was wrong?

Talking out our fears and anxiety, we wrestled with each question together and privately. Praying, seeking God’s direction, and believing that if we genuinely desired His will God would not steer us wrong.

So we arrived at our wedding day.

Curled, powdered and covered in satin, standing at the doorway to the chapel, I recognized the importance of that first step inside; there would be no turning back. Confidently walking forward, my arm looped through my dad’s, I welcomed the commitment ahead.

Over ten years have passed since that day, and there have been surprises and trials for us to work our way through. Not all the surprises have been bad, and the trials have made us stronger and closer. Never once have we given ourselves the option of running away from our commitment or doubting the path God has led us on.

Normally these types of posts are written on wedding anniversaries or birthdays, but mine is prompted by the similarities I am experiencing on the brink of a new commitment.

Over the past few months Josh and I have been wondering what God was bringing us to Washington for, and where we would serve once we were up here. We felt pressure and anxiety to find a new church right away.

Like my dating experience, the questions in my mind regarding our decision were all about me: 

  • Do I like the worship, preaching style, decorations and children’s programs?
  • What kind of opportunities do they have for me to use my calling and giftings?
  • Are they welcoming and friendly? Do I see people I’d like to get to know better?
  • What if we start going here and it turns out bad? What if they just want to use us?
  • What if we’re wrong?

We believe we’ve found our church

Today, I recognized that once again I am standing at the door to a chapel. The time for fear and anxiety is past, and my questions need to change.

On the day of my marriage, the only thing I needed to ask was: “How can I be a godly wife for Josh? What can I do to serve him?” No longer could it be all about me, because I was now one with another.

In committing to a church, much like a marriage, the question needs to be: “How can I serve the leadership and congregation of this church?” No longer can it be about what they do to serve me or feed me. We are told to be more concerned about the needs of others than ourselves. That we will be known by our love for one another.

My marriage has lasted over ten years because of my commitment to Josh and to God, and trusting Him to work in my relationship. If I had based it on my feelings and personal ideas of happiness, there might have been a few times I would have chosen to bail out. Today I am wiser, happier and a better person because of the things Josh and I have been through together.

I believe the same thing can be true as I commit myself to the leadership and fellowship of a new church family.

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10 thoughts on “Standing at the Chapel Door

  1. Totally cool Melissa. Loved the connection between marriage and your covenant with this local church. i believe you and Josh will make a difference there as you have in each others’ lives because of your commitment to your marriage. God has placed you there for a reason-to fulfill His purpose for you. Hang on!

  2. Everytime I read one of your blogs…I just want to say “awesome”. Well done….good thoughts…how do you do it? Four small children and deep thoughts—–deep thoughts clarified for the rest of us…and always encouraging..Bless you all!! Grandma J

  3. Oh, church shopping is so noooooot fun. :( But, I’m happy to hear that you guys may have settled on a place. Although I’m sad that it’s {in all likelihood} not where I go, I’m excited that I will be able to meet a whole new group of cool cats through you.

    Our consumerist culture leads us to believe that we can even make demands in our churches. We complain about the volume of the music, the child care workers, even the guest speaker {I’m guilty of all 3 that’s why I mention them}. We forget that our church is a place for family, to grow together and meet the needs of one another.

  4. I’ve never had the experience of really looking for a new church home. There was once not too long ago where my wife and I were gone for a weekend where we wanted to connect to a local church, and that was nerve-wracking enough. What I tell our church is that I want them to know they are where God called them to be. If they have that and make a commitment then they can weather a lot of storms. Great post and correlation, Melissa. Thanks.

    • I love how God places people in our life to demonstrate to us that we’re not alone in what we’re going through. I’ve seen this in parenting, marriage, ministry and even now in the move. You are continually in my prayers as you go through your own transition. I would still love to chat sometime, just right now my computer is making that difficult. :)

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