Friday, April 2, 2010


: occurring in such quantity, quality, or scope as to fully meet demands, needs, or expectations (enough food for everyone)

I had a hard conversation with a friend recently about our decision to leave our current church (West End Community Church) in search of a new church home. She was gentle and honest and while I'm not sure she used these exact words, I came away thinking that part of her question for me was, "Aren't the friendships you have here enough? Doesn't the good outweigh the bad? Isn't it enough to know that my family - and many others - love you?"

These are hard questions because my friendships at West End have been enough for me for a long time. For years, nearly all of my friends have come from women I've met through church. And I have a feeling that throughout my life, I'll see these friendships as forming the basis of my understanding of what family friendships can and should look like. So why aren't these friends, many of whom love me better than I've ever been loved by anyone other than my husband, enough?

The community that I have at West End does meet my needs and exceed my expectations for friendships, but that's not all a church home is about. I have changed during the decade I've spent at this church. I entered the doors a skeptic and while I'll leave not completely aligned doctrinally with this church, I definitely leave as a woman who hears God's voice, seeks to be filled with his Spirit and longs to live like Jesus. Have I changed while WECC hasn't? I don't think so. Instead, I think it's like a relationship where the two partners ever so gradually end up distant emotionally, as they've evolved separately instead of together. I know my own heart better now and I have a clearer picture of what I need spiritually.

I find myself longing for a church that feels like it fits me more - one that turns many different art forms into worship, one where I'm not the only one with multi-colored hair, one where my daughters don't stand out for the way they dress or act, one where I can receive the sacraments from something other than disposable plastic cups, one where I can ponder the written word, one where I can find a mentor who is a stage ahead of me in this parenting journey, one where my children can form lasting friendships.

Will we find all of these things? I'm not sure. But I do have peace that this is the right move for our family and it occurred to me after my conversation today with this dear friend of mine that I am having to sacrifice some loving friendships for the things my soul needs. Because when you get right down to it, friendships, even loving, encouraging ones, can't be enough. The only thing that should be enough for me is God's best for me: his word and his spirit. I need to be able to grow more into the woman God made me to be and for some of the reasons I've talked about - and others I suspect I don't even see - I believe that growth needs to take place elsewhere.

I don't want to give the impression that I'm not sad about this. Good-bye sits heavy on my chest. But I can't deny that I have felt for weeks like there was freedom laying for me on the other side of this weekend's women's retreat. The freedom to share what God has taught me, yes, but also the freedom to leave West End knowing that I was obedient to God's call to share at the retreat and that I didn't leave without offering a final blessing to some of the women who have helped me know, understand and love God better.

And I need to remind myself on this Good Friday that this is enough for me because what we are called to remember on this day was that His sacrifice was enough. I'm not sure why our current church home isn't enough, but I am sure that I don't want to settle. I don't want to settle for less than God's best for me because that's not what Easter is about. Easter is, above all, about having our needs fully met.

1 comment:

Mary said...

We've gone through the same thing, except it's a little harder being Catholic in the so many choices! You have to find the best fit with where you are in your life...I totally understand where you're coming from!