Many of you have been praying with us for months, and I wanted to give an update with how the Lord has been moving in our lives this summer.
Since moving to Dallas in August 2013, David and I have called The Village Church home. It truly has been a home for us in many ways after being uprooted and moving 1,000 miles south. For the past four years, it has been the source of our community and a dearly-loved place that the Lord has used to grow us and stretch us. We’ve had the blessing of leading a home group out of the Village for three years, and some of those nights have been among the most memorable of my life. We’ve seen faithfulness and a deep commitment to the gospel and sincere worship of God.
David has also had the opportunity to work for the Village for the past two years as an intern in The Village Church Institute. He’s been in the arena of Christian education and has loved every minute of it. The internship was originally supposed to be one year, and then he was able to stay for two. We’ve known for a year that his employment with the Village was ending on July 31, and have been in constant prayer about what the next step would be. As a seminarian, David is in a period of training for his future work in the church. He’s been faithful over the last four years to consider carefully his beliefs relating to doctrine and ecclesiology. Many of those are the same as when we arrived in Dallas as fresh-faced newlyweds; some have shifted. As he began applying for jobs this spring, it became clear that there was a certain denomination that the Lord was calling us to.
The journey has been a long one. Longer for David than for me, although his moved more quickly too. David recently wrote a piece for Rookie Anglican about the process he’s been moving through. You can read it here. For me, it all started three years ago when we attended a Good Friday service at Church of the Incarnation, an Episcopal church downtown. It was my first experience in a liturgical church service, and I was totally and completely freaked out. I nearly cried and asked to leave because I didn’t understand what was happening. David was already hopeful at that point that we would eventually move into a more liturgical tradition, and my reaction after that experience was “no thanks.” I put it out of my mind and planned to keep it there.
I’m starting my third year teaching at a classical Christian school. My work has shaped me in many ways, and some of them apply to the way I worship God. Over the past two years, I’ve developed a much greater appreciation and respect for words and practices that have stood the test of time. We sing a hymn of the month at my school, and the words I’m singing have formed me as the months have gone by. I want my body to be involved in worship, because I know it is not divorced from my soul. I want to be rooted in a tradition that is greater than myself and the time period I’m living in. I want to be given words to put in my mouth that are more beautiful than anything I would ever put there. All of these desires have been growing in me slowly but steadily over a period of years.
When David asked me again to consider visiting an Anglican church, I was hesitant but willing. He had been in communication with the rector at Church of the Resurrection in Flower Mound. The man’s name was Brian Pape, and David wanted to visit his church. We went for Advent two years ago. I was expecting to immediately dislike and dismiss it. I was surprised. I felt immediately at home and welcomed. It was comfortable, like a favorite pair of jeans. We considered making the switch then, but didn’t feel peaceful about leaving the Village at that point. We came back to the Village and planned to stay.
In the intervening time between that decision and this spring, I found myself longing for the liturgy. David was using the Book of Common Prayer to do morning and evening prayers regularly, and I joined him sometimes. I felt the disconnect with standing to confess sin at church, when I felt I should be kneeling in contrition. As David was applying for jobs, it became clear to him that what he really desired was to become an Anglican priest. He shared his feelings with me. I expected that I would feel resistance and want to push back, but I didn’t. It felt peaceful. It felt right. The idea of leaving the only church I’ve ever really loved sounded scary, but the Lord gave me an understanding that he was in this and that we were being obedient to where he was calling.
We began attending Church of the Resurrection again in June, and never left. There were no jobs available at the church, but we felt increasingly strongly that this was the place God was bringing us to. We knew David’s time working at the Village was running out, and he would have to get a part-time job elsewhere as he finished his last year of seminary. We were looking in various places and praying fervently for something to turn up. He planned to work for the church in an unpaid role while balancing all of his other commitments.
About a week before his internship at the Village ended, a job unexpectedly became available at Church of the Resurrection. I was honestly not even surprised when I heard it, because it had been so very clear so far that God was in this, and this seemed like such a characteristic thing for him to do. He provides. He asks us to trust him, and he follows through.
On Tuesday, I was enjoying my last day of freedom before the school year began, and David started his first day at work. His official position at the church is curate, which means he’s in training to do many different things. It’s a period of preparation while he pursues ordination in the church. He’ll also be helping quite a bit with family and children’s ministries, and we’ve already had several fun conversations about curriculum and pedagogy.
We are so excited to see what the Lord will do in and through us in our time at Resurrection. We hope, one day soon, to return to Columbus and plant an Anglican church there. Currently, we are learning to be patient in the process and enjoy where we are. We so appreciate all of you who have prayed with us and for us in this journey. We’re sad to be leaving the Village and our friends there, and have a great deal of love and respect for the place that was our home for so long. If you have questions about liturgy or the Anglican church, please feel free to ask; David loves to talk about it for hours on end. 🙂 This isn’t a journey I ever thought I would take, but I’m so thankful to be here. The Lord leads us on paths of his own choosing, and there is much joy to be found in following.