We’ll be using this blog to keep our friends and family up to date on our journey in England, but I thought it appropriate for our first post to be about what and who we leave behind – and just what they mean to us. There’s simply no way we could have done something like this without the security, support, and grace we feel from this community. So cheers to you Living Church…
We arrived in this community limping. We were wounded, vulnerable, skittish — fresh off a season in which we chased selfishness instead of God and each other. We spoke in absolutes — “never again”, “this always happens”, “everyone”, “no one”. You couldn’t have blamed us. The world and the church had let us down. More so, we had let each other down. There wasn’t much to be hopeful about. Yet, somehow we persevered.
Walking into Living Church for the first time, 15 minutes early, we sat meekly in the back, alone for a little while as we considered what had led us to this point. It was there that we met Rachel Hunter, and Aaron and Whitney Barth (A&W, as he referred them). They asked us about ourselves and what we did, and said they were glad we came. Normal stuff, you know.
We came back the following week. My heart was hardened by the hurts we had experienced and of the pain we’d caused each other and others. We were surprised when more people came to greet us, and more importantly, when they remembered our names, and spoke about how they were praying for us. To be fair, it was nice, a relief even, but I still never expected us to plug in anywhere again.
Flash forward almost three years — it’s funny how life plays out. We found ourselves embedded in a community of friends and mentors that pour their lives into us on a regular basis. A community we not only cherish but actively desire to pour back into. A community we’ve grown to trust and respect — one where the fear of engaging the authentic is not only absent, but tossed aside. It wasn’t easy for us to get to this point, but for the grace of God and the lovingkindness of others, we have.
I’d love to say that it was a span of time or a program or a hilltop moment that spoke healing into our lives, but it wasn’t really any of those things. It was people. People who loved us unconditionally and never pushed us. They gave us the space to rest and the commitment and accountability to heal.
So here’s to our church family — the Hunters, Guynes, Babas, Conatsers, Waters, Salinas’s, Horns, Barths, Paces, Hortons, Olivers, Winklemans, Rays, Calicos, Carrs, Harrisons, Scotts, Perez’s, Garcias, Blounts, Chiens, Berndts, Veigels, Fallets, Cody and Rebecca, Jeremy, A-Rod, the Spark Youth, Living Legacy ladies — to everyone that bought shirts and gave money – and all those we’re blowing it by not mentioning. And to our friends outside of Living Church that practice grace and friendship to others on a regular basis — there are just too many to name.
We go out as ambassadors for you. To share the love to England that you so graciously shared with us.
Thank you. We love you dearly.
You changed our life.