Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Love Story, cont'd, or, How Baptist Girl Ended Up Anglican, Part Two

Part One

So there we were, signing a lease with the other couple to move in together, the better to pray about and plan the church we would plant in Los Angeles. But just before we moved into the rental house, Papa Rooster (who was getting his MBA from the University of Chicago at that time) had a study session that was to change the course of our lives.

Restless and hoping a change of venue would help him focus, he decided to drive down to the Wheaton College library for the afternoon. And who should he encounter there, but his old concert choir buddy, John Fawcett? (The same friend who passed away last year.)

John warmly inquired how PR was doing, and PR decided not to hold anything back. He hated business school, he was depressed, and he was struggling spiritually. Then John spoke the words that he spoke to so many in his lifetime: “Let me pray for you.” As PR tells it, he figured John would go home and pray for him sometime when he thought of it; instead, John led him into his office and proceeded to lay hands on him and pray aloud for him with such insight, PR knew he was speaking God’s own words.

Fast forward a couple of hours, when PR returned to our apartment. I was making dinner, I remember, and within moments of his return home, I noticed such a change that I had to ask him, “What happened to you today?” It was as if a dark, brooding cloud had lifted from him. He seemed once again like the happy, thoughtful PR of college days! He told me about John praying for him, and he concluded, “We’ve got to go visit this church that John is going to. It sounds like what we were looking for back in college!”

Ironically, we were moving into a rental house near Willow Creek so we could stop driving 45 minutes to church…and now here we were, checking out a church that was 45 minutes away! For awhile we attended Willow Creek on Sunday mornings and Church of the Resurrection on Wednesday nights, and then PR wanted to start attending Willow Creek on Saturday nights so we could go to Rez on Sunday mornings, too. He did that a few times, but I was torn. That was a huge part of my weekend to spend in church, it seemed, with a ten-month-old, and when I was still working part-time. (I was a life insurance underwriter--another story, for another time!) Plus, we were committed to starting a Willow Creek-style church plant with this other couple, so we weren't really going to switch over to this Episcopal church. Surely not. Especially not one that far away!

But I was attracted in spite of my objections. The Wednesday night services, which were just a simple liturgy with a teaching and then an opportunity to receive prayer, were so real and sweet. There was no pretense, just a “come as you are” invitation. There was an attitude of “I’m broken, you’re broken, let’s pray for each other” that was so refreshing and honest. People praised God openly, wept openly—no one tried to keep up outward appearances at those prayer services.

Plus, as a new parent, the practicality of a small church was dawning on me. I wanted to get to know other moms, meet with them regularly, and meet a few families with teenage daughters who babysat! At the mega-church, with four services, we could be there for two or three hours every weekend and never see anyone that we knew, besides the couple we lived with. And I really liked the people I was meeting at Church of the Resurrection--they were just so honest and real.

Then we held a little prayer meeting, in our home, that we now look back on as a landmark event.


Amy said...

I have really enjoyed reading your love story - and seeing the hand of God in your lives!

Scarlett said...

Thanks again for posting. I can't wait for the next "Episode". :-)

Also, I want to tell you how much I admire you and Papa Rooster as parents. You all are awesome.

Jenny in Ca said...

I am enjoying reading this, too. Please keep it going! :)

DebD said...

I had to chuckle at your church distance dilemma. One of the reasons we left a previous church was because it moved further away and we were heading into the teen years. Now I pass the exit for that church and go about 10 min. further away! Oh, the irony of my well-thought out plans.