God has been purging Dan and me of traditions since very early on in our marriage. Beginning with the celebration of Christmas; we had an odd desire to leave that in our childhood memories without even knowing why. Since first being released from the stronghold of celebrating Christmas many more traditions have been stripped from our families existence some willingly and some we wrestled greatly over.
Cultural Traditions such as celebrating Easter and Christmas, sending our kids to traditional school and even where we attend church and when has often left us feeling despondent and unaccepted by our peers as we have moved around the world. For the past 3 years since moving to Montgomery we have even argued with God as to why we are even here? Why He allowed us to even buy this house (which is often quite a burden). We had come to believe if things were falling down around us we were being punished by God or even left to our own will since it seemed we had not followed Him here. That couldn't be more false.
In sharing this with a friend recently she spoke some words that rang deep in my heart. She said “sometimes God moves you to a place and needs to wait for you to mature before He can use you for His intended purpose.” That was it! All our trials over the past 3 years have brought us to this place, a broken heart before Him insistent to do His will. As we have typically had to look back and learn from life’s circumstances with God’s grace we are now fortunately able to see a glimpse of what He is doing through us.
About 6 months ago we began attending Zoe Ministry, a home group church in Millbrook, Alabama. In our desperation we reached out to those in our home school group to find a small church hoping that there would be another group of people like us looking to serve the true God in faith and simplicity. We didn't even know what we were asking for, but the Spirit did, and we were led to Zoe (Jack and Debbie Jackson) and our hearts and our souls have been fed immensely ever since. Even though our hearts desire was to attend a home group church, we really didn't know what that meant. It meant getting outside our comfort zone, once again.
FYI breaking of our cultures traditions is VERY uncomfortable!
This small group of about 14 was what we had pictured but being used to larger crowd church’s it’s easy to slip in and out unnoticed. Not here, where we are greeted with hearty smiles and hugs it took some getting used to. But now this sweet group of people has come to be a lot of what we look forward to all week long! Even our children, who are the youngest by far, are disappointed when we miss a Saturday here or there when we are just too worn out to make the 30 min drive.
That’s another lovely thing about our nontraditional church, no kids programs and proud of it! I am so happy to finally have a place that my kids aren't asked to leave to be with other kids so they can sing songs or color. They sit with us, learn patience, respect and most importantly they are able to see and experience what God is doing in the lives of every adult in attendance. God still moves! He still speaks and He is Alive! And I wish I could say it didn't take almost 2.5 years to find Him dwelling in a church body here in Montgomery, Alabama.
Through Gods direction, He has asked us to opened up our home in Montgomery for a second location for those who would like to worship every Friday night at 6:30 p.m. with Zoe Ministries. Our prayer in all this is God brings those looking to seek him further, those no longer bound by traditions in seeking to live in hope by faith.
Acts 2:46 and day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,