Journey Back to Where I Belong

I was baptized in horse trough at Countryside Bible Church in Southlake, Texas back in the early 90's.  The pasture was open with large oak trees dotting the green landscape covered by a blue sky.  I was nervous and shy, but excited to be cleansed into my Savior's arms.  While baptized at Countryside, my roots began at First Baptist Grapevine in 1983 learning about David and Goliath, Daniel in the Lions Den, Mary and Joseph, Moses parting the sea, Jonah and the Whale alongside many, many other bible stories of hope, victory, obedience, and triumph.  Albeit grumbling, we attended church every Sunday and Wednesday night, me often having to bribed with fried chicken afterwards.  I was never really that "on-fire" for the Lord type of child.  You could say I resisted church in a sense, but it was really more my introverted, shy personality than zeal for the Lord.  Well, and I also hated leaving my mom's side.  That didn't stop until college. 

Then high school hit.  So did peer pressure, popularity, academics, and a social life.  Those quickly became more important than anything else no matter what my parents said or did.  I would like to think I kept my faith...but the truth is, I was far from living in the light of the Lord.  While I believed that Christ came to save us from our sins and I prayed to our Lord, my life was more centered on my own ways than His.  

Graduation and marriage came next.  We did marriage counseling with my cousin, the minister who married us, and together we saw that we needed more church so we began loosely attending Irving Bible. was wedding season.  All of our friends were getting engaged, having showers, bachelor and bachelorette parties, weddings, and our first jobs were taking a toll so weekends were reserved for hanging on to any small grasp of our college days that we possible could.  Late nights, parties, laughter, and sleeping the weekend days away; we worked hard and played harder.  I remember my mom calling during these days too, "Hey, Meagan...did you Adam try out a new church today," or "Are you going to church tomorrow?"  Always with an eye roll and very convicting heart, I would make up an excuse.  

In 2006, we moved into our first house surrounded by neighbors who were our age, living just as we were living, and that we LOVED spending free time with.  When I think back on my adult hood and all my years, those were some of my favorite days.  We all had so much fun.  Honestly, way too much fun.   Life was comfortable and we were complacent.  I had everything that I thought I needed  on an earthly level:  a nice house, great husband, two successful careers, awesome friends and family. We were enjoying young married life without  kids.  One thing, however, was terribly missing:  God. 

Fast forward to a beautiful, crisp Spring morning in 2009.  For once, we had turned down a night out with out friends the Saturday before and I woke in such a state of clarity that sadly, I was unfamiliar with.  I sat down outside with my computer in hand and began journaling my feelings on a blog that I had named Dreams Are Like Stars.  I kept it private and have since deleted all of those original posts (regrettably).  At the time, that blog was a safe place for my thoughts and had people know the internal struggle I was beginning to go through, would they understand?

I felt the Holy Spirit working through me, a feeling I had long suppressed for my own needs, wants, and selfish desires.  A change was on the horizon, but I was so fearful of everything I would lose. My trust in the Lord had weakened to next to nothing over the last decade, living life without Him.

What if they didn't want to hang out with me because I no longer wanted to continue staying out until the wee hours of the night, what if they saw my heart was changing and didn't like me as much--and made fun of me?  My insecurities were raging.  Although I was a good person who just enjoyed her vodka a little much, Satan had a strong hold on me and it was going to take awhile for me to shake him off.  Real, genuine change does not come over night, it takes work to be obedient and change your sinful heart. 

As I sat journaling that morning, I decided that it was time to find a church.  I began researching all sorts of churches in the area.  Listening to online sermons, presenting them to Adam to visit, and so on and so forth.  We finally settled on Northwood church in Keller.  We enjoyed it a lot.  The worship wasn't boring, the pastor was hilarious, and it was so big that no one ever noticed if we didn't go.  Our friends joined with us one Sunday and also really liked it so we became members and joined a small group.  Adam and I weren't the best small group members.   We never placed it as a priority as we were viciously stuck in the crosshairs of partying and the convictions and realities that the Lord we follow did not smile upon our drunkenness and love of ourselves.  

We were making strides, though.  Our hearts and ways were slowly changing.

It wasn't until my pregnancy that I was able to get serious about the changes that I wanted to make.
  More time was made for church, more time was made for studying the Bible and more faith was rediscovered.  Something was still missing, though.  We were both so empty.

Life got really hard for us in those months after having Preslie.  After a traumatic delivery fully equipped with hemorrhaging twice, a D&C while two week postpartum, and the unexpected death of my grandmother, I was lost.  Through a lonely battle with postpartum depression, I became fully and completely dependent on my need for the Lord.

As we became a little more serious, however, we decided that Northwood may not be the church for us any longer.  We desired a church with sermons that were more serious where we could really study the bible versus topical studies filled with humor and a couple of versus on the side.  Thirty minutes of music paired with a a 25 minute sermon just didn't seem to do it for us any longer.  We loved Northwood, and would recommend any one to attend, we just realized that it wasn't fitting our heart's changing needs. 

I was had a hunger and thirst so insatiable for the Lord that nothing would stop me from studying the word and discovering the right place for us.  By the time we began looking for a church, I knew exactly what we needed but did not know where to find it. 

While searching for this mystery church, I threw myself into my bible like never before.  I couldn't get enough.  Although we didn't have a home church, my heart was changing so fast that I couldn't keep up.  In the meantime, one of my neighbors began making some amazing changes in her life as well.  She was full of encouraging scripture and knowledge of the word that inspired me.  I wanted what she had:  that knowledge, that zeal.   Soon, she introduced me to her little church down the road in Southlake.  "Maybe you have heard of it," she had said?  It was called Countryside Bible Church. 

The quaint little church in a field of Southlake where I had been baptized. 

A few weeks later, we bit the first time scared-as-all-get-out-to-leave-our-child-in-a-nursery feeling and attended the church.  It was in March of 2011.  We had told ourselves that we would not commit to a church until we had tried several churched in the area.  That particular Sunday that we attended, the pastor began a new series, The Five Hallmarks of a Biblical Church.  It was all about finding that perfect church.  God was speaking to us so clearly that it was impossible to deny.  We were hooked, taking notes, highlighting our bible, and eager for each next week's sermon.  Our intentions were to try out a few more churches, but we couldn't break free from the gem that we had found.  

When looking back, there is such a journey there.  I never lost my knowledge for Christ, but I did lose sight of having obedience to Him.  I was far more one with the world than I was with Christ.  Making myself happy and doing all things that pleased me was always at the forefront of my mind. 

Regardless of my selfish ways, He beautifully brought me right back to the very grounds of where I was cleansed at His feet and baptized into His kingdom.  How can one deny his might works and His love for his children?

I took this picture on May 4, 2012 as a storm approached.
This view looks upon where I was baptized twenty years ago.  
He never let me go.  I let Him go.  But He was waiting patiently for my return to Him.  It took a lot to get me back.  It took some serious, serious down times for me to see how I can't go through this life without Him.  I need his grace, I need his mercy, and I need his love.  {see: I Never Planned to Stop Drinking and For When I Am Weak}

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me.  Because I love, you will also love.  On that day, you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you."  John 14:18-20

One last detail cannot be overlooked. God overwhelms our hearts and minds constantly, and with this one, I feel like He takes the cake--a constant reassurance that this is the church home for us.  Adam was baptized at Countryside Bible in November of 2013. 

As this post began, on August 11th, 1991, I was baptized at this very same church under the old Oak tree just steps from where Adam was tonight. Oh, how He loves us. Just thinking about standing underneath that Oak tree, hand in hand with my husband, that He made perfectly for me and our two beautiful girls fills my heart to the brim. He knew. He knew on that day of August 1991 that I would wander so far away from him and think that I'd never return to those church grounds. But he brought us back...full circle. Right to where we belong. 

How inadequate these words seem to be...
God is so good.

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