Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Stepped out of my box...

I am a huge creature of habit, of structure, of familiarity.  I rarely do something "new", especially if I have very little knowledge about it.
Sunday was a huge step out of my church comfort zone, my box I've stayed in ALL of my nearly 30 years!  I have ventured out of my Episcopalian box to go to very few churches, Southern Baptist, Church of Christ, and Methodist (Contemporary service).
Let me back up a few steps...

One of my best friends rediscovered her faith, and not in the church she was raised in.  She was raised Baptist, and strayed like we all typically do as a teenager.

She stood by my side through my pregnancy, was a wonderful support.
She helped hold me up and keep me strong through Pierce's NICU stay.
We have shared things with each other that neither of us have shared with any other friends.
After she helped me get through Pierce coming home, many many texts of "is this normal??" from this new mommy, she and her husband decided they were ready for number 2.
She immediately got pregnant!  I remember the phone call!  I was SO SO excited and happy for her.

About a week later, I woke up to a text.  It was a picture of her ultrasound, TWINS.  I just sat in bed, mouth wide open, tears in my eyes, a million thoughts running through my head.
You see, her son was really rough on her body.  Pregnancy and type 1 diabetes don't mix well.  While I was elated for her, I was also very very concerned for what twins would do to her body.
A week or two after finding out she was pregnant with twins, she called me with horrible news.  One didn't make it.
Somehow, with her new-found faith, she got through that, and marched on knowing she still had one baby.
Several weeks later, getting close to the end of her first trimester, the week before Christmas, she found out she had lost the second.  She found that out the exact day I found out that I had to have surgery to remove my rogue Mirena.  She had to have a D&C on Wednesday, I had my surgery on Thursday.
She got through the entire situation with a smile, and trust in God.

We've been through a lot together the past year.  We've supported each other, cried with each other, picked each other up.  Listened.

So, when she came to me and told me that she had found peace in a church, found her faith and decided to immerse herself in it, I was all ears.  She knew that I would find it strange, that I would have questions.  She was ready to answer them.  She knew I would question "why do you do this..." but not "why are you doing this?"  She knew I would support her.
And, support her I did.

I've never had a Pentecostal friend.  All I knew about them were stereotypes.
Now, I have a Pentecostal friend, and I love her just the same.

When she told me she was going to give her testimony and be baptized, I knew it was something J and I needed to attend.  Something we needed to give her our physical presence support, not just a word of encouragement.  You see, she has known J and I separately for a long time, and of course known us as a couple the entire time we've been together.  We're all 3 friends.  Anyway...we knew we'd be there.  She's even Pierce's "Auntie", so he went too!!

I've never been to a Pentecostal church, didn't know anything about what to expect.  I was briefed by my friend lol.  She knew that I was used to a very formal, very high church atmosphere...and let's just say formal and high church this wasn't!!
It wasn't as bad as J or I expected...I'm not entirely sure what we expected, but it wasn't as bad.  It was certainly different!  Their services are loud, exciteable, a lot of clapping, hands in the air, "AMEN" and "PRAISE JESUS" shouting.
I'm used to speaking when the Book of Common Prayer has italicized words instructing you to all read in unison.  I'm used to no outbursts.  The priest isn't interrupted during his sermon at my church!  
Even during the first song, as I was dancing Pierce around because he's just not used to that much activity and noise (he handled it like a CHAMP and just soaked in his surroundings), I had a very strange experience, proving that I am Episcopalian through and through lol.  I sang "Hallelujah" with everyone, singing, dancing, clapping.  The Episcopalian in me all of a sudden remembered, "It's Lent, this isn't a celebratory time, this is a quiet, penitent time"  I scaled it back and stopped singing, stopped clapping, but for Pierce I kept dancing.  And, I felt more at ease, more comfortable.
You can still practice Lent in a Pentecostal church!  haha.

As I was showering that morning, getting ready to go, I had a slight moment of fear over my wardrobe!  Really?!  I don't own a dress or skirt!  I take that back, I have ONE black dress that's semi-low cut and knee length.  I decided that my pants were much more acceptable in a women-only-wear-skirts-church than a short dress that shows off the girls.
And, as I was applying my make-up to go to the women-dont-wear-makeup-church, I got a thought of, "Maybe I should minimize what I wear"  But, I also thought that I don't really wear much makeup, it's all a neutral natural shade...And, most importantly, if I were to invite a Pentecostal to my church with me, I wouldn't expect them to change their skirt to pants, or put make up on.  So, I went as myself and I'm glad I did.  I would have been more uncomfortable trying to "fit in" with a group of people who would clearly know I was an impostor as soon as church started!!

It was an honor to support my friend in her baptism.  J & I would do it again in a heart beat.

Friend, you know who you are...we love you

1 comment:

  1. What a sweet post! You are such an amazing woman, an amazing friend and mother, wife, daughter, etc etc! I LOVE YOU!!!!!!

    I was in tears for her regarding losing both babies :( She is a much stronger woman than me, because I know for a fact I wouldn't have been able to deal with life let along go to church!