When I graduated from High School I had only been going to church for about a year. I had very little exposure to the Bible and less exposure to Christians in the wild. I had made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ during Football Camp (1992) and was baptized shortly after, but the transformation into “a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17) was a lot longer in coming. I had a rough Senior year. An even rougher, although bittersweet, summer after. And a horrible transition into college. I was alone and depressed. I made some very bad decisions that Fall. Decisions that affect things I do today.

My relationships ranged from very short to very scary. My schooling took a new direction because I had been kicked out of my chosen program due to my poor grades. I made the wrong friends and made more wrong choices. The turning point for me was a note from my new-roommate-to-be the summer of 1995. I made up my mind then to do an about face. I broke up with the guy I was living with, moved back to Montana and into my dorm room with a Pastor’s daughter.

It was after that re-start that I started going back to church. I didn’t know what I was looking for and visited a lot of churches. I was slowly finding my way and testing my roommate severely in the process. By that summer, I was living off-campus, working full-time and I met my future Hubby. I had sworn off dating for good and said I would have to be hit on the head with a 2×4 to pay attention to another one. Hubby just happened to work in the lumber department. Whoever said God doesn’t have a sense of humor hasn’t lived my life. He and I worked together for a few months and when I got a new job in the Fall, we started dating. We were engaged within 8 months and married 8 months after that. I knew we were on the same page as far as our beliefs, but we were still not going to church regularly.

We moved to Utah about 8 months after we were married and found a very solid church. Hubby and I were finally immersed in a loving family atmosphere and there was some definite healing during that time. We went to marriage counseling for a few months, made the commitment to make our marriage work and my outlook on life started turning around.

I’ve been building on that foundation ever since.

When we moved to Washington in 1999, I started working full-time and almost immediately got pregnant. I had miscarried 3 months earlier, so it was a complete surprise. I worked until just after Y2K. I’ve been a stay-at-home-mom ever since. G-Bunny was born in February and T-Man was born the next July. I didn’t have much of a life besides diapers and babies for about 2 years. Getting to church was very low on my list. Hubby was working nights a lot and we had one car. My depression settled in again because the isolation was back. The kids kept me going this time.  Barely.

We bought a house in a small town and things were stressful at best. I had a yard to play with the kids in, but we still only had one car and I was even further from town. I made friends with a neighbor two doors down and dove head first into my quilting. The computer became my lifeline and I started my first blog. We were attending a church finally, but the pastor was removed for having an affair with a member of the congregation just as we were getting more involved. That’s when I learned that we are all just imperfect people and we all make mistakes. And I found a little grace and forgiveness for myself.

Then we moved to Alaska.  Uprooted again, but this time with small kids to watch out for.  I couldn’t let myself fall apart.  The move was for the best, but it still wasn’t easy.  I went to the doctor that first Fall and finally asked for help with my depression.  He put me on Prozac and I noticed a huge difference right away.  I took it for about 6 months, until I realized I had forgotten to take it about 3 days in a row and I was still feeling pretty good.  I never finished that bottle and haven’t taken any since.  Yet.

When we moved to Juneau, we found a church right away. It took less than a year to get really involved there.  The kids did AWANA. I taught Cubbies. I was the Fellowship Committee Chairperson. I taught a class for Vacation Bible School the first summer and then took over as Director the next two years, including during the week we were moving last year. Hubby and I were Middle School Youth leaders together. I taught Bible studies and planned a women’s retreat.

We had awesome neighbors that became our best friends.  There was school to take up time about now and sports to coach.  I signed up to be a Girl Scout Leader and had G-Bunny, plus 9 more in my troop.  We had an active social life; hiking, camping, fishing and just hanging out.  I finally felt like I was in my element.

Then we moved back to Washington. I didn’t want to leave, but we go where the job is.  I realized quickly it had all been too much. I was burned out and sick of the commitments I had put on myself. So, we didn’t rush to find a new church. In fact, we still don’t have a regular church home. I go to Women’s Bible Study at a church in the next town every week so that I’m connected in some way. We tried that church, but the 25 minute drive each way was too much for us. We attended the two churches in our little town, but neither is filling our needs right now. The first one has a few foundational belief differences and we didn’t feel we could continue to support them. The second has potential, but the kids have to sit in the service for an hour and a half with us for worship. It also starts at 9:30 am, with Sunday School after that. It’s a format we aren’t used to and often skip if we are running late. I don’t like that option either and I’m not good at having a lesson at home as a replacement.

So, I continue down my road, picking my way around potholes and speed bumps and looking for the next turn on the map I don’t have access to.