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Becoming a Member

It’s odd, really, to step 600 miles outside of the box that has been your life and realize it can move on just fine without you. The Grimes Family of five was so accustomed to being in the middle of everything that it was difficult to keep up with the pace back in Nashville. Difficult, yet lovely at the same time. Each weekend was filled with fourteen simultaneous activities – all of equal importance and therefore, all attainable if we split up and went separate directions. Weekends were bursting with so much fun that it would have been nice to have a secret, undetected day between Sunday and Monday just to get our bearings again before the week began. The craziness of Saturday finally yielded to the togetherness of Sunday, where our extended family filled an entire pew at church and then raced all the other pew-filling families to the nearest restaurant.

So much has changed in the past year.

We signed a new lease on our apartment today. A year ago it seemed surreal, a twenty page document that confirmed that we weren’t in Kansas anymore. It was not so much a beginning of a new life because our apartment was filled with an inflatable mattress and a couple of folding chairs. I had to return to Nashville the following week, to an empty house that still held our furniture, as if holding it’s breath until we all came home.

But we never did.

The house is now rented, furniture dispersed and what would fit in our little apartment was transported one van load at a time to Michigan. The Grimes Family of three finds itself at home on a Saturday night, another Michigan chilly night, catching the herky jerky Vandy game online and not really caring if the neighboring apartments hear us cheering.  My minivan that used to travel 150 miles over a weekend now sits for several days at a time with no place to go.

Yes, much has changed in the past year, but it has not been all bad. Our lifestyle is much more simple. We live within our means. My family is not neglected, and can rest in the fact that they are my focus. Malloree has adapted well in school, and her grades are higher than ever. She makes new friends daily who seem to be charmed by her ability to just be Malloree. When Tommy gets home from work each evening, we eat at home, together, which is something that rarely happened before. And I finally surrendered to my dreams of writing, something that I doubted could ever become a reality. But here I am, working on my first book and knocking on new doors every day.

And tomorrow, we get introduced at Lifechurch as new members. Lifechurch is a great place to be, filled with God-loving people who have found a way to focus on Jesus and helping the unchurched feel welcome. We sure needed a piece of that.

The members at Lifechurch may not want to hear it, but I wish I could tell them that half of us is missing – that we are really a family of five and Crystal and Andrew are always with us, even if they can’t see them. I wish I could tell them that we aren’t sure why we were sent to Michigan, but we are trying. I wish I could tell them that placing membership is still difficult, like cheating on the only church we have ever known.

I think what I will say, instead is this: Church has always been a huge part of our lives, and we honestly look forward to being here each week. And that is something I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to say again. I will also say that they are teaching us many things that we didn’t realize we still needed to learn, and that is a true mark of a great church. Isn’t that what Jesus did on a daily basis?

It turns out that becoming a new member isn’t as easy as I thought it would be, and that home doesn’t really mean much until you see  see it from a distance. Still, I’m thankful for a place to worship, because it is now much more about Jesus and less about friends and family. One thing is certain- worship is more meaningful now than ever before.

Maybe that was the point all along.

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