Monday, January 04, 2010

Grab my Hand

I’m not going to blog today about goals or resolutions. I’m not going to blog about the New Year or forgetting the past. I’m not even going to blog about motivation.

I’m going to be blunt.

For unspoken reasons, my husband and I chose to leave our church of six years and search for a new church family. Not an easy feat. Not a pleasant one. Not one I relish in any shape or form. Not one I’d wish on anyone.

First I circled all the possibilities in the newspaper and followed up with a run-through their websites. Then I checked their statement of faith, what ministries they offered and the times of the services. Finally, I picked one. A sort of random choice.

“We can’t even do a drive-by, “my husband said as we turned down the dead-end road surrounded by orange groves this morning.

“It’ll be fine, “I said. But I admit my heart beat harder. Only one other car arrived as we did. Everyone else was already inside. Hopefully someone would show us where the bathroom was and hand us a bulletin.

I don’t really like new situations but find myself in them more often than not. The funny thing is—I always come through them. Sometimes a little wiser. Sometimes a little stronger.

I’ve met many people who are just like me today. Walking into a new career as a writer. Unsure of their surroundings or expectations. Should they write articles first? Should they dive right into a novel? Should they start a website as well as a blog?

It can be really scary starting this new career. Scary trying anything new.

Within a minute, the pastor and several other members of the church greeted us. They showed us the bathroom, handed us a pen and a bulletin and made sure we knew about all the upcoming activities.

I forgot to be nervous because family surrounded us.

2010 can be the year you throw off your fears, dive into your dream of writing. But please remember—we’re all family here. Just grab hold.

How were you blessed last year from the writing community?


Journaling Woman said...

I did this a few years ago and it was one of the hardest things I have had to do. It turned out just fine.

I found out there ARE other Christians out there. :)

Yolanda said...

Oh how my heart beat for you and with you as I read your thoughts this morning. And it reminded me of what God really has pressed upon my heart this week, HE is the ONLY one and think we are to FEAR.

I sense God was showing you that as well, sweet Friend.

Much love,

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

Hubby and I spent almost 6 months searching for a new church home when we moved from one community to another. Tried several but never felt like church family. And then, when we least expected it and were ready to give up, we walked into a wonderful church home and have been blessed lots and can't imagine ourselves anywhere else!Praying you feel the same at your new church home!

Tamika: said...

We moved our membership during the first year of our marriage and it was painful. It turned out to be the biggest blessing, saved my marriage and opened up a wonderful love relationship with the Lord.

I feel a lot of that with blogging. Finding a place to walk along side other writers of faith. God has again provided a safe place for me to fall.

mamabear said...

Beautifully written, friend. We searched for a few years after a cross country move, sometimes staying at one or the other for several months. The present one is perfect, even though the music is too subdued for me. I finally realized that everything on my "list" didn't have to be satisfied. What matters most are the relationships. The family. Well said.

I can rock out to my favorite Christian tunes via the Internet, or CD's.

Jeanette Levellie said...

I love that you take your courage in hand and do what has to be done in spite of your nervousness, Terri. I'm proud of you. May the Lord direct your steps to the perfect group of nourishing believers to worship with.

Audience of ONE

Janna Qualman said...

I love this, Terri. The reminder that, in some ways, it can be as simple as taking hold of that helping hand.

Karen Lange said...

I was blessed with so many new writing friends and support beyond anything I could imagine. Our God is good:)

Kristen Painter said...

God blessed me with a sale this year. Above and beyond what I expected. I am so blessed!

Jody Hedlund said...

You are so right! Starting anything new, whether a church or writing endeavor (conference, novel, etc.), all of that means taking some risk. I'm so glad for a wonderful writing community that has made me feel so welcome and encourages so well!

Shelley said...

When I first started going to my church, back in 2000, I had felt like God was leading me to go to that particular on 5 years earlier. I thought, "When I start going back to church, I'm going there." Finally, in 2000, I made the plunge and went. I was scared to death, but I forced myself to go. If I didn't force myself, I would have turned around and went back home.

It was a little different than what I'd experienced as a child, but nothing too drastic. At the end of the service, the pastor stood at the door shaking hands with everyone, and when it was my turn, he asked my name. The next week I went back, and after the service, when the pastor was shaking my hand, he called me by my name. I was impressed that he remembered it!

I need to get more involved with the writing community, instead of trying to go at my writing alone. I'm sure it would help things along!

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

What a great analogy!

There were days when I got really discouraged and I'd log on to find encouraging words about my writing ability. Those comments really kept me going!

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...


I cannot even begin to explain how the writing community has impacted me during the past year. I am so glad you experienced a loving environment at your church.

For some weird reason I'm not as afraid of jumping into new things as I am of people discovering the extent of my "uniqueness" once I'm full in.

~ Wendy

Andrea said...


What a great reminder: "we are all family."

May GOD bless your new adventure and pour HIMSELF out to you and through you like never before.

Blessings, hugs, and prayers,

PS: How is your mom?

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Terri -

New situations create lots of stress. It takes time to adjust and find a niche.

Thanks to all my blogging friends, who have answered questions, encouraged me with their posts, and prayed during hard times.

Susan :)

Maria I. Morgan said...

Good post, Terri! I guess when we're out of our comfort zone, we rely more on our God! Great place to be! I've been encouraged by so many of you in the 'blogosphere' this year - I don't know where to begin! What began as a nudge from the Lord to write, has blossomed into direction for a devotional series. I'm humbled by all of the encouragement I've gotten along the way, and want to say a big "Thank You" to all of you!! Blessings!

Jan Cline said...

I was so grateful in 2009 to have talented people actually read and comment on my blog. What an honor. And you, my friend, inspired me so much in 2009. God bless your new church adventure.

T. Anne said...

About ten years ago I left a church we had been at for twelve years. It was the best thing ever! I'm sure God has great plans for you. XOXO

Susan R. Mills said...

I can't even begin to tell you the many ways in which I was blessed. I think God put this blogging community in my life at just the right time, and for that I'm thankful. I'm grabbing hold. :)

Susan Wicker said...

Hi Terri....I'm glad you found a new church. Really happy for you. I love reading your columns. Are you able to contribute financially to your family's budget with writing? I'd really like to be able to do that. Just wondered your thoughts on this. Thank you so much for becoming a follower to my blog and making comments. It is SO APPRECIATED. Thanks! Sincerely, Susan at

Eileen Astels Watson said...

I do hope this Church is just right for you, Terri!! Change isn't easy, but wow, what wonderful things can come from it for sure!!

Jessica said...

The writing community is really supportive. I feel blessed that every time I whine people encourage me and challenge me to keep going. LOL

I'm sorry you had to leave your church and hope you find one that is awesome and fits well with you and hubby. :-)

Natalie said...

I actually have friends that are writers now. They make this whole thing more fun. I love to be able to read a blog or email a friend who understands exactly what I'm going through with my writing. It's been wonderful being part of a community.

I hope your new church becomes a great refuge for you and your family. :)

Cindy said...

I'll pray that you find the right church, Terri. I can understand the trepidation with the new situation. I'd never been involved with a church before four years ago. I wasn't even a Christian. Starting to go to church and find that new kind of family was one of the hardest things I'd ever done. But you're right about being stronger afterward.

I was blessed beyond words with the writing community last year. Support, feedback, friendship. And I found a superb critique group :) I learned and grew and I feel immensely stronger because of it.

BeckyJoie said...

I don't know the reasons you left this church but I'm sure gonna miss you. You are one of the few I connected with.

destrella said...

Change is hard regardless. Glad you felt welcomed at this church. Hope your mom is well. Praying for your situation and hers. :O)

Alleluiabelle said...

My Dear Friend,

Change has always been a hard one for me. I was Catholic my entire life up until about seven years ago when I became Christian. I teetered back and forth going to both churches as the same time. Then after going to the church I presently go to, I left for several months because for some reason or other the "family" there didn't seem wholly like "family" as it did at first. Still teetering with that one today.

Blogging for me within the past year has been wonderful. All of us have met some pretty great people we can call "family" even though we have never met face-to-face and that is how I feel about you. We are one network of loving people who care about one another, pray for each other, lift each other up, laugh and cry with each other and I thank the Lord for you and all of my blogging friends. What started out for me as a blog really for just myself, turned out to be a totally different thing and it's a wonderful thing. God truly knows what is right for all of us and I thank Him for you sweet friend.

Love & Prayers,

Carla Gade said...

What a nice post. I hope this tures out to be a good new church family of friends for you. I think the Christian writers' community is such an inviting place, too. Lots of support and friendship.


Melissa Marsh said...

What a marvelous story. When I moved to the city I currently lived in, I wanted to find a church family, but it was so very hard as I knew NO one. Finally, we decided to go to the Presbyterian church that was just down the street from us. Even though a fire burned it down and they relocated, we followed. I love it there.

The writing community blessed me over and over this year as I struggled with writing-related and personal issues. They were always there for me, no matter what, offering encouragement and sympathy.

Lin Floyd said...

good for you. If you're ever searching again, try a visit to the Mormon church-formerly called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They have several websites or There are many similarities with churches and writing and they revolve around FAITH.

Jill Kemerer said...

Change is so hard. You're right, though, we can do it and we can walk away stronger. Good for you!

Amy Tate said...

Moving your membership IS hard. When I was younger my family moved churches all the time. By the time I was 18, I'd been a member of 21 churches. No kidding. So when my husband and I got married, we were determined to stay put. But guess what? Our church split six months ago and it's getting ugly. Looks like we'll be hitting the road again. I absolutely dread it. I dread the visiting and all the formalities. I'm so glad your story has a happy ending. We're still praying over our situation and resting in God's leading, but it's not fun.

Heather Sunseri said...

So, you're taking risks with me? Entering a new church for the first time IS scary. But it shouldn't be, should it?

Blogging was that way for me. I was so scared, but I was amazed at how quickly I was able to call certain bloggers my friends and family!

Good luck with switching churches. I hope you find the right family to join!

Katie Ganshert said...

I was incredibly blessed by the writing community last year. It was my first year surrounded by a writing family. And the joy I felt when I got an agent was a gazillion times sweeter because so many people who understand how hard this ccan be jumped in and celebrated with me. I was touched beyond words.

I hope this new church is a perfect, God-ordained fit for you and your hubby.

Diane said...

Oh, Terri! I know firsthand how painful your situation is. Your post was perfect! I've been very blessed in the last months by your blog and a few of your reader's blogs and stepping out in writing my own.

2010 is going to be a good year!!! The Lord's blessings upon you and your family.

Beth in NC said...

Oh Terri, we left our home church spring 2006. It was horrible and it has been an interesting journey. I asked the elders to bless our decision.

I pray God will lead you ever step as you search for a new church home.



AnooCre8ion said...

Terri you are such an encouraging woman. I am standing in that place right now as we've been looking for a new church home for the past year or so. It is scary and frustrating, but I am trusting God to place us where He wants us.
In terms of writing, many times I feel like I am going at it alone but God is faithful and so I refuse to complain. Without my laptop for almost a year, sometimes I really have no desire to write, but He is bringing me to a place (even though I fight sometimes) where I put my feelings aside and do what I know He has called me to do.
Over and over I am hearing, "Give God something to work with Vickie."

Thank you for your encouragement.
I continue to pray for you, your mom and the rest of your family.


Carmen said...

Finding a new church sure can be a bit nerve wracking! It's nice to know you've found one that accepts you as family. Hope the love continues to pour and that you're where you need to be! :)

Donald said...

Donald is my husband's name. It's his account. For some reason the system will not accept my Wordpress name. I love doing new things! I get nervous but so excited! I hope your new church will become like a home for you. God bless!

Donald said...

Sorry! My webpage is
A happy site too!

Catherine West said...

Hi Terri! That was funny, "We can't even do a drive by!" Oh boy. I know how you feel. Fear is the biggest thing that keeps us in the same place.
I've managed to conquer fear with my writing life, most of the time. I know this wouldn't have been possible without the fellow writers I've met through ACFW. Over the years, awesome men and women have come alongside me, encouraged me, taught me, rejoiced with me and picked me back up when all I wanted to do was wallow in the mud. There is no greater writing community out there than American Christian Fiction Writers. Each year holds new blessings, and I look forward to what 2010 will bring for us all!

Nancy said...

Just having a blog and getting such wonderful feedback from other writers has been the joy of this year for me. They have been so fantastic I'm speechless. I love writers and am glad to be in such great company.

Heckety said...

Blessed? Well I met you for starters! And a lot of other lovely people who aren't afraid to write what they think!

Greg C said...

Awesome post. We went through that a few years ago and I am glad to say that we are still going to the new church. It was a good choice for us.

jdcoughlin said...

I am grabbing hold with you, girl, as we all are. We are a community, a family, and we are all hoping for you a better year, a year free of worry. And good luck with your new congregation. At least you'll have one for sure friend who is always there.

Faith Imagined said...

It seems like God is ALWAYS pushing my outside of my comfort zone. In fact, outside of my comfort zone has become comfortable!

sarah said...

I think you're totally brave and an amazing thriver. You move forward...scared or not. I'm inpsired by your courage and strength. Writing community supports - you've been really helpful Terri and I joined TWG; one writer encouraged me to tell my story, did a free edit and asked a publisher to read my stuff. Another writer helped me figure outthe website and paypal....writers are neat people.

Linda said...

Hugs, Terri. Having left a home church at home point in time, I know how difficult a decision that is to make. And I also know how scary it can be to start fresh. Praying that this new church will become family for you.

Gaia said...

I am blessed just knowing so many of you out there. Your stories of joy, pain, laughter, fun, struggle... and more. I have learnt every ones life is different and we all learn to face our fears and grow. The blogging community is not pretentious, we get no points being a fake. At with that I am grateful and blessed. Thank you Terri for being one of them.

Heidi Willis said...

This post really hit home with me. My husband and I have moved a lot in our marriage, and the church hunting thing is the very hardest. it's the hope of finding that perfect place God wants you that keeps us getting up and trying new ones out.

As for writing, I don't think I'd still be plugging away if I didn't have the writing community to encourage me and sympathize, and I certainly wouldn't be published. When I most felt like giving up, it was my writing friends who told me I needed to keep going, and gave me a shoulder to cry on when I felt like I couldn't.

日月神教-向左使 said...