Perhaps the biggest, most significant change to our family in the past year has to do with our "church life". If you've followed along on Peyton's site over the past few years, you will understand how challenging and frustrating life can be when you introduce a special needs child. You would have gotten a sense of my frustration with God and the church, asking questions like "why?" and "why me?" or "why us?". We took a gigantic leap of faith when we moved to Charleston, SC in August 2008 so that Ron could take on a new job with Blackbaud. We knew no one here. We had no family here. We were having to give up and replace many doctors and an excellent hospital system for Peyton. But we felt that this move was the right thing to do.
While we've always had a lot of support in terms of prayer for our family, we were not experiencing much support from our church experience. We were not "connecting" in any Catholic church here. We were feeling more and more disconnected from God and the church. This can be detrimental to your family if it's left unchecked! I was getting desperate for something...anything to change that would make my life better. A friend sensed this after reading a journal entry I wrote on Peyton's site last April. She invited me to come to church with her. We hadn't been in a while; it was always too difficult - no place for the kids to be (particularly Peyton) or we'd have to go separately. The church was not a Catholic church, but rather an evangelical non-denomination Christian church - Seacoast Church. I went for the first time with this friend and her family. Moira came along since I was told they had a great kids program.
I have to say that that single decision to go to this church has been the absolute best decision of my life. I have to admit, though, the decision did not come without guilt or other feelings of "abandoning" the faith I grew up in. I still hold on to my Catholic roots. However, in Seacoast, I found the "something" I was missing. This church doesn't have a "great" kids program. They have a program that is beyond words. It is unbelievable. Amazing. Outstanding. EVERY child has a special place to be. Including Peyton. They have what they call "Won by One", which is a special needs ministry. Peyton was hospitalized within a few days of that first Seacoast experience. While I was struggling with the whole idea of "what do we do?", even while in the hospital, one by one I heard from nurses and even Peyton's roommate's mother about how they go to Seacoast or they've been or they have friends that go. Even one of the student nurses wound up being the person I met when I toured the nursery area and found Won by One! So many signs made it abundantly clear that Seacoast was the place we needed to be.
By June, we had attended Seacoast's "Newcomers" meeting which is where we "signed up". I have posted the link to our church campus on this blog in case anyone is interested. In Seacoast we have found our home. A home that we were missing out on for so long. The people we have met through Seacoast are some of the most amazing and wonderful people we've met since we've moved here. The guilt and issues of doubt about what to do with this decision were cast aside long ago. Every single message we've heard since attending has felt like it was speaking directly to us and our situation. I've never had that experience with church before. Seacoast is our home. The friends we have met through Seacoast are family. There is so much love in that place, it's incredible.
If you have any questions about why we chose Seacoast, or what we really get out of going there, we'd love to share! The link is on the blog home page. Check it out!
Since I want this blog to focus on all of the positive things and the blessings in our lives, I can guarantee without a doubt that you will be hearing about Seacoast....frequently. We have centered our lives around God. God is first. We're glad to be able to share the joys in our life with you!