Life’s been a little busier than normal for Sandy and me the past few weeks because we’re getting ready to move to a new home. For the past few years we’ve wanted to “downsize” to a ranch style home. Our two-story home with a full basement is more than we need and we’re over walking up and down two sets of stairs. We’ve been looking for a while but have been pretty picky. One Saturday night I came home from church and saw a home online that was what we were looking for. We looked at the home Sunday after church, made an offer and on Monday it was ours. So the past few weeks have been busy as we got our home ready to be put up for sale. Fortunately for us it sold in 10 days. We closed on our new home last Friday and are now making preparations to do a little bit of work inside before we move in.
We’ve lived in our current home for a little over 15 years. That’s the longest we’ve lived in any home (6 in the past 35 years). It’s bittersweet because we’ve experienced a lot of life in this house. We adjusted to living in Indiana in this house, and that was a difficult adjustment, especially for Andrew and Tricia who were 16 and 13 when we moved. We welcomed a daughter-in-law and 3 grandchildren in this house. When Andrew and Kara moved to Indiana with Gracie, they lived in our basement for the first few months until they bought their own home. We faced our most frightening and difficult trial of our lives in this house when I was diagnosed with Cancer in December of 2011. When I was going through my treatment there was a time when I didn’t get out of bed except to go to the hospital each day for radiation (I had chemo once each week as well). When Gracie would come over she would look at Sandy and point upstairs which was her way of saying she wanted to see me. Seeing her little face was one of the things that always raised my spirits so I will always remember the scene of our bedroom door opening and her peeking her little face in to see me – to make sure I was still there. This house is filled with the memories of lots of laughter, lots of tears, lots of sleepless nights and lots of prayers. We’re surrounded by lots of families from church and no one has lived on our cul-de-sac longer than we have.
It was difficult to find a house when we first moved here in 2001. I had “sticker” shock because the homes were so much more expensive here than they were in Oklahoma. And I have had times when I was unhappy and dissatisfied with this house even though we’ve made a lot of updates and changes over the years (it’s simply not everything I want). But I’ve been reminded in recent weeks of how easy it is for familiarity to cause you to lose your appreciation for some things. We’ve had a lot of people in and out of our home recently (realtors – home inspectors – appraisers – repairmen), and each one of them have said the same thing: “You have a really nice home.” About the third time I heard that, something “clicked” and I thought, “Yes, we do.” It’s easy sometimes to let familiarity cause you to lose perspective and appreciation for what you have. It’s also easy sometimes to focus on what you don’t have or don’t like to the point of missing everything that’s good.
All this makes me think about church. I’m obviously very prejudiced when it comes to Mount Pleasant, but I think we have a great church. Our weekend worship services are outstanding (believe me, I’ve been to lots of other churches and you are not going to find the level of quality we have at Mount Pleasant in many churches – I’m talking about everything from our facilities to our Ambassadors/First Impression people to our Children’s/Student ministries to our Worship & Arts and on and on). Our Home Group ministries provide a great opportunity for genuine community and fellowship (that’s my experience in my Home Group). And I don’t know any other church that serves people in as many ways as Mount Pleasant. But I’m afraid that, for many, familiarity has caused a loss of appreciation and perspective. I’m also afraid that, for some, it’s too easy to focus on what’s missing than on what’s present. The truth is, the words of Psalm 100:4 should be our personal theme every time we come to worship. Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name. Is Mount Pleasant a perfect church? No, no more than my house for the past 15 years has been a perfect house. But Mount Pleasant IS a great church, and we should be thankful for all that God has provided and all that God does each and every weekend.
So while I’m excited about moving into my new home, I have a renewed thankfulness for the home I’m leaving. I’m glad I was reminded of how nice that home is (and has been). I hope that regardless of how long you’ve been a part of the Mount Pleasant family, you will have a renewed thankfulness for the blessing of your church home and what God has provided and continues to provide each and every week. And I hope you will make a deeper commitment to be faithful in worship and connected to the life of the church in every way.