In October 2019, my wife and I decided to quit going to church. We had been talking about it for close to a year. It was painful. We grew up in the church. The vast majority of our memories have taken place in church buildings.
In fact, anytime we move, the very first thing we look for is a faith community. Whenever we moved across the country, we came up with a rule. Before we would look for a place to live or even a job, we would find a church. And only after finding a church, then we would look for everything else.
Then everything else.
From a young age, I have loved the church. More than almost anything. I’ve given so much of my life to her. In fact, my whole life, I have wanted to be a church pastor. I still do. Leaving the church was not a decision we took lightly. It hurt. A lot.
It still hurts.
But yesterday, my wife had an idea. So we packed up the family, grabbed the kids’ coin donation jar and got in the car. A couple of years back, we introduced the kids to the idea of being charitable. And now, every time they earn money, we put some to the side for savings and some to the side for giving away.
Well, yesterday, we drove around until we met a gentleman that I’ll call Johnny. Johnny is having a hard time and is currently struggling with homelessness. So we took the time to introduce ourselves and get to know him. It was rainy and he was soaked.
After talking with Johnny for a bit, my wife gave him a gift card for some food. We bought him a new waterproof jacket. The kids unscrewed the lid to their coin jar and poured all the money they had been saving into his hands. Out of everything that we did, this brought Johnny to tears. His own son is in foster care and he misses him. A lot. The kids giving him their hard earned money meant a lot to him.
Before we left, the kids told Johnny, “God loves you. Have a good day, Johnny!” And gave him high fives before leaving.
Yesterday, we went to church as a family for the first time in almost 2 years. It felt nice.