In October of 2010, my family made its way across the country from Virginia to our new home in Marysville. It is a completely different world from the area where I grew up and I was completely out of my element. It used to be hosting dinners and elaborate kids’ birthday parties and having all of my family around for help, support, and the spur of the moment visit. We moved to an area where we did not know anyone and some of the neighbors literally turned their backs to us when we tried to introduce ourselves. It was a shock to my system to say the least.
Things just kind of drifted along. I made a couple of friends in the area but had another shock to my system when I was diagnosed with MS on August 1, 2012. All of the sudden, my life was filled with frequent medical appointments and I had to learn how to give myself injections to which I had horrible reactions. Not my idea of fun, let me tell you! I had one local friend during this time who was wonderful and would do anything that she could to help with all the crazy schedule planning. Being military, she moved in 2013, and again I was in a state of upheaval.
My health took a turn in 2013 and I ended up in the hospital for a couple of days because of a bad MS exacerbation. I did not think that I was actually going to leave the hospital and the stress of not having a local support system just made the situation feel worse. I did a lot of praying and crying during that period of about 6 months where things were at their worst. I still skated along spiritually; believing, but not really having a church experience where I felt as if the Bible was actually being lived.
Last year, after a family complication, Chad and I decided that it was time. Time to hunt down a church that would give us what needed to become closer to God. Google was the way we went. Looked at a few different options and AC3 was at the top of our list. We figured we would go to a few different churches until we found one the fit. So one weekend in October of 2014, we walked through the doors of AC3 and we have never looked back.
I am not one to get involved if I do not know people. I am painfully shy and pretty awkward. I have never liked speaking in front of people. It takes me a little while to be comfortable in front of people to even talk with them. I like to hang out in the background and not draw attention to myself. But something happened when I walked through those front doors of the church. I can only assume that God was trying to tell me that this is where I belong and it is a safe place because I took a huge leap out of my comfort zone. I have no other way to explain it. I jumped right in helping wherever I could and meeting people left and right. I am leading a team, am in charge of the church’s library, helping in the nursery and Creek Espresso, and was approached over the summer by Jamie Williamson to co-lead a mom’s support group. These are not things that I would have willingly taken on for an organization before walking into AC3. I definitely feel as if God is working through me after showing me that this is a safe place to work within.
My entire family has found a community, the likes of which we have never had before. People genuinely care about one another. When someone asks you if they can help with something, they mean it. This church community is definitely an extended family that can count on one another for support, whether it be a shoulder to cry on, help with a project around the house, meals for families going through a hard time...It does not matter what is needed, there is someone in this community that will help out, even if they are someone you haven’t had the opportunity to meet, yet.
The church community of AC3 not only acts like a family when it is a time of expressed need, but they act like a family because that is how they are. They take the need for a Christ-centered village seriously and do so because that is who they truly are. My family was invited to have Thanksgiving dinner with another church family month or so ago. Yes, it is known that we do not have any blood relatives near, but we also had not mentioned anything about it only being the five of us for Thanksgiving. To receive that invitation was a huge honor and means more to our family than that family will ever know. So when I sit down this year at Thanksgiving dinner, I will be thanking God for this amazing community that we were delivered to a little over a year ago. This community that has become family to us and has blessed us in so many ways. Thank you, AC3 family for being an amazing example of what a Christ-centered community is supposed to be.