My husband and I were not mega church, multisite people. I had to be divinely convinced Seacoast was where we belonged.
For three months, we searched for a church that was a good fit, but it seemed easier to sell our house in Georgia and buy a new one here in Charleston than to find a new church home. I began to believe the only way would be if the decision was no longer up to us. I asked God to prompt someone to invite us to the church we needed to join.
We received three invitations to Seacoast five days later at our neighborhood Christmas party. I felt such awe from that answered prayer, and I couldn’t wait to see why God wanted us at Seacoast. But still, I had questions. Could I handle a church that was nondenominational? One without an organ? I admit that I’ve overheard and been a part of more conversations than I wish to recall about whose denomination promotes God more favorably. We can all be quite smug. Denomination superiority discussions in the South are akin to smack talk about whose team is best during football season. And like football, these conversations start as early as the playground.
“Denomination superiority discussions in the South are akin to smack talk about whose team is best during football season.”
Even as lifelong churchgoers we were a bit unnerved walking through the doors of Seacoast for the first time on Christmas Eve. I gazed at the two-story entrance at the Mount Pleasant Campus with the feeling of having bought tickets to a special Christian conference and not a church service. People crowded the hallways, looking peaceful and genuinely happy to be at church. The openness and brightness made my spirit feel more free. Within a month, we were going to Seacoast regularly.
In answering my prayer to find a church home, I soon discovered God was also exposing my need for a face-to-face appraisal of my relationship with him. For years, I had felt punished when my prayers went unanswered. I had accused him of being unloving and uncaring whenever I faced the same problems over and over without solutions. But now I know that God is light and love without darkness in him. And if there is no darkness, he was not uncaring. He could do immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine. New words and new ways to see God transformed me, and I’ve learned to view the times when life gets messy and difficult, as seasons, rather than accepting them as a permanent part of my life. My situation doesn’t get to dictate the final outcome.
It’s been five and a half years since I joined Seacoast. Looking back, I see that I really did follow the steps of Seacoast’s vision and values. It’s truly a natural progression: “Seacoast exists to help people find God, grow their faith, discover their purpose and make a difference.”
A Natural Progression
Although I have lived a lifetime of knowing God, I truly found God for the first time. I stopped pointing fingers and learned to limit my exposure to negativity and complaining. I became taller than life’s problems. As my faith grew, I made braver decisions, stepping over my fear of making wrong choices. I attended career counseling to find a new occupation and discovered my purpose remained right where I already was—in the field of physical therapy. I went back to school for additional training and the classroom prepared me to open my own business. I think I’m beginning to make a difference, helping people to recover in my physical therapy practice. I’m the same person and yet completely different all at once. I am living the extraordinary life I had always tried to find.