Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Gypsy Child Goes on a Quest to Belong

Part 5 of this story series.


The word encapsulates the next nine years of my search for a Christian community where I could belong.

After I disengaged from my harried lifestyle as an Associated Press reporter and also broke off my long-term relationship with my Jewish boyfriend, I moved to North Carolina. I was the business editor at a paper in a military town, Fayetteville – home to the 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg.

I sought long and hard for a church where I could fit in and was met with one disappointment after another.

Sometimes it was a matter of different viewpoints (“Wives, stay home and take care of your husbands. It’s a sin to work,” said one preacher).

Sometimes, the barrier was my profession – people were suspicious of someone in the news media and treated me coldly when they found out what I did for a living.

And sometimes, it was a pastor who was a little too friendly with me. That was the case at the church where I met Brent, who pointed out that the pastor there barely spoke to him, but regularly hugged me and made a beeline to talk to me at every turn. I was so accustomed to the behavior from other pastors that it hadn’t occurred to me until then that it was inappropriate.

After Brent and I married, we kept up our search for a church home. We finally landed at a Methodist church, but after our first week there, the pastor left. There had been a big fight in the congregation over music, and half of the church split. We kept going there, because those who were left were very sweet to us as Brent went away to Iraq. We grew to love those people at that church, and it was the beginning of us feeling the importance of community and love. We taught a Sunday School class for college students and enjoyed branching our influence into their lives, too.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my Bible study at Fort Bragg with other military wives, called Protestant Women of the Chapel. These women regularly prayed for me during my difficult pregnancy with Neil and then threw a lavish shower for me. Although many of them were poor, they brought the most beautiful gifts and covered me with love. It was another opportunity to sample the types of relationships Christians should have with each other.

But then Brent exited the military, and we moved to Augusta, Georgia. Our search for a church started up all over again. This time, we found a Lutheran church, and every Thursday night, we attended a Bible study called the Alpha Course. We discovered that we knew more than any of the other people attending and quickly became discussion leaders.

It was in Augusta that I experienced terrible physical suffering. While going through that trial, Brent and I participated in a Lenten experience called “Ten Brave Christians.” As I studied the Word and prayed for the others in our group, I thought there could not possibly be another church on the planet where I would feel as happy and joyful. They were supportive of me, and I sank deep into the love that surrounded us. This was the best it could get, I thought.

But Brent felt the need to help poor people. So we moved again for him to take a job raising money for The Salvation Army in Lexington, Kentucky. That meant our search for a church had to begin all over again.

It was arduous. It was frustrating. It was demoralizing.

As the weeks turned into months, I started resenting Brent for taking me away from Georgia and from our Lutheran church where I had finally made so many meaningful friendships. My anger built, and I lashed at him at every turn.

This went on for 18 months.

But it all changed for us in April 2008, when we walked through the doors of Quest Community Church.

Tune in tomorrow for the conclusion of the tale of the Gypsy Child and how it relates to your relationship with the community of the Bride of Christ.


  1. ..Heidi.."your therapy is going nowhere" -(Hannabil Lector) :) ...your anger at Brent is SECONDARY (displaced)..By hate him for removing you from loving friends in georgia in the same manner your parents frequently uprooted you from your cherished childhood re-experience the grevious wound of upheavel inflicted by unthinking parents....since the anger and rage at your parents remains suppressed there is somewhat of a danger present that you will permanently "shift" or project the repressed subconscious anger onto your husband(who represents your father)...this may already have occured .....become aware of your "Defense Mechanisms"=Unconscious strategies for avoiding or reducing threatening feelings..(shopping anyone?)... "Defense mechanisms allow negative feelings to be lessened without an alteration of the situation that is producing them, often by distorting the reality of that situation in some way. While they can help in coping with stress, they pose a danger because the reduction of stress can be so appealing that the defenses are maintained and become habitual" .....

  2. Huh!

    For once in my life, I say to you ... ya got me cold.