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Growing up, my dad would often fill my car up with gas. It was his way of saying he loved me and thinking of me. On those cold winter days, I would hop in the car, dreading the necessary stop at the gas pump, just to find out I had a full tank of gas! Thanks Dad, you’re the best!

When I first married, I thought my husband should do the same thing, after all that’s what my daddy did! It wasn’t until I almost ran out of gas several times that I realized I needed to fill up my own gas tank.

We bring our own expectations into our marriages in a million different ways.

Who should take out the trash? Who does the laundry? Who pays the bills? Who does the dishes? Who gives the kids a bath? Who fills up the car and so forth.

We think how our family operated was the “norm,” and every family should operate the same way.

Looking for a church family is similar. We bring our own expectations and way of doing things along with us. My old church did things this way; we had this program; we sat in these chairs; we took the Lord’s Supper this way and on this day; my bible teacher taught out of this book; the pastor spoke with gusto and conviction with this kind of tone, and on and on it goes.

Having the honor of traveling and speaking at different churches, I get to see the heartbeat of each church – how they interact, how they include outsiders, what they value, how they organize events, what their needs are at the moment, how history has shaped who they are, how their “family” operates. Each church is unique and beautiful, having their own strengths and weaknesses.

God reminds me how much He loves His Church and how we can learn from each other and love each other despite our differences. Being willing to listen, learn and grow from each other is such a valuable thing – God loves the humble (Psalms 49:4).

It has been a privilege to see the Bride of Christ with a new perspective – not just see things done the way my family does them but how Christ is honored in new and unique ways. It is a beautiful reminder that Christ uses each one of us right where we are at, with the gifts and talents we each possess.

Maybe you find yourself looking for a new church home like me and my family (as we have recently moved). It can be a daunting task no doubt! But take courage my friend! God has a place for you in His family. It may look different than your old church; there will be new relationships formed, new expectations and new ways of doing things, but one thing is for certain: He has a place for each one of us!

Being a part of a church family is invaluable! Therefore, do not grow weary in looking for a church that loves His word, gives to the poor, follows hard after Christ and His example on the cross and preaches the Truth. All other things are secondary.

My husband may not fill up my car with gasoline but he does a million things every day to show me how much he loves me. Thanks baby, you’re the best!