When I met my now husband, Wade, I have to admit that I was more than a little bit intimidated by certain aspects of his life. Before really getting to know him, I knew these few things about him:
1. He has tattoos. Lots of them. Really beautiful, well thought out ones. One is of Buddha.
2. He likes to ride bikes for long distances (and I haven’t been on a bike in Y E A R S).
3. He has a teenage daughter.
4. He is incredibly handsome and a total brilliant geek.
5. He is in the process of reevaluating and redefining his faith and beliefs.
Okay, so you can see why I was see why I felt intimidated, right?? After our first few flirty emails and text conversations, I knew that we had chemistry. After our first date in September 2010, I felt like I had seriously just went on a date with the man I was made for. I mean CLOUD NINE, GIDDY TO THE CORE, CAN’T-STOP-SMILING-IF-SOMEONE-RIPPED-A-TOOTH-OUT, sucker punched by fate kinda feeling. You know that feeling, ladies? Well, despite him having a 13 year old, being recently divorced, living right next door to his mother, and being in management at my place of work, the only REAL thing I was freaked out by was his faith – or lack thereof.
You see, I am a Christian. I believe in God, Jesus, salvation, Heaven and Hell, right and wrong, faith, the Bible, etc. My faith journey has been a rocky one, and when I initially began dating Wade I felt like I was finally settling into my fairly new faith and LOVING the way it felt on me. Wade, on the other hand, had just gone through some earth-shattering, life re-defining events that had left him rocked to the core. He was redefining what faith meant to him and for him. For instance, he doesn’t believe that Jesus is the only way to Heaven (GASP!), and he doesn’t believe that the Bible is a divinely inspired text or that it is the only divinely inspired religious text (hmmm…okay tell me more), and he does not believe in Hell and condemnation (oh gosh, there goes our relationship, or so I thought). Well, I fell in love with him despite his beliefs. I respected his journey and thought that maybe there was a chance one day that we could find some common ground between my beliefs and his. In fact, a lot of the things he said made total sense to me and really made me question what I believed and why. However, through it all, I knew that the most important thing for me was to just be a good example of a Christian and what it means to me to be a Christian. Love others, be kinds to others, and respect others.
Fast-forward to December 2010. We got engaged on December 24, 2010. TIRES SQUEALING – BACK UP – PUT THE CAR IN PARK. I forgot to mention that on December 20, 2010 we found out that we were expecting a baby! Talk about being rocked to the core!! Now we can move forward! Anyways after we got engaged we began having discussions on faith, church, family, how we would incorporate our faiths into our new family, etc. Wade attended a Unitarian Universalist Church, and I went with him some. While there were aspects of it that I enjoyed, I left in tears more than a few times because I felt like it was difficult to be a Christian in that church. I felt like many of the attendees of this church were “recovering Christians”, as I liked to say, and I just felt really out of place a lot of the time (not with the people but with the messages). I didn’t know of any churches out here where we lived, and we said we’d “shop around” for a new one together. Katie, his daughter, wanted to try Kingsway Christian Church. It’s one of those mega churches that put on concerts every Sunday morning. It’s the kind of church you can attend and get lost in if you’re not intentionally seeking out ways to get involved. After a few tries here, we knew that that wasn’t it for us either. We really didn’t have any good answers except that we wanted and needed to be together as a family and that any way we went, one of us was likely to be missing out on something important unless we found a better fit for both of us. Nearly impossible, I thought. Our final answer to this was to pretty much put church on the back burner until our lives calmed down some. Little did we realize that our life together would not calm down, and that it would take something a little more divine to encourage us to make a move.
Fast forward over a year. It is now July 2012. In the past year we’ve gotten married, had a baby, lost Wade’s mom, struggled some with Katie, moved, and gotten pregnant AGAIN. I’m a stay-at-home mom, as you have read in previous blogs. Sometimes, when Jake is preoccupied with other things or while he’s napping, I get online and check out Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets. One day, I was playing with Jake in his room and checking FB at the same time (I know, I know, I need to put down the electronics in front of my kiddo). Anyways, I stumbled across a post from Momastery.com. A wonderfully inspiring woman named Glennon writes this blog, and her particular post that day was one that she had originally written and posted 2 years ago about, you guessed it, FAITH. When I looked at it, I thought about how long it looked and do I really have the time to read this entire post, but I am so thankful that I did. Basically she proclaimed her intense, passionate love for Jesus Christ, as well as her love and respect for all other human beings – God’s children. Anywho, she said some really inspiring things that rung so clear to Wade and me. She mentioned that she believes there are a lot of overlapping truths confirmed in other sacred texts like the Koran and the Bhagavad-Gita. She tells her children about Buddha and other important spiritual figures. She doesn’t judge others for their beliefs, sexual orientation, political persuasions, etc. After reading this blog, which I felt described how I’ve always wanted to explain my faith and feelings but could just never seem to translate from head to hand to paper, I sent her post to Wade and shared it on Facebook. Wade read it, and we were INSPIRED! The “cavity in the otherwise pearly white smile of our relationship”, as Wade likes to describe this process, was about to get a serious drilling and filling. The search for common spiritual ground was back on!!
Fast forward a few weeks later. Today is Sunday, August 5th. Today we went to a new church for the first time. Today we found some common ground, and now we both feel like we’re heading in the right direction with our search. Prior to going to the church, a Quaker church down the street, we didn’t know exactly what to expect. However, it was pretty much the best first-time-at-a-new-church experience that we’ve ever had! The service ended up being outside in a little pavilion much to our delight. The weather was a bit overcast and warm but with a gentle breeze that was just enough to keep it comfortable. The pace was incredibly relaxed, a little unorganized, and the people were soooooo friendly and welcoming. The nice thing is that Wade knows a lot of people who go to this particular church, and they were happy to see us! I felt like the way the pastor shared the message and the things he had to say were right on. My heart felt fed for the first time in a long, long time. We left feeling like there wasn’t one thing we would have changed or wished were different. We’re actually LOOKING FORWARD to going to church again next week. Seriously, we are EXCITED about going to church together!!!! As Wade likes to say, “the cavity in the otherwise pearly white smile of our relationship” is about to get a serious drilling and filling. I feel like prayers have been answered and something absolutely ground-breaking is on the horizon for the Wingler family.
CAN I GET AN AMEN!?!?