I see Zibby turning cartwheels down the same aisle of the church where Aaron and I exchanged vows over sixteen years ago.
I tell Zibby not to turn cartwheels in church, but inside I'm struck with beauty of it all.
Our little daughter had an impulsive idea that took over and she seized the opportunity.
I'm so glad she did.
Because life has been so heavy lately.
I needed to see her do something "happy" and "un-inhibited" and "fun."
She was comfortable in that place at that moment so, our painfully shy daughter traded caution for cartwheel mode.
Because sometimes you can't help yourself.
Sometimes you just gotta turn a cartwheel in the sanctuary.
It's the same joyous impulse that took over Aaron and I after we said our "I Do's" all those years ago.
We smiled and,
throwing caution to the wind, we jumped off that last step, leaving the individual people that we once were up on the altar, and literally ran as one person down that church aisle.
If we had known then what we know now we wouldn't have believed it...
Although we were married at Emmanuel Bible Church we did not go to church there.
We met and fell in love at our beloved church...Calvary Chapel Christian Fellowship in Salem, Oregon when we were barely in our twenties.
Our Pastor, Mentor, and Friend married us.
We served together as worship leaders at Calvary Chapel for almost 20 years.
My family has faithfully ministered through Calvary Chapel since I was nine years old.
My servant hearted dad is an Assistant Pastor at Calvary Salem and my mom serves through worship, ministering to women, children's ministries, etc.
Our extended family all attend Calvary Chapel Salem.
Our closest friends and loved ones, all of those who have prayed for us, stood by us, encouraged us, those who have laughed and cried with us, they are all a part of our Calvary Chapel Family.
All three of our children were dedicated to Christ at Calvary Chapel.
So, the foreignness of seeing one of our children turn a cartwheel after service at a different church is, for us, a big deal.
The only other times in our lives together as a family that we have attended a different church were when we lived out of the state.
We never left Calvary Chapel in our hearts.
We always said goodbye with hope to return.
No hard feelings...everyone understood why we had to go.
Almost two months ago we made one of the hardest decisions of our lives.
We stepped away from all ministry at Calvary Chapel and started to seriously pray together over where our hearts were being lead.
That prayer and those convictions challenged us to leave the only church we have ever really called home.
We never imagined it.
But we had to obey.
All the reasons why we left are private and personal to us.
Every attempt I make at an explanation goes up in flames.
We simply had to go.
And we had to go quietly.
There are so many hard parts to this....but for me, personally, the hardest part is not being able to say goodbye or to explain.
The misunderstandings of it all keep me up at night.
I'm glad that God does not sleep.
It is not easy going to a new church when your own comfortable and familiar church is just down the road.
It's not easy to understand when you are 8, 12, and 14.
It's not easy to understand when you are 37 & 39 either.
But, Faith is the Substance of Things Hoped for, the Evidence of Things Not Seen.
This kind of challenge is about Faith.
It's about Conviction.
It's about Honesty.
But above all else it's about Obedience.
And with each step of faithful obedience that we take our hearts feel that much more free.
It started with a step,
and then a leap that became a run,
and then a run that turned over into cartwheels of liberty.
And, like a kind of life cartwheel, we find ourselves full circle...
back at the place where our family began,
and at least that part of it feels like Home.
"It is for freedom that Christ has set is free..." Galatians 5:1