Before Jonathan joined the Navy, he was working at Securitas in Tulare, California as a security guard at a dairy processing factory. He worked 12 hour shifts almost every Sunday, which meant no church for us as a couple. It has literally been YEARS since we’ve sat down to a church sermon that wasn’t just the two of us in our living room listening in on a podcast online or watching a DVD Bible study.
So one of the first things we wanted to do once I arrived here in Pensacola was to find a good non-denominational Christian church to attend.
So I mentioned in a previous blog post that when we were in crazy moving in week, we bought a ton of furniture off of Craigslist. When I was telling the couple we bought our dining room table and chairs from how good God has been to us in this whole moving process, they invited us to their church on Pensacola Beach. Like, literally. ON the beach. Not near it, or by it. But gathering on an open deck patio under a restaurant and spilling out onto the sparkling white sands. (The pure white tropical sands of Pensacola Beach are known as “singing sand”. Because the sands contain silica, are at a certain humidity, and because they are exactly 0.1 and 0.5 mm in diameter, they emit a squeaking, whistling musical note when stepped on. The more you know!)
Anyhoo, we told our new friends that we’d keep their church in mind, and that we’d be in touch. Then, later that same week,Jonathan got involved in a Bible study group on the Navy base. While at the study group he asked his new friends where they recommend as a home church. They invited him to a “church that meets on Pensacola Beach… like, on the beach.”
So guess where we went for church on Sunday?
While we’ve only been to one service, I can say that Central Waterside Church in Pensacola is something else. Everyone is friendly and inviting. There was a sprawling table with danishes and muffins and free coffee. We arrived late, and hadn’t brought any chairs for the sand, but Martha and David, our Craigslist friends, had saved seats for us.
I found myself sitting under the awning among driftwood and palms, feeling the warm, salty ocean breeze in my face and gently lifting my hair, holding hands with my handsome husband, hearing God’s word over the sound of beach gulls and ocean waves and childrens laughter on the beach as my daughter wiggled around in my belly and I found myself thinking – how did I get here?! Everything has been happening so fast. Too fast.
But there is no denying – I am blessed. God has certainly been so good to me and my family. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us in the future.
Jonathan met up with his Navy friends and helped them tear down the stage after the service, and I walked along the pier and visited with some of the women, asking questions about how the church gets involved in the community and getting familiar with the dynamics of their fellowship. We’re going to keep checking this church out in the following weeks before making any kind of commitment, but I have an inkling that we’ve found our new home church.
So far, easing into “home” has been astoundingly easy. I am beginning to see why so many look wistfully back at their A School days here in Pensacola and wish they’d been stationed here. I’m going to treasure our time here, and I can’t wait to see where God takes us next!