We’d like to tell you a little bit of the story of how we came to Grace, some of the ways we’ve been called to give of our talents here, and the ways this community has come alongside us and given us invitations to lean in.
I first started coming to Grace when I was a brand new mom. Our oldest child was about 6 days old and I knew I needed to meet other moms. I saw a post on Facebook about the young mom’s group, so I convinced a couple other new mama friends (one of whom joined Grace not too long ago) to come with me so I didn’t go alone, and the rest is history. Thomas and I were looking for a church home, a church where we felt known and could really be a part of the life of the church and instantly felt at home at Grace.
The feeling in the Sanctuary, the people who we were genuinely excited to see us there, the presence of God in the worship all felt like the right fit for our family. We then continued to come each week and decided that these were our people and this was our home. We had always been at churches where the pastor didn’t know us and we were craving community. At Grace, when Pastor Trey really took the time to get to know us, when they people around us felt like genuine people we could grow in our faith with - we had that nudge that this is where we needed to be, and so we’ve stayed.
Honestly looking back it is the timing of it all that hits me the most. We had been at Grace just long enough to become a part of the community, have good roots planted here, and be settled into our new church home before our actual home was turned upside down with my mom’s cancer diagnosis and caring for her, while at the same time being pregnant with our twins and then having them shortly after she passed. I don’t think it was a coincidence at all that we had our church family surrounding us during that time.
Our family first came to Grace in the fall of 2016 when my oldest daughter was just 8 months old. I had originally planned to return to work after she was born, but due to several changes in my company, I chose to stay home with her full time. It was a joy and a blessing to be a stay at home mom, but it also felt lonely at times. One of my college sorority sisters and good friends had just come back to Houston and moved around the corner from us. On a walk one day, she mentioned there was a wonderful Young Mom's Bible Study at Grace Presbyterian and I HAD to go (no ifs or buts.) She immediately signed me up within a few days and I showed up for the bible study without knowing a single mom there and immediately felt so welcomed.
My husband and I were attending another church in the Heights area during this time. After having our first child, we knew we wanted to be somewhere a little closer to our home and somewhere that our daughter and future children would learn of God's goodness and love. After visiting the Young Mom’s bible study for over a year, we decided to attend Sunday worship at Grace. Over time, we also enjoyed getting plugged into the Foundations Sunday school class. We had another little girl in 2018 and the Foundations group showered us with love and support. We quickly found that our girls loved coming to Sunday worship especially when our oldest started attending the Treehouse on Sundays mornings. This was a game changer. Not only did we have the opportunity to join a church that our children truly enjoyed, but also where we felt welcomed, connected, and were challenged to grow in our faith.
I believe that church is a family. When I was struggling, living at MD Anderson, then living in the NICU, Grace- the people, the staff, every bit of our church poured into me in ways that I have never experienced before. I am always the one taking care of others and our church took care of me. So to me, family takes care of family. When our Sunday school class needed someone to coordinate caring for others who were in need, I couldn’t have said yes fast enough…. from there when our class needed a director, VBS needed a preschool director, capital campaign needed a speaker, teams needed a voice and someone to help, to now becoming an Elder, I am in.
To me, using our talents to serve God is really just the story of doing the next right thing in investing in the life of the church. It doesn’t mean going from visitor to Elder after your first Sunday, but it means just taking the next step using your gifts. From inviting others (I’ve been known to invite strangers I meet at baby stores 🤣), sharing the Gospel, sharing your story, saying yes to the ask or seeing where there is a need in our community, and then finding ways to use your particular gifts to serve.
I’m not certain I can pinpoint a specific time I decided to invest into leadership at Grace. However, I do remember one of our wonderful bible study leaders once say “always have your ‘yes’ on the table” and that statement stuck with me. I began saying “yes” to simple requests to help with different things at church. Within a few years it led to wonderful opportunities to serve. I currently have the privilege of co-leading PreK VBS along with Jamie, assisting with the 3 year old Sunday school class, attending Young Mom’s bible study and the Foundations Sunday school class, and serving as a Deacon.
My invitation to our church community would be to have your "Yes" on the table. It also means saying "Yes" to inviting others into our church. A simple invitation to a neighbor or a friend could be what opens the door to them knowing Jesus. Jamie and I are so grateful for this community and the ways you’ve loved us and invited us to use our gifts here. For all of us who make this church our home, we hope you’ll hear the invitation today to have your "Yes" on the table and be asking God where He might be calling you to use your gifts to serve the Kingdom.