In 1995, I moved to Raleigh, NC, for a variety of reasons. It was definitely a God-directed move, and as always, He provided the right churches for me. I attended many good churches while in Raleigh, and whether it was a long or short stay, God taught me and revealed Himself to me through all the people I met. He directed me, and then Don and me, according to His perfect timing and provision.
(NOTE: During the first quarter of MultiColor Monday blogs, I'll be sharing about teachers and mentors who played key roles in helping me grow in my faith, and whose teaching helped me understand what it means to live as a Christian.)
The church we attended the longest, Triangle Vineyard, is the one I’d like to highlight. I began attending the Vineyard in January, 1997. When I walked in, Pastor Joe was about to start his message. The Lord spoke to my spirit, “This is my man Joe. Sit under him and learn.” I joined his small group, attended classes he taught, and eventually joined the worship team (Joe was also a gifted worship leader).
Shortly after I started attending, the Lord began healing wounds from my past. One week I felt especially weepy, and didn’t know why. That Thursday at small group, Joe started the meeting by asking for prayer requests. Not wanting to be first, I waited…until my tears gave me away. Despite my usual reservations at sharing so personally, I poured out my heart about past hurts. The whole group took turns praying for me and speaking God’s love to me, and just let me cry. I felt safe, loved, and accepted.
And that was just the beginning. Over the next few years I experienced more healing and deliverance than I knew was possible. I met and became friends with awesome, godly couples who showed me what good marriages looked like. I served in children's ministry, I experienced God's tangible presence, and I learned about God’s gracious love. The Lord revealed gifts in me and gave me a safe and encouraging place to learn how to use my gifts. Many, many people mentored me in my growing faith – you all know who you are.
When I married Don in 2000, I left the Vineyard and joined him at his church, but we still kept in touch with our friends there. When Joe died in 2004 (after a battle with cancer), Don and I started attending a Vineyard small group to help us grieve our loss. A few years later, the Lord led us back to the Vineyard as our church, and we stayed until the end of 2012. Once again, we received much needed mentoring and healing, this time for our marriage.
Thank you, Triangle Vineyard friends and pastors, for demonstrating Jesus’ love to me and Don, and for sharing your lives with us.
Thank you, Joe - I'll see you again!
If you live in the Raleigh, NC area and you're looking for a church, be sure to check out Triangle Vineyard on Western Boulevard.