Finding a New Home
After relocating to Florida, I had decided to trust the Lord to lead us to a new church home. I looked up local churches and watched whatever sermons they had online. I had found one that felt familiar and it became our new church. Worship was amazing, just like I was used to. They also had several small groups to choose from. The pastor had such a servant’s heart. He encouraged us to, and led us in, serving our community and created an environment that fostered an attitude of humility and servitude. What was there not to love? I was so grateful to God for not letting us down.
If you have not yet read Part 1 of My Journey to Becoming a Messianic Jew, start here.
Yearning for More
Well, as I began sitting through the service, I started yearning for more. I didn’t understand. The word was good and biblically-based but my heart wasn’t in it. I started to pray about it and repent for this bad attitude I must have been carrying to feel that way. I decided that if I wanted more, I had to BE more. So, I co-led a small group and it was an amazing experience. The Holy Spirit power was flowing and these woman -and dear friends- were being released into their God-given destinies. It was beautiful to see! But my feelings hadn’t changed. So, I decided to lead another small group and also sought out a married couple who I could be discipled by. With my husband working nights and no one to babysit my children, it proved difficult, but I was determined.
Then, the week before the marriage small group was set to start, the couple shared that they had decided to move out of state and would not be able to lead the group. I was disappointed to say the least. “Okay, Lord, what is going on?” I prayed for direction and next steps? Was I called to do something else within the church? I loved my pastors and felt comfortable talking to them but didn’t quite know what that next step was. Did God have another church for me? Though, I enjoy stability and comfort, I would go if God said to. However, there was no release. “Okay, Lord, I guess my place is here.”
While praying for my own next steps, I also prayed for my husband’s. He had grown so cold. He enjoyed serving and loved our church but his personal relationship with God was lacking. He rarely prayed, no longer interceded for me or the kids, and hardly ever opened his Bible. I prayed many prayers out of frustration which eventually turned into concern. He wasn’t praying so I prayed for the both of us! Then, the worship leader told me that they were starting a Leadership Academy and my name had been brought up. However, the Holy Spirit told her, “Not Jasmin, Aaron.” I went home and cried tears of joy that night. The Lord had heard my prayers and I just knew there was about to be a shift.
He attended the Leadership Academy, joined a small group that the pastor was leading, and signed up with a local mentoring program for boys. The change was evident. One day while at his small group, God placed it on his heart to lead a Passover Seder. We had attended a few that his father had led but he never seemed very interested in carrying on that tradition. However, God showed him one of the biggest desires of his heart coming to pass through a Seder he would lead.
I think it’s also important to mention that before moving to Florida, God put it on my heart to stop celebrating Christmas. This was a very confusing concept to me. I had celebrated the birth of Jesus all my life. I was going for my master’s degree in Christian studies and all of the pastors and Christian leaders who I studied with all celebrated it. It just didn’t make sense that these educated people who had studied the word of God deeply, long before I even knew God, celebrated it, but I shouldn’t. Most importantly, my pastors who I deeply respected and admired, one of which has a PhD in the field, celebrates it. For the first few years, I didn’t fully understand but trusted God enough to be obedient.
My purpose for sharing that is to add to why I was beginning to feel a bit out of place. I thank God so much that Jesus was born and that he conquered the grave and resurrected. But I was no longer interested in Santa, Christmas trees, inaccurate dates, Easter bunnies, or painted eggs. It seemed ridiculous to me that we had conformed to the ways of the world so long ago and would continue this tradition. Please, do not be offended if you choose to celebrate. I am in no way judging, just saying that this was definitely not the road God had for me to travel on. It’s no wonder, I started to feel out of place. It wasn’t because anything was lacking in my church but because it was no longer my place.
A New Experience
A few months later, my mother- and father-in-law came to visit us, as they do twice a year. They decided to visit a local Messianic Congregation. My father-in-law tried it out during a prior visit, but we weren’t interested. My initial apprehension was that I didn’t think I could relate to anyone at a synagogue. I didn’t really understand their culture and didn’t know if I would ever fit in. This time everyone except my husband went. I was so surprised to actually see three familiar faces. One was my son’s former daycare teacher whom I dearly loved. It was also her first time. That day, my littlest one was not going to let me go so I stayed in the Gan Yeladim (Garden of Children) with the other kids and the teacher. I knew it was meant to be because she was someone I could definitely relate to. She made me feel welcomed, answered my many questions, and understood me since she had also come from a Christian church.
Last Stop: A Messianic Jewish Synagogue!
The following week my husband joined us at the synagogue, and we began attending Saturday services at the synagogue and Sunday services at our Christian church. Soon after, we realized we would have to make a decision. Attending both days was too much and we also wanted to be fully committed to one place. My husband and I discussed what we wanted in a church or synagogue and what we believed God was calling us to do.
After that, it was just a matter of speaking to our pastors and becoming members of the synagogue. Their sweet hearts and support of our decision made it easier to transition. It has been an interesting journey and I know this is only the beginning. I have had several friends and family members feel led to honor the Sabbath (on Saturday) and it makes me feel excited to be part of a group of people, who whether right or not, yearn to follow the Father at all costs.
Thank you for reading about my journey. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to share them in the comment box below or email me directly at [email protected].
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