So, here's the scoop on how God has been at work in our lives lately. 10+ years ago, Ben attended a college group at Calvary Chapel in Santa Barbara, and the leader was Britt Merrick. Then, when I was at CSUN, I had a class with Britt's wife, Kate. I think by that time, they had started Reality, a church in Carpenteria. Anyhow, Reality has a new campus in Ventura, which opened September 6th, 2009. The kids and I were sick that week, but Ben heard one of Britt's sermons on the radio. He said we should go and check it out. So, off we went to check out one of Reality's services. I was having a particularly hard time leaving Ezra, so we brought him into the service with us. During the announcement time, an usher came up to tell us about the cry room. I responded with my "No, thank you smile." But, he made sure to reiterate that if Ezra started fussing, we needed to take him out. I was already pretty emotional, and definitely not prepared for that, so we ended up walking out into the foyer. There, Ben was talking with two of the pastors, then I am crying, then we left. After our car conversation, Ben decided he needed to go back and talk some more with the guys. I stayed in the car with the kiddos. When he came back, he said everything went well (Reality's policy in general, is that in order to minimize distractions, they ask that children under 12 attend their classes). One man in particular, saw Ben and basically at that moment just began dumping love into the guy. He has five kids, the oldest is nineteen, the youngest is third grade. He said that he could see what was going on with Ben, and expressed some similarities, and really felt like we needed to come over to their house that afternoon. They were having a prayer time of commissioning, for the new school year, with all the homeschooling families in the church. So... we showed up, and ended up in this circle of at least 25 families. What a sweet prayer time it was!! (not to mention, Caleb fell into the pond).
Well, this same guy really pursued Ben. He invited Ben to a prayer meeting Tuesday morning, and then to breakfast with two of the guys. Then, the next morning, he went to the Men's Accountability meeting. Ben was praying, and feeling God impress a verse on his heart that he was going to share with the guys. But, the guy next to him started praying specifically for Ben and used that same verse!!! Let's just say there were many such occasions like this, where God was clearly making Himself, and the movement of His Spirit known.
NOW... what my girlfriend and I have been praying for (for quite some time) was 1) a man/ men to come alongside Ben and 2) that God would speak clearly to Ben in regards to giving us direction. So, Ben came home Wednesday and told me quite confidently that he felt this is where God is calling us to be and serve right now, and that we were going to be part of a home group in Ventura. At this point, I had had very little interaction with people from the church. I hadn't even really met any women from the church!! But, I totally felt at peace, and I was so excited to see God working so mightily, and speaking to Ben so clearly about things. Then Ben mentioned that he thought there might be a women's Bible Study on Thursday. I had been trying to attend the study at our current church, but it just wasn't working out, between doctor's appointments, and childcare, etc. So, I got up Thursday morning to go to an address... somewhere where I didn't know anyone, had never been, and didn't know what they were studying. In my rush, I grabbed my Bible, my journal, and my study book for the study I had been doing on my own. When I showed up, I discovered that they were doing the same exact study and were on the same week!!! Then, through all my crying and laughing, I started talking with a lady. She was asking me all these questions, and then stopped and said, "Wait. What is your husband's name??" When I told her, she was totally freaking out!! She is best friend's with a woman, whose husband used to work with Ben (the couple now lives in Seattle, Washington). The husband had just been down here a while ago and had spent the evening at our house. So, the woman I am talking to said, "Al (the husband) was just telling me what a rich time he had with Ben when he was in Ojai!!"
Anyway, so, this past Sunday was actually our first Sunday at the church. Because they have an early service, we were able to meet Ben there after he got off his night shift (which means he'll be able to come most weeks, and only miss one a month!!). I went to drop off Ezra (dum, dum dum!!!) and the lady working the nursery was a woman I had just met at a homeschooling conference at the beginning of this year. And, a friend from high school ended up being Noah's teacher!! Needless to say, it was just amazing. I don't even have the words to describe it. But, as Ben and I just prayed and cried, and took communion together, and worshiped, and lifted our hands to our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, we knew we were in the right place.