To continue our series on how God is faithful to His church and how we can in turn cultivate faithfulness as we invest in our church, we are excited to share with you a beautifully documented story of how the relentless love of God brought the Sosa family deeper into His Kingdom story.
By Holly Sosa
When my husband and I blended our families four years ago, we were lost and trying to put a bandage over our past as we moved forward with our five children in tow. We were “believers” but were content with keeping God on a shelf until Sunday morning, when we would neatly pull Him down, take in a good moral lesson at church, and then come home. Then we’d change out of our church clothes, toss our sermon notes in the trash can, and put God back at arm’s length up on that shelf, where it was easier to keep Him. Because being vulnerable with God, admitting our transgressions, and coming to Him, admitting our brokenness was much too hard. Caught in all that comes with a blended family, we were much more content with stubborn ignorance that allowed us to feel superior over our situations. We were Sunday-attending Christians, desperately in need of Jesus.
Looking back, I can’t believe I didn’t see God clearly at work to bring our family to Redeemer. Two years ago, our two boys (stepbrothers who are six months apart in age) started preschool and quickly befriended a boy named Buddy. Buddy’s mom, Billynda, and I sort of fell in friend-love at first sight. We even jokingly admitted how weird we were to just look at one another and decide we needed to be friends. Billynda and I became fast friends as did our boys. We started taking morning walks together after we dropped our boys off at school and we chatted about our faith frequently. Billynda helped me navigate some questions I had about my arm’s length faith and gently nudged me each week to join her women’s Bible study group.
“I’m leading one and can make sure you’re with me so you’re not uncomfortable.”
“We have childcare.”
“We actually talked about that last week in Bible study, you should come.”
Each week, she pointed me lovingly towards this church she said had become her family. I ran out of excuses and decided to start attending the Tuesday morning meetings.
That first day, I walked into a room full of women who instantly welcomed me. I saw a couple of familiar faces and Billynda introduced me to a few more at her table. I felt at home almost immediately and any feeling of nervousness I had, evaporated as I saw women just like me filling each table. Some of us didn’t realize how much God was going to share with us during those weeks. Others were hungry for Jesus. And some filled with years of wisdom only a life full of faith can offer.
Women’s Bible study is where that first root was unfurled deep below the surface. Redeemer felt like home to me. I made connections with several of the women. I learned more about God during those Tuesday mornings than I ever did in my previous arm’s-length faith in the two years that I attended my old church. I learned about God. I learned about God rather than what moral lessons I could pick and choose to neatly fit in the Sunday sermon.
God knew Redeemer was a fit for my family. And I knew it, but my husband wasn’t quite as enthusiastic. I prayed and trusted God. I grappled with it for months before resting and knowing ultimately I needed to rest and trust Him.
“Redeemer felt like home to me”
Then in January, my husband said it was time. His reasons in the beginning were practical: Redeemer was closer, it served our local community, and it was a smaller church where we could put some roots down. We’ve been attending Redeemer for ten months and our lives have been changed completely. My husband, who previously huffed his way through Sunday sermons, is now singing worship. My children are telling me stories they’re learning about from the Bible, and we are creating relationships with people. The biggest change has been in my husband, who enjoys being fed the Word line by line, book by book, right from the Bible. He now craves Jesus, is leading our family in prayer daily, and is an example of Christ to me as his wife.
We’ve taken God off of the shelf and instead, have now injected Him into every facet of our lives. Glorifying God is now an everyday part of our lives. God has worked through Redeemer to radically change our family by creating fully committed followers of Jesus who love God by loving others.
“We’ve taken God off of the shelf and instead, have now injected Him into every facet of our lives.”
Story by Holly Sosa OurHollyDays.com
Photography by Sarah Sotro Torres www.sarahsotro.com