Today Emma, Audrey and I went to visit a new church. Not because we are unhappy with our old one, it is just that we are thinking of switching to one that is closer to home. Emma gets car sick just driving around the corner - so to have her feeling unwell every single trip to church is unfair (on everyone!).
But it's just not that simple is it?
Well, today it was simple because Em, Audrey and I went as an 'advance party' to check things out. We were able to go incognito without Ashlea - and masqueraded as average Joe's (it felt weird). The good points for the new church are that it appears to be wheelchair accessible, and the morning tea is better :)
What it really boils down to though is that we still receive a lot of ongoing support from Gladesville. Ashlea has a roster of people to assist her in Sunday School - people who I know and trust. We have had - and will have again during the transplant - meals, housework help, child minding, washing folding - you name it. I am even getting meals now 4 months out from the transplant because my bible study ladies are trying to fatten me up.
How do we start at a new church where people don't know us yet we still need this ongoing help? At the absolute minimum we cannot attend a church that is not willing to include Ashlea in Sunday School by providing helpers. How do you ask for that though??? We also have the transplant coming up - how can we ask people we hardly know to help us through that?
And don't even start me on the emotional wrench it will be to leave Gladesville. Our friends at Gladesville have walked with us this whole journey. There are people there who have known us since 'before Ashlea'. These are the people who lived through the girls early birth with us - and have followed every step, every triumph and every setback since then.
I feel really torn. I don't want to leave Gladesville, but the reality is that it would be really good to go to a church closer to home. It is hard to invite people to church when it is so far away. It's hard for the children to be involved as they don't socialise with any of the children outside of church. We don't really socialise with anyone from Gladesville outside of church anymore. I feel like it is time for us to make the move.
But it's just not that easy!!!
I know it is the role of a church to support its members - but it seems different when you arrive as a member needing support, rather than become a member needing support as we did with Ashlea. There is also the whole question of timing. Do we move now? Do we wait until after the transplant? I don't want to change churches just before the transplant, but I also don't want to stay at Gladesville, accept all their support, and then up and leave straight after.
So you can see why this is such a dilemma.
Any thoughts? Words of wisdom?