By Dee Wieninger

(January 2015)

I’m hoping many, if not all, of you will be able to relate to what I am about to share. One because everyone should have a “Familiar Church Home” in which they are so truly loved that it hinders any chance of ever loving another body of believers the same way again. And two that you will realize that the next church you attend is only an extension of your “Familiar Church Home” and is just waiting to receive and give that same amazing love.

We were members of our “Familiar Church Home” for about 12 years.  Our children grew up physically, as well as spiritually, in this wonderful body of believers.  When we moved away and the commute warranted seeking a new church home our lives were never quite the same again. 

We had become members of three different churches after the exodus from our beloved “Familiar Church Home”.  It seemed my heart could never truly settle anywhere. It always seemed restless and dare I say it, discontent. 


Last month after being gone for many years, we returned to “Familiar Church Home” for a memorial service for a very dear friend. In the midst of that reunion was a gift from God that I didn’t even know I wanted or needed.  As sad as it was to say good-by to one friend we were granted the joyful opportunity to say hello to so many more.  As I hugged and greeted a very dear couple, I’ll call them John and Jane  Doe, the Lord said to me, “Just love like they loved you!" I heard the words in my Spirit and comprehended there meaning but very quickly another couple of dear friends was on us and we were greeted with the same hugs and loving memories. This was pretty much how the next couple of hours passed, one loving friend after another was there for hugs and joyous reunion. There was no time to process what the Lord had just revealed!

The next day, as I was preparing to attend our current church home, the Lord brought those words to my memory and I began to cry. “Just love like they loved you!” As I pondered and prayed about what the Lord was showing me I began to question if I had truly loved my new friends at Unfamiliar Church Home like those at “Familiar Church Home”. I’d gone through the motions of attending church regularly, plugging into different ministries, teaching and leading but in all those works had I truly loved?  John and Jane never lead a Bible study of which I was a part, she didn’t lead women’s ministry or was the main speaker at any of our ladies conferences or retreats that I remember. But what I do remember is they loved us. They loved our children. They were an active part in rearing our children even helping to make it possible for them to attend mission trips and youth activities. John and Jane always greeted us with the joy of parents and/or grandparents.  All our friends in that church greeted each other that way and now I seemed to be robbing myself and others of knowing that love because they weren’t John and Jane - they weren’t our “Familiar Church Home”!

Strangely enough our “Current Church Home” is the first church I ever attended as a child. It’s only a mile from our home and has wonderful families in it for me to love. Our God is so good to show us things about ourselves that need attention and now that He has shared this with me my prayer is that I can love enough to help make “Current Church Home” “Familiar Church Home” for ourselves and our new, wonderful family and friends.

(Revision: October 2016)

I recently returned again to our Familiar Church home for their 50th anniversary and grand opening of their new building addition! What a time we had reuniting with one another. I have permission to share a picture of John and Jane better know as Jim and Audrey Forder. Please know, that as they may have been the couple I mention in the story, they are representative of every one of our friends at Familiar Church Home who have impacted our lives! I only hope I have learned to love as they do!


By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:35 (NIV)