Providence led us to be connected to Metro Presbyterian Church. Christina came to East Falls for medical school and was having trouble plugging into a church. One of Christina’s classmates invited her to Metro and she immediately attended the next community group. The group’s willingness to cultivate Godly character led her to start attending Sunday services. It also helped that the church was less than a block away from her apartment. I married Christina and moved to Philadelphia the following summer. As I transitioned into Philadelphia, I too experienced the blend of Word and warmth that she treasured at Metro. And in no time, we both decided to join the church.
A key part of that decision was our desire to go beyond attendance. More than anything, we wanted to be community dependent—both supporting and being supported by others. When we chose to be honest about our own sins and sorrows as well as our hopes and joys, several of our new friends prayed for us and consistently followed up with us. Even though we didn’t have a family in the East coast, Philadelphia began to feel like home.
Early in our marriage, our lives darkened as the trust in our marriage eroded under different stressors. We reacted differently—exploding into anger or withdrawing into self-protection—and the hurt went so deep that each of us were momentarily tempted to consider suicide. As we chose to continue sharing our lives with full transparency, our Metro family persisted in loving and walking alongside us in counsel and prayer. Their intercession and Biblical wisdom were not only considerate, but also desperately needed.
Jesus has been faithful to us over the past four years, even when we were not faithful to Him. The healing process wasn’t quick or easy, but we learned to forgive each other and recommit to our marriage instead of barricading ourselves in bitterness or defensiveness. Our relationship is still far from perfect—and some days it isn’t even good—but we know that it is God’s design for us to reflect on Christ even in the toughest of times.
Now, we have an eleven-month-old daughter and a fresh appreciation for each other as parents with differing strengths: Christina is a fantastic baby food chef and I can improvise songs. We loved connecting with the other Metro parents and seeing younger singles enjoying their new uncle or aunt status. We will cry when we have to leave Philadelphia for an out-of-state medical residency program because we will miss everyone at Metro. At our next church, we will share our lives and seek to bless others as we have been blessed.