Lisa Ciatti

In Our Stories by Kim Eiffert

“And slowly, I become anxious – something I’ve never before experienced. After a couple of weeks, I decide that I need to get a grip and so I head to the doctor.”

It’s February of 2013. My husband, Brent, has been offered a promotion in Dallas, Texas. Awesome, right?

For the last five years, we were living in Raleigh, North Carolina. We had been in Charlotte for the 18 years prior. North Carolina was home. The boys were born there. They were active in church, school and sports. We were settled in a great neighborhood with wonderful friends and I had recently started a job as the Director of Children’s Ministries at our church. Life was good….but, this was a wonderful opportunity for Brent. It’s exciting to have a new adventure. And, we could be closer to family in Louisiana. Without batting eye, we made the decision to move to Texas!

Our house hunting trips kept taking us to West Frisco and we would drive by Grace Avenue and comment, “There’s our new church!” We figured something would have to be crazy wrong with it since it was so close to where we were going to live for us not to go!

Fast forward to July of 2013. We’ve arrived in Frisco, Texas! We are sad, yet excited, making the most of this “adventure.” Brent, who has been here for several months, is busy with long workdays, so the boys and I are left to unpack in this strange place. We meet no neighbors. It’s so flat here. There are no trees. It all seems so foreign. The kids are happy for their dad’s new position, but bitter about what they’ve left behind. And slowly, I become anxious – something I’ve never before experienced. After a couple of weeks, I decide that I need to get a grip and so I head to the doctor. As I am about to leave, the doctor gave me a piece of paper and said, “Go home and read the scripture verse written on this paper and then get yourself to church.” Interesting medical prescription.

Being a rule follower, I did as instructed. The scripture reading was Jeremiah 29:11, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

Next stop in the assignment: Google Grace Avenue United Methodist Church. And what did I find on the home page? An invitation to a new study, Moving On After Moving In: What To Do After the Boxes Are Unpacked. A study for uprooted women. Sunday morning we are at church. And, the one person I had met in Frisco was also there and invited us to lunch with her family. We felt at home on the first day.

The study connected me to other women experiencing the same emotions and emptiness. And it gave me friendships within the Grace Avenue family. We met people who invited us to do things within the church. Our youngest became involved in the youth program, making his own connections and finding his place.

Grace Avenue helped fill the prescription in 2013. Now, we love the church’s commitment to serving others. Change The World Weekend proved their commitment to service. We were amazed that a church would trade Sunday worship for a day of service and the opportunity to impact the community. And quite frankly, you can’t beat the youth program – the leadership, the adult volunteers, the community, the lessons, an avenue to serve, and it’s just fun.

What about Grace Avenue in the years to come? My hope is that the growing church will stay true to itself – to the welcoming community that we found in the summer of 2013. We had a physical home in Frisco, but that day we found a spiritual and an emotional home.