An Open Letter: Testing Out My Faith
by Emily Shutsky
I am sitting down to write this right after getting back home from the incredible Hallows 10th anniversary celebration, my stomach in elated leaps after being filled with the most delicious cake made by Debs Mayfield that I could have imagined!
Today’s celebration was filled with both incredible thankfulness and heavy sadness, as it was my final Sunday as a regular member of The Hallows Church. In just a few days, I’ll be on a one-way flight to Boston, in the thick of re-learning how to drive a car, figuring out a brand-new role in a brand-new job in biotech, and finding a church community in a location that I only ever lived in before becoming Christian. (Please pray for me on all these fronts!).
Given the opportunity, I could probably write pages upon pages on how The Hallows has been such a blessing to me during my 3.5 years in Seattle, but I will try to be brief. Here is where I got to test out my faith in a new way after coming to faith and being baptized while in graduate school.
Testing out my faith
I got to really ask, “Is my faith real? Can it withstand a cross-country move and a whole new community of believers? Or was this all just a phase?” Thankfully, it turns out it was very real, and my time at The Hallows deepened that faith in so many ways that God clearly knew I needed. He helped me to prioritize and cling fast to friendships and to invest early and often in the church body. He allowed me to build relationships with people in life stages other than my own (e.g. married people, families, kiddos!) and those even became some of the strongest friendships I formed during my time here.
God rooted me in a love for the Word that I got to experience through the incredible teachings on Sundays, our Gospel Clarity events, and our Advent devotionals among many other things. He chose to bring me to a place of leading prayer, which was absolutely not something I intended when coming to Seattle! He just aligned a deep need and desire in me to pray individually with a corporate need for revitalized prayer at The Hallows, and I got to rely on Him as He used a very insecure and imperfect Christian (hi, that’s me) to be part of His kingdom work through prayer.
Necessity and power of the gospel for all people
God widened my view of the necessity and power of the gospel for all people, not just the ones I was used to worshipping with. He instilled in me a deep belief in gospel-saturated relationships and community that I will absolutely take with me to Boston and wherever else my life might take me.
That’s just a snippet, but I wanted to take the time to thank all of you for the ways in which you encouraged me, prayed for me, laughed with me, gently rebuked me, and just “did life” with me. I will miss all of you so much, but please pray with me that God will put me in the new church body that He had planned for me this whole time–where I can serve and be served, love and be loved. May God continue the good work in me that He started before I even had an inkling I’d be in Seattle! He has much more in store for me (and for all of us!) and I can’t wait to see where that leads.
(And, of course, please visit! I will do my best to make it back as well!)
Emily, Member of The Hallows Church Wallingford Expression