At just a few days shy of two weeks into this series, I’m blessed to have the opportunity to share what is taking place in my life. The goal is document is simply to document the goodness of God in my life, allow him to work through me, and watch everything around me change and flourish as a result.
Today I went to church! If you’ve not guessed it by now, I am a believer in Jesus Christ. I have NOT been a Christian my entire life, and even after receiving Christ I didn’t truly begin to allow God to be Lord until I became an adult. As a matter of fact, I am sure there were activities that I engaged in that would have made it very difficult to make a case for Christ. It’s sad, I hate to have to put that out there, but it is the truth! I was a professing Christian living like I had no clue who Jesus was! The even sadder truth is that I wasn’t the only one. There are many people who purport being followers of Christ, but have not truly committed to living for him. My daily prayer is that the people I come in contact with will be able to see the difference Jesus makes in me, and get curious enough to find out more about him. I can honestly say that I am living for the Lord with every part of me. I am not perfect, and I make a lot of mistakes along my walk, but I am earnest in my pursuit of Jesus.
Anyway, now that you have a bit of background knowledge, I can go ahead and tell you why going to church today was such a big deal for me. Once upon a time, it wasn’t a big deal. Mostly because I was always there, probably because I never truly encountered Christ on my own until I sought him out and began to mature as a Christian. I had honestly gotten very comfortable. I was involved in “ministry” on a weekly basis. It took up a great deal of my free time. I thought being busy for Jesus was great! I was engaging with church people and these were good people right? I mean they had to be they were in church and church is a good place! At least that’s what most of us have learned about church, and for most people that’s where the learning stops. We get “acquainted” with God and comfortable with going through the motions and that’s it. That’s what happened to me. All I had known, was all I ever knew, and at the end of my pregnancy with my twin boys who are now almost two, I stopped going to church. I wanted more, and I needed more but I had no clue where to start, so it was easy not to go at all. I had small children, a busy family and work life, and there was no room in my schedule for church. Then after almost three years of marriage, and now a third child who is seven months old today, that complacent, nonchalant, carefree indifference I had about church, waned. I was empty, and drying up. Everything around me was drying up. I missed the atmosphere, and the joining of God’s people together under one roof. I was in prayer for months, asking God to show me where to go, because I was clear he wanted more for me than what I had been experiencing all these years. I knew that I did not want to do what I had been doing. I did not want to go through the motions. I did not want be a part of some special club or click of people. I did not want my identity to be consumed in who I was connected to or related to. I just wanted to worship God freely, without restraint and with people who were sincere, honest in their approach to their relationships with God, and be in a place where I was challenged and changed.
Today, I took that step. It was awkward at first. I felt self-conscious. I have not been in a worship service in almost two years, and so I felt like the new kid, which I was! I watched and observed the people around me who were clearly benefiting from healthy fellowship with other believers. I wanted that. I need that. I want to belong to a community of people who struggle like me, and seek God like me, and cry and laugh and are real and honest. I want to grow and develop as a Christian, and like I said in the beginning of this post I want to influence my world, beginning with my home. I felt such warmth by the time I entered the sanctuary. It was more than a feel good. It was like the Holy Spirit was giving me a glimpse of what a life in Christ should look like. I can’t wait for the opportunities to get connected with other women who I can share with, who will pray for me and love me and encourage me.
The body of Christ is the church, not a building. You can be involved in everything going on inside of the building where you meet, and still be disconnected from God. You can give of your talents, time and effort and be empty. That just shouldn’t be! Christ didn’t create the church as a place to hang out and feel good. It’s supposed to be a meeting place, whether it be a home or a hut, where we can become equipped to carry out His great commission- “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). I understand now why the Bible admonishes us not to stop gathering together with other believers. There is strength in community. There is truth in community. It’s really hard to be going through a tough time, be connected to a group of believers, and nobody knows what’s going on. I’m tired of going through life without being able to solicit a faithful group of people to raise their voices to God on my behalf. Now I don’t have to! If you’re a believer in Jesus Christ, stay connected to a healthy group of Christians. You don’t have to be at the biggest or most popular church in the city. God does not live in a building and he doesn’t have favorites. If you have not yet made the decision to but your faith in Jesus Christ, I encourage you, to make that choice. It’s not magic and you must do it in faith, but God will meet you there! Trust him, and know that there are other people who are earnestly trying to live out their convictions and are willing to walk along with you. Be courageous and be a light for the people around you.