June 27 2016

The New Testament Church

new testament churchFor the past few years I have been faithful to say the least in my involvement with church. I went from being complete pagan of the world, to a Christian within a matter of months. God literally plucked me out of sin and placed me in a church. I was lost and confused about who God was, who Jesus Christ was, and I was. As I began going to church, I felt a new life and a new purpose growing within me. I enjoyed the worship and the sermons. I went through a rapid stage of growth and development. I got baptized and my family became members of the church. Soon I was making friends and becoming active in church. God was working amazing miracles in my life!

Before I knew it I was in 6 Bible studies, I was on the worship team, I was in a life group, and participating in whatever ways I could. I loved my church and Sunday had become my favorite day of the week. It was a day to look forward to more than any other day. I just wanted nothing more to spend time communing with God and to worship and have fellowship with other Christians. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t even believe that people wouldn’t go to church and go on vacation instead. For me missing church was missing a huge part of my heart.

It’s hard to believe it has been over three years now since I first started going to church. My life has changed a lot in these past three years! I have gone beyond rapid growth and been catapulted into an even greater transformation then I could have ever imagined. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, deliverance, and inner healing, I am finally becoming who God has made me to be. I struggled and searched in desperation for so long to know who I was in Christ. I never thought I would ever possibly see the day that I could even have an understanding or glimpse who I am in Christ! And here I am. I surrender my heart, surrender my soul, I surrender all that I am; and the Potter has been faithful. He is going to finish the good work he started within me. And I am so very excited for that. I am learning and growing still, so very much. But not everything has been easy. This time has been excruciating difficult and painful.

Yet you, Lord, are our Father.
    We are the clay, you are the potter;
    we are all the work of your hand.

Isaiah 64:8

Which leads me to the current season I am in with my church. I stopped attending church regularly about a month-and-a-half ago. Honestly, church has become extremely painful for me. Which is a very drastic change from what I have come from over the past few years. Truthfully, it’s a miracle that I was so passionate about church to begin with. You see I was raised in a church and in that church I was abused. Every person that said they were my family and cared about me, every person that was supposed to protect me and love me, turned love into pain, and crushed the person that God created me to be.

You see the devil has taught me a very important lesson. Love equals pain and people hurt you. That is what I firmly believed my entire life. And it was only by the grace of God as I was able to push through these beliefs for that season to grow relationships and have fellowship at church. It just came to the point that being at church caused me so much pain I couldn’t handle it anymore. I was already in so much pain and all around me I found that people at church  were rejecting and abandoning me. I just could take it anymore. I could not take the people that knew me turning their backs on me and pretending that I wasn’t in great need. The little girl inside of me was so wounded, so alone and so desperate that I would walk away from church crying for many weeks.

Of course I understand that the pain I felt at church was from much deeper wounds that had taken root into the depths of my soul. That does not change the beliefs I have at the core of who I am. Healing takes time when the wounds are that deep. I am finding strength and healing in Jesus Christ, but I don’t honestly know what it’s going to take to get to the point where I don’t feel abandoned and rejected by people at my church.

Look to the right and see: there is none who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me; no one cares for my soul. I cry to you, O Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.”

Psalm 142″4-5

I used to have a deep-seated belief that if I didn’t go to church every week there was something bad or sinful about me. I would look down at people who would skip church casually as if it was no big deal. Church was what you do as a Christian. You go because it’s the right thing to do and your duty as a Christian. And we went week after week after week, no matter the cost. Thankfully I have realized that church is not a duty. If you’ve lost the passion to go and meet the Living God in a time of worship at church, then maybe you need a break. And if you feel like you need a break; it’s okay. God is not going to be angry with you. He’s not going to punish you. You’re not going to be a huge sinner. You’re not terrible and you’re not evil.

I think it’s time that we reshape and reevaluate the reasons why we go to church. What was the purpose that the church was originally started by our founding fathers? It wasn’t out of duty or obligation, but out of love and desire to see everyone grow together and have their needs met. They would get together and pray for each other and uplift each other and worship and praise the Lord together. They would help those in need who were lacking in food or clothes or shelter. They would teach each other about the Lord Jesus Christ and all He has done for us. They would prepare each other to go out into the world and spread that wonderful news. No one was lacking anything and everyone who was able would bring something important to the table. Not because they had to, but because they sincerely had deep love for each other and desired to see the good news spread far and wide. And they knew that wasn’t going to happen without love and a deeper root in Jesus Christ.

As I look around Church in this day and age, I do not see that commitment to love one another or a desire for growth and passion to bring the good news to the lost. I see people congregating together as if in a social club, hiding every flaw underneath a wide grin and doing their best to be the good Christian that they were told they need to be. I see pain masked in those smiles. I see brokenness hidden behind locked doors. I see love traded in for judgement and every man for himself.

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—  that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,  that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Philippians 3:8-11

I know this is not the case for every single Christian and every single Church, yet that fact still remains for a large population of us. We’ve lost the passion and desire to worship our God, because we’re too busy worshiping idols and not wanting to look ridiculous raising our hands, or going on our knees before the only One that deserves our praises. We become very concerned about what our worship service is like. Is it too long? Is it casual enough? Is it formal enough? Is the music the way we like it? Are the people the kind we want to be around? And so on and so forth. We get caught up in all these logistics and politics and call it Church. Maybe we need to start to realize that church is just a building, and it doesn’t have anything to do with following Christ.

The word church as used in the New Testament comes from the Greek word “ekklesia“. According to Strong’s Concordance it means “an assembly” and according to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon it means “called forth”. The church is meant to be a body of people who have been called forth to gather together. That does not have anything to do with the constraints we have put on “church”. There are no rules about what days, times, types of buildings, etc we are to use to gather together. First and foremost we are to gather together in praise and thanksgiving to God, and that needs to be done every single day, not only on Sunday mornings. How many people do church one hour a week and call it good, separating church from the rest of their lives. When did church become and event instead of lifestyle?

I certainly do not need to go to a building to follow Jesus Christ or to worship and to praise Him, to love Him, to hear from Him, to have a relationship with Him, to love others more, to follow the call He has in my life. Does that mean that we should stop going to church? No, that is not what I’m saying. But we need to be very careful to not let church define who we are, and stop putting Christianity into a box of what we think it should look like, how we should behave, and who we should be. Following Jesus Christ has nothing to do with any of those things whatsoever. Following Jesus has to do with surrendering your whole heart and soul to the one Creator God, giving yourself and your worship and adoration. After that the rest is easy. You just follow Him.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-23

I have had so many different ideas of what it looks like to be a Christian, or how I should act, or what I should do. God has deconstructed each one of them and started to show me that instead of forming my own ideas, I need to go to the One who formed the entire universe and His hands. I need to seek Him first and His Kingdom and then everything else will be added to me. It works differently for every person because God created each of us uniquely. God has a special call on each one of our lives and each call is to do something amazing in His Kingdom. But we need to stop being bogged down but by our own misconceptions about what following Christ looks like. We need to be willing to surrender those ideas; those prefabricated molds, that have been placed upon us, and start living for Him instead. We have no idea what God has in store for each one of us. Our minds can’t even fathom what God would have us do. Much like Gideon, we are all hiding away, just trying to keep ourselves busy doing the work we think we should be doing, but instead God has been calling you out saying “mighty warrior just take one step to trust me and see what I will do with you”. It’s okay to question. What’s not okay is turn your back and say “Not me Lord”.

I have no idea what the future holds for me and my church life. But I do know one thing: God is healing me. God is transforming me making me new and raising me up to be who He wants me to be. As long as I’m faithful to keep following Him and surrendering, He will be faithful to complete the good work. I have visited some other churches in the area and attended some events at my own church. Whatever happens I will continue to be open to following the spirit wherever He leads. Even when it’s difficult, even when I don’t want to; because I trust Him. If God loves me enough that He would come down to earth and live a human life, and know rejection and abandonment and pain and torture, just like I have; and I know He loves me enough to take good care of me.

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

1 Corinthians 12:27

January 25 2016

What Worship Means

handsMusic has always been a huge part of my life. As far back as I can remember I loved to listen to the radio and sing, or make up my own songs. I always participated in school Christmas programs where I would either sing or play bells or something cute when I was very young. As I got older I was in the orchestra at school for six years. Then I took a year of piano and two years of choir. After I graduated high school I bought myself a drum set and taught myself to play. I tried my hand at the acoustic guitar and bass also, not taking to them quite as well. I have always had at least one musical instrument in my house, even if I didn’t have time to play it much.

If I was too busy to play an instrument I would sing. All the time. In the car, in the shower, around the house. I love to sing. I even had a stint in a garage band for a bit after high school where I played drums and sang. Music has been a direct line to my heart and soul. Something strange happened about 9 years ago that put a huge interference with my singing. While I was pregnant with my third son, my voice just started to go out. I could not sing high notes or even scream for that matter. My voice would just disappear if I tried to go higher.

Not only were any high notes gone, but my voice became gravely and raspy. I should say my voice has always been a bit raspy, but now I was being asked if I was a smoker (which I wasn’t) or if I was a man over the phone. It was horrible. And embarrassing. I didn’t fancy myself some sort of great singer, but now I just sounded bad.

Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

Psalm 103:1

When I became Christian I started listening to the Christian radio station. I was so moved by the music I heard and I didn’t think I could like Christian music. There is so much modern Christian music that it made it easy for me to transition from secular music. In church I heard modern worship music, which I began to love. The worship music would just touch my spirit in ways I had never experienced. One day while I was driving and singing to a worship song on the radio I prayed and asked God to heal my voice. I wanted more than anything to be able to sing the way I used to and to sing in the worship band at church. I didn’t have any confidence in myself unless God was to heal my voice.

A few weeks later worship band auditions were announced in the church bulletin. I knew it was a sign from God, but I was scared to death to even try. I knew I was not “good enough” to sing in the worship band, no matter how passionate I was about worship. Somehow I gathered just enough courage to try out, and was not given good news. I was told I had a good tone, but that my voice needed some work. I was not going to be able to sing in the worship band, but the worship leader was willing to work with me. Unfortunately that didn’t go as well as I hoped because it ended with being told I wasn’t improving enough to sing with a microphone.

I was absolutely devastated. I wanted desperately to sing in the worship band. I saw my dreams come crashing down before me. I don’t know if it was my perception, but all I heard was “you aren’t good enough and never will be”. It haunted me. Yet somehow he must have changed his mind because he asked me to sing in a vocal team (not with my own mic) a few months later, in the classic service. I had to learn hymns for this service, which I found were pretty difficult. I really did not like hymns at first, but soon grew to love them.

It probably took me a year to really get comfortable with worship. The church I belong to is a Presbyterian, and if you have ever heard the term “frozen chosen”, then you know exactly what a worship service is like at a Presbyterian church. No one raises there hands or shows emotion or anything like that. Very stiff. Well so was I at first. That is until my first women’s retreat. On Saturday night of the retreat, there was an extended worship session for whoever wanted to join. It was the longest I had ever been in a worship session. Before at church if I did not know the song, I would not sing, and I would be annoyed. I wanted to be comfortable to be able to participate. I certainly did not raise my hands. Well this extended worship session changed my life. I walked away with a new attitude towards worshiping God.

Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

Psalm 73:25-26

I was really on a high from all the worship. I let go and closed my eyes and listened to the song if I didn’t know it, letting the words penetrate my soul. I told myself that from now on, no matter what, I was going to be an active participant in worship, not just a passive onlooker. So every Sunday I would lift my hands into a posture of submission, where my arms were about waist high and hands turned up. I was opening my arms to my Father, and opening my heart in the process.

Before I knew it, worship began to take on a whole new life for me. It was a deep connection with Father God. He moved me in new and amazing ways. It helped to grow my relationship with Him as I opened up to Him. My love only grew deeper and I would find myself raising both arms high as I could with tears streaming down my face. What a miracle to take this girl who hated God, and turn her into a passionate love of Jesus Christ! What a Redeemer He is!

During this time I was able to sing with the vocal team in the classic service about once a month. It was a wonderful opportunity for me, and I loved it. I brought my new found passion for worship with me, raising at least one hand high to praise my wonderful Jesus, Lord God of All. I was the only one ever raising any hands at any worship services at my church. I did not care. I closed my eyes, sang my heart out, and let God fill me with absolute joy! He is so very good.

You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.

Psalm 63:1

worshipSlowly I began to see one or two others on the worship team raise a hand about midway. And then a couple of parishioners raising some hands part way. It was a beautiful thing. The glory of God is infectious! And to worship Him and feel His presence on you is spectacular! Over time I have seen more and more people in my church raising hands to praise and worship God.  I have had many more opportunities to sing in the classic service than I ever dreamed, and sometimes even with the microphone I thought I could never hold. God is so loving and wonderful. I have even seen some improvement on my voice, even though God has not healed it completely yet.

Our God is so very worthy and so very wonderful. He has done amazing things in your life, even if He hasn’t taken you out of darkness as He has me. You do not have to have some “big testimony” to see how mighty God is, or what miracles He has done in your life. The fact that you are in a relationship with Jesus Christ right now is a miracle in itself, because the devil wants to steal you away from God and has been trying to do so from day 1 of your life. But God sought you out in His great love for you. He has wooed you and drawn you nearer to Him, day by day. He has given you blessings and strength and love, even when you felt you were completely unworthy.

That is why we worship God. He deserves all honor and glory and praise, forever! Hallelujah! So I urge you, come to the altar of praise and worship your King for all that He is. Give Him all that you are, all your heart, mind and soul as you worship Him. Come before Him unhindered and unbound by what man thinks of you. See what blessings God will pour out on your life when you take that leap of faith to stop being a passive onlooker in worship, and start being a worshiper. God loves you so much! He is not upset with you, if you have not been truly engaging in worship. He loves you right where you are at, no judgement, no anger. Do not be afraid of your Father. He adores you. Come to Him dear children! Come to your Father and forget everything else around you, for that one small moment in time, and be with Him completely.

Sing to the Lord, all the earth;
    proclaim his salvation day after day.
 Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

 For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
    he is to be feared above all gods.
 For all the gods of the nations are idols,
    but the Lord made the heavens.
 Splendor and majesty are before him;
    strength and joy are in his dwelling place.

 Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations,
    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
    bring an offering and come before him.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of his[e] holiness.
     Tremble before him, all the earth!
    The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.

 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
    let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!”

1 Chronicles 16:23-31

 

Let us Worship our Lord right now – join Him!

 

January 19 2015

Church – The Body of Christ

For most of my adult life I have longed for a community to live in. A community where people support and help each other. A place where I could watch my kids thrive. I never thought I would find that place in a Christian church. Yet God has placed us in a church that has truly become like a second home to us. It took some time for me to learn to appreciate the church and what it really means. For a while I thought church was all about what it can do for me. I didn’t understand that God has a grand design for the church.church

We have been going to this church for almost two years now. It was Super Bowl Sunday 2013 that we first stepped foot in our church. It felt strange and right all at the same time. Over the months that we first attended church it took some getting used to for me, to learn how to open up and interact with other people. I was not accustomed to being social so often. I had learned to withdraw and be very shy, so that I could protect myself. Yet I was learning and growing every Sunday at the capable hands of the head Pastor.

My hunger and thirst for the Word grew, and my passion for God was burning white-hot. Soon I began to see drama unfold around me with some of the people I was interacting with on a regular basis. It was very upsetting for me, and naturally I wanted to just run from it. I was certain that it was not what God would have for me. I was certain that I was better than all the pettiness I was seeing around me. My husband was feeling the same way. We agreed that maybe we should start looking around for a new church.

There were other reasons we were unhappy. As we started to grow we became less and less satisfied with the teachings on Sunday. We weren’t getting “fed” the spiritual meat we felt we needed. We also felt there was a division in our church among the congregation. There were two services held at the same time – one for the modern crowd and one for the classic crowd. We just didn’t like the direction the church seemed to be going in.

It was then that I found an article on changing your church. I think I Googled how to pick a church when this article popped up. I’m not even certain, all I know is that once I read the article it was clear God had led me right to it. It went point by point why you should not leave your church, but stay with it. It stated that church is for community, and that is the main reason for its existence. For the body to work together to edify each other, building each other up. It also stated that church is full of people, and people are full of drama. You will find it in every church, everywhere, because people are not perfect.

It was a slap in the face really. I knew God was speaking directly to me, so I became resolved to change my attitude about church. My husband and I became very active at church. We had a Life Group, Bible Study, attended all the church functions, and joined many other activities and groups.  Our sons all had tons to do as well. It was going great. For awhile that is.

That is until my church announced it was going to take the next year to go through The Story. I had actually seen a copy of The Story at the local Christian book store and picked it up. I was repulsed by it, because it was just some abridged version of the Bible. What a joke. I really thought I was better than all that. I thought I was learning and growing and knew so much. I guess I needed another piece of humble pie, huh?

Well I got very upset. I began to rant and rave to all my friends, some who were higher up in the church. I was outraged and disgusted, How could our church do this to us? How could they take this infant’s milk and try to bottle feed it to us? Like we were nothing more than little babies incapable of digesting something more substantial. Wow, I took it really seriously. My husband was just as upset. We wanted our church to stand on the truth of the whole Bible, not just half of it.

That is when we became very serious about changing churches. We actively began to seek another church, as we complained to other people outside of our church. Soon we found ourselves getting all dressed up to go to a new church one Sunday. We were excited about the potential of the new church. We just knew it would be so much better – more Godly and Christian than our church. They offered things that our church could not and would not offer. It had all the appeal that new things always have.

But reality is always much different from expectations. This new church was exactly that – a new church. Completely unfamiliar. None of our friends or groups or Bible Studies were at this church. And of course we found things about it we disliked or disagreed with. By the end of the day we felt pretty bummed out and almost like we missed church that day. We went running back to our church home the next Sunday, with a much better outlook on things.

That is when I realized – God is so much bigger than all of that. He had appointed us to this church home, and he is sovereign. If I love Him, then I need to trust Him and know that He put us here for a reason. His ways are higher than our ways, and I can’t always see the purpose in His grand plan for my family. But it is there. God knew that the church was going to do The Story. Did we really think that God couldn’t use The Story to reach people? Is God really so small that He can’t take something like that and still teach and speak to His people? God is changing lives and working miracles every day. Just because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

All scripture, not just some of it. That means if someone takes a part of scripture and makes it into a book, it doesn’t make it less useful or God inspired. Church is not about what the Pastor preaches every week. It’s not about the quality of the Bible study or the righteousness of the people who go there. It’s not about if there is a dress code or if the church is seeker friendly. It’s not about what type of worship music is played or how people dress.

Church is about community. It is about Jesus, the head of our church, bringing together His body, to be unified. 

God made church originally for community. To bring us closer together, bearing up together in love, teaching each other, loving each other, supporting each other, mourning and rejoicing together. We were not made to be alone. That is why God made Eve. He saw that Adam was alone, and that is was not good. We were created to be with other people, because we need each other. The problem is not the church, it is sin. We live in a broken world, damaged by sin. Church is not a safe haven away from sin, but a place where we can be open about our sin. We can expose our raw places where we need help, and let others pray for us and encourage us towards our Healer and Redeemer.

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household,  built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.  In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22

We need to stop looking at church with expectations of what it can give to us, and start looking to ourselves and asking, what can we give to our church? How can we contribute, as a member of the body? God has given us each gifts, and those gifts were not given to keep to ourselves, but to share with the fellow members of our body. Look around you. What needs do you see? There are people hurting, people in need of help in so many ways. We can reach out to them with something as simple as a smile even. Jesus called us out to make disciples of all nations. That doesn’t mean you have to travel the world to begin. You can start in your own church community where there are lost people there right now. Just because they go to your church does not mean they have a personal relationship with Jesus.

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. Romans 12:4-8

faithThe church needs you. You have been called for a higher purpose in this life. God did not call you out of a life of darkness randomly. It was for a reason. He personally chose you to be a child of His, to know Him and to spread that infectious and radically love boldly. Do not let the enemy bring you down with his lies, telling you that the petty little dramas around you are worth your time and energy. That is just a distraction from your true purpose.

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.” Isaiah 60:1

 

 

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November 5 2014

Spiritual Hunger

During the last few months in our rental home, before we couldn’t pay the rent anymore and had to move, I remember feeling the stirrings of my spirit within me. I hadn’t had time to “do” anything spiritual or to nurture my spiritual self. And I was beginning to really feel it. I missed that connection I felt with the earth and the universe. That bigger picture of being a part of the universe and everything in it, and it all being connected by the power of love. I just had this emptiness in me – not the normal depression emptiness, but an emptiness in my spirit. I was hungry for more, but I didn’t know how to get filled.

I began looking around for witches covens that might have children in it. I wanted to be a part of a community of like minded people. I wanted to get back into my pagan roots and teach my children about it. Witches are a little bit out there though, and there were some things I didn’t want to expose my kids to. Like, naked adults out in the moonlight. But, that’s just me.spiritual path

One of our neighbors had a son not the same age as my second son. They were great friends and the family was Christian. I tried not to hold it against them, which was easy because they didn’t talk about it much. The husband had a brother that came over often and he was much more outspoken about his faith. He talked about his God in a way that sparked something inside me. He would talk about having problems with people and praying for them and praying for blessings for them, and then the problems with them would just disappear. I was fascinated at the thought of being able to resolve problems with people, and in such a positive way. It seemed I was always having problems with people in my life, and they would often get out of my control.

I started to ponder going to a Christian church. The brother gave me a Bible and I thought about reading it. I had never really even cracked the spine of a Bible before, except a Mormon Bible my grandma gave me as a youth. All I knew is the Bible represented a lot of things I considered to be completely false. I can’t even remember now if I read that Bible or not, but we did try out a service at the brothers church one Sunday. At first I liked it, but then things just went wrong for me. I ended up leaving very angry because I was stuck in this little room with all the other mothers with small children and couldn’t hear the sermon. I felt resentful about it and started a fight with my husband. The whole place just made me uncomfortable. Needless to say we never went back. I was done with all that nonsense.

Except I couldn’t shake the feeling that I wanted to go to church. Just not a Christian church. I wanted a spiritual life again, and I wanted it desperately! Then I heard about the Unitarian Universalist church. There was one a half hour away from our house and I asked my husband about trying it out. He was pretty reluctant, but still open to trying it. It had grow up going to church, but never really found God. I think he wanted to know more about God and what life was really about though, and that was why he was open to trying this out.

The UU Church was very different than the Mormon church I had been to as a child. It was very free and people were dressed casually, and their were flags from all the different religions all over the main meeting room. It was just a feeling of being open to everyone and every religion, not judging or saying there is only one way. I really liked that. The pastor had long hair and gave the aura of an ex hippie. I felt like I could fit in. But it was just so far and it was hard for me to separate from my baby to leave him in child care. We tried going on and off for a few months, but the distance was far and it just ended up not being worth all the work.

I didn’t forget about it though. When we moved out of our rental we had to move in with my parents for awhile. Our lives were upside down once again, but this time moving back in with my parents didn’t depress me. I had a husband I loved and a family that was solid. I was actually somewhat happy. As happy as I could have been anyway. We found another rental very close to my parents, and that neighborhood was very close to the UU Church we had attended before. So I asked my husband about going back and he said sure. He had liked it too.

So we tried going regularly and it was nice for a short time. The older kids got to go to class while we sat through the sermon. We felt like we were getting some food for our spirits and it was uplifting; refreshing. Then summer came and they stopped doing sermons and just had speakers on different non spiritual topics every week. I felt that black hole inside me just aching once again, and realized it wasn’t ever really being filled at this place. My husband agreed, and it was easy to stop going because the kids didn’t even like it.

I still wanted a community and a spiritual place to connect with others. I kept searching and finally found the Unity church. Their motto is “many paths, one god”. It sounded nice and it was not too far from our home. My husband agreed to try this one out as well. I think inside he was searching for more too, but he is not a super vocal type of man. This church was held in a community college auditorium. It was even more different than my experiences with church than the UU church. They had a band and they played a mix of spiritual sounding songs and just regular songs you might hear on the radio. People were flowing with love and smiling and wanted to shake your hand. It really weirded me out, because I was not used to people wanting to be so friendly towards me. On the contrary, my experiences with people were always quite negative.

This church taught about all religions as well. They would even talk about Jesus in the Sunday school classes. I wasn’t totally against it, but I was interested to know who this Jesus fellow was. In my house the name of Jesus was a swear word, and I used it a lot. We went every week and enjoyed it, again for a short time. I just started feeling very negatively about it and even dreaded Sundays and having to try to get up early and race over there. So again we decided to stop going.

Could I ever find what I was looking for? Could I fill this deep need inside me to connect with a community and feed my soul? Why was it so hard! I was grieving inside for the loss of a life so spirit filled and yearning so desperately for something more. I knew there was more out there – I had already experienced it. Why was it that it just had to go away now that I had kids? It just didn’t make any sense.

The road I was traveling was like an overgrown path where the way is starting to become hard to see. It was covered with weeds and rocks, but you just know at one time it was smooth and beautiful to walk along. Now it was difficult to tread and you weren’t quite sure where it was going to wind up. I was lost and confused and really didn’t even know where I was going anymore.

Have you ever had that feeling before? That longing inside of you, like your spirit is just so hungry to be fed? But you don’t even know why you feel that way, or how to fill it? You are not alone, friend. Thousands of people all over the world are just like you, seeking and longing, but so lost and confused. It is a dark place to be in; feeling so empty in a dry and parched land. We were meant to be fed with the bread of life and nourished with the living water. To never hunger again, but to receive an endless supply of food for our spirit that would fatten us up. Food that would help us to grow healthy and strong and defeat depression, anxiety, fear, shame.

We were made for this deep connection to be filled. We are not made to live on just bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of Jesus. And He gives this gift free of charge. If you are thirsty, come. If you are hungry, come. He is inviting you to come nearer, to dine with him and be satisfied. All you have to do is ask.

 

 

 

 

 

Category: Living In Darkness | Comments Off on Spiritual Hunger
November 8 2014

A Christian Church?

Finally we were in our new home! It was a good feeling to own a home, and to have a sense of home. A place that we could grow roots into and just stay for a long, long time. We moved into an area that we did not know well, and because we homeschooled I decided to look around for a local home school group. I started searching around the internet for groups and I found something interesting at a nearby church. They had home school classes for science and history once a week, and a parent meeting once a month. That sounded so nice to me, but it was at a church. A Christian church. churchI thought about it a lot. I even started looking around at other churches in the area. I really liked the idea of church and community and what it could do for our family.

But, it was still church. I would look at the websites for the churches and look under the “what we believe” tab. It would always go on about Jesus and the Holy Spirit and blah blah blah. I just could not get on board with all that junk, no matter how much I was seeking spiritual fulfillment. I mean, how was I expected to believe that stuff? It was so obviously and ridiculously fake!

So I started looking or another Unity church nearby. That church was better than a Christian church at least. And I found one, only about ten minutes from our new house. I thought it would be great to check it out, and my husband agreed it was a good idea. So one Sunday morning, Super Bowl Sunday as a matter of fact, just a few weeks after moving in, we went off to the Unity church near us. It was at this tiny little community center. I mean the parking lot had about 5 spaces. Much smaller than the building the previous Unity church had been held in.

When we walk in we see how small the room the service was being held in was. And that we were the only family there, and we had the only kids there. Everyone else were older and looked to be mostly single. We sat at a large table in the back and someone was very kind and gave the kids crayons and paper. The service began and I was feeling more uncomfortable by the minute. It just felt so wrong. The room was so small I could not even talk to my husband because everyone would hear. But I was thinking of that church that had the home school classes. I was thinking about how they had a service starting in 20 minutes and how it sounded really great right in that moment.

I grabbed a piece of paper and a pen and started writing a note to my husband. “Let’s get out of here. That other church I told you about has a service about to start!” And he wrote back “No, that would be rude.”. “It will be OK, let’s just try it.” “It would be rude to just walk out of here right now.” “You know we are never coming back here.” “OK. Lets go!”

And out we went! We rushed out to the car and another ten minute drive to the other church. I was so nervous and a little excited. I had never really been to a real church before. I mean I had been to the Mormon church as a kid and then the one Christian church one time, but that was it. When we pulled up to the church the first thing I noticed was how big it was! It looked like it was going to be nice. Then I was nervous about how I was dressed. I didn’t even have any clothes that I thought were church appropriate. And what about all my tattoos? What would these Christians think of me??

 

 

Category: Into The Light, Living In Darkness | Comments Off on A Christian Church?