These past couple of weeks have been crazy busy at work as I try to get a handle on all this new 2nd grade stuff. Fourth to 2nd...leaps and bounds, y'all. But, that is not exactly the purpose of this post. More as an excuse for being MIA...
I can honestly say that God has blessed me in innumerable ways. I have an unbelievable family and parents who have dedicated themselves to ensuring that my siblings and I grew up understanding the gospel and Christ's sacrifice for us. I have only ever been a member of one church. The church I began attending at one month old. The church where my parents were married. The church where my maternal grandparents were married. A church with an incredible 112-year history. Most of my childhood memories and friendships are permeated with this place. However, like so many churches, we went through a "rough patch." You could blame it on leadership, membership, division, etc. At this point, pointing fingers does no good. What it comes down to is the fact that, about four years ago, the College and Career group consisted of my brother and me. And that was it. Basically. I knew that God was calling me to other places. There was no longer any fellowship with other believers in my age group and no where for me to serve. So, I "left." Only, I didn't really leave. I became involved at a growing church in town where my cousins attended. Right away, I knew it wasn't where I was supposed to be. But, I also had no clue where else to turn. So, in an attempt to find my niche and fit in again, I got involved. Super duper involved...all without ever joining this church. After about two years, God made it CLEAR AS DAY (don't you just LOVE when God gets your attention in a big way) through a series of somewhat painful and highly revealing situations. He had been gently leading me all along, but I just wouldn't listen.
Soon, I found myself, along with my brother, sister, and best friend, at a different church in town where several of my friends had grown up. We loved it! In fact, I've been attending this church for the past year-and-a-half, but, yet again, I never felt that tug on my heart to move my membership and settle down. I tried to get involved, but something just wasn't right. God was still urging me to LISTEN to Him.
Finally, a few weeks ago, a wonderful couple that I know invited me to try out their church. A church that is right down the road from the house I grew up in. It is in no way a "mega church," like church No. 1. Nor is it like church No. 2. In fact, it most resembles my childhood church, the church that will always feel like home. I decided three Sundays ago to go ahead and try it out. What could I lose? Well, y'all, it was amazing. No, there were no fancy lights, strobe machines, award-winning orchestras, etc. But, I felt the presence of God like I haven't felt in many years, and I saw a good group of people who genuinely love the Lord and desire to serve Him. And, I, most importantly, also feel a peace in my heart toward this church and my involvement here. No, I'm not yet ready to move my membership, but it is something that I will begin praying about. For the first time in a long time, I've been excited about a Sunday morning service. So much so that I tried out the Sunday school this past week, and, what do you know?? I have relatives (yes, RELATIVES) that teach the College and Career class! I didn't even know they went to this church! Okay, we're distant relatives, but relatives, nonetheless.
There have been many times during these past couple of years when I have given up and thought that God had abandoned me. In my heart, I knew that couldn't be true. But, it was just so hard to feel any differently when He seemed so distant. I have, once again, been gently reminded of God's faithfulness to His children. Our God is powerful and omniscient. Nothing escapes His understanding or notice. How comforting to know we serve a loving Savior!