Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wednesday in the Word.

Lamentations 3:19-26

 I remember my affliction and my wandering,
   the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them,
   and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind
   and therefore I have hope:
  Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
   for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
   great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
   therefore I will wait for him.”
  The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
   to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
   for the salvation of the LORD.

After a long time of wandering...and waiting...I can feel myself slowly making my way back. I wasn't necessarily going in the wrong direction...but in a spiritual sense I was stuck. And when I did try to move it was as if I was spinning in circles.

Eventually...I just stopped.

And then I got complacent. Which is really weird because I never thought I would ever feel that way. Being so involved in women's ministry like I was I saw women try to return to church after not being for a while. Many times they had stopped going to their previous church because of being hurt or let down by someone who, many times, were in a position of leadership. And I never understood it. Because I knew that church didn't equate God...therefore the hurt was from a person...not God. So I couldn't understand how being hurt by someone at a church would prevent someone from going to church. I just did not get it.

But then...God allowed me the opportunity to feel that same kind of hurt. And let me tell really does knock the wind right out of you. It stops you in your tracks. And gives you a very bitter taste in your mouth where church and its people are concerned. Not where God is concerned. I knew God well enough to keep Him out of it. But where church was concerned? And the people in it? Yeah...bitter.

So I stopped going to church for a while (as I've mentioned). And I was fine with it.

But you know...I really wasn't. I wasn't fine with it at all. And neither was God.

Church is a really good thing. I learned a lot at my long-time church. I had some really good times and met some incredible and God-loving people, several of who I still talk to and pray with today. I grew spiritually and healed and experienced miracles at my old church. There was so much good that I experienced that I've had to remind myself of all of that. I've had to realize that it wasn't all bad. Not at all. It was good for a long time.

To be honest with you, I don't know when it started to deteriorate. I think it was a slow subtle that I didn't even know it was happening. And then when I realized what was happening I denied it...thinking to myself, "It must just be me because this kind of stuff doesn't happen in church."

Well. Yes, it does. But that's OK...because wounds heal. And lessons are learned. And God uses those lessons to help us become more compassionate.

Yes, church is a good thing. As long as it's a healthy and thriving church. I didn't say a busy church. Just because a church is doing does not mean they are being. Do you get what I'm saying?

But if you can find a church where the people are kind and loving and authentic and imperfect (yes, I said imperfect) and love the Lord with all their hearts (or are at least striving to)...go there. Worship there. Serve there. Make friends there. Go to bible studies. Smile at newcomers. Sing your heart out during worship...raise your hands to God. 

Yes. Church is a good thing. And I'm grateful to be making my way back.


Jenn June said...

Fellowship is a wonderful thing. I attended church regularly back home and haven't found a church home here yet but I'd like to. I really related to what you said about God "allowing you to feel that same kind of hurt." In a post I wrote yesterday, I talked about my belief that God sometimes allows us to be in unpleasant situations in order to help us develop a deeper empathy toward, and understanding of, others. The pain I've experienced has truly helped me in my spiritual walk with God and to have a more compassionate toward other human beings.

Glad to hear you are making your way back.

Peggy Hostetler said...

Oh I so get this very relevant. I will be sharing your post link at the end of the week's wrap-up on my own blog! Thank you!

Denise said...

i'm back at church too - to the same one that I complained about for way too long. this time though with a changed attitude!! church is good for sure.

Kym said...

Church is necessary for me because it gives me the chance to renew my covenants that I made with the the Lord from the week prior. A chance to renew myself. Be with people that worship and love the Lord like I do.
Sometimes I like to remind myself that the Lords people may be imperfect but His gospel is always perfect.
Really pray about which church you should attend. You can always attend mine but I am never one to force another. You have to do what is best for you.

Lara J said...

love you girl!

Lisa Gallup said...

Love, love this post, Michelle! I am soooo thankful for the church I am at now. It is different, and more "real" than any church I've been in. :) I'm glad you got to experience the hurt at your other church, simply because it will help you to minister better to others. It's hard going through it, but you have come out wiser on the other side. xoxo

Anonymous said...

Church is not about the feeling - but it is about the people.

Like you shared, it is the people that make the church of God.

I have left and returned. I am at a good place where it is filling me with so much peace because the Word of God is being spoken from the pulpit. People, well they are just the icing on the cake :-)

I have enjoyed your posts. Thank you so much for sharing.


Patty said...

How much we do learn, even from times like this. I can relate. Thankful that God heals.

Paula said...

I enjoyed your post...