My Devotion from 100 Day to Brave was about church this morning. Not just any church, but my church “your church”.
I have been going to the same church nearly my whole life. When I was really little my parents followed a minister that they really liked to his new church for a few years. Then when I was a junior in high school we moved across the state and my family found a new church home. Even through my junior and senior year though, I continued to go to church, church camp and mission trips with my church here.
As soon as I graduated from college, I found myself back at this church. Pretty regularly, I transferred my membership back officially from my church on the west side. I became a youth group leader and was in charge of one of the yearly mission projects.
My two very best friends ever are from my church. I have held 2 jobs at my church, they were my foundation through my divorce and it has been my second home for my entire life. I feel comfort there, whether surrounded by people or all by myself at 7am or at Midnight, I feel at peace when I am at Newburg United Methodist Church.
Many great mentors have come into my life from church. Some of them ministers, youth group leaders, lay people and some of them the kids that I was raised there with. Quite a few have gone to become clergy themselves or do other great work for the conference. Many of them are still activity involved in missions, in fundraising or volunteering. There are also quite a few of us who are still actively attending, bringing our children there to carry on the tradition of friendship and fellowship.
At the end of my devotion is says Be Brave: This Sunday, go to church. Well, I will be going to church this Sunday. In fact, I will be there tonight as well. My kids and I go on Wednesday evening for dinner, bible study and discussion, plus the kids have choir practice. On Sunday my youngest two will sign in the choir in front of the congregation, I will listen to my minster preach and sing hymns just as I have been for 37 years.
The devotion also says “If you’ve been hurt, go back anyway” “What happens when you stay in a church even when you are hurt or it seems hard. “That’s when you grow up.” When I was 23 I made a bad choice and stepped away from my church home. I was humiliated, embarrassed and couldn’t imagine ever showing my face there again. About a year and a half later I woke up one January morning and I went back to that church.
I accepted my sins, apologized to God and thanked him for inviting me back and welcoming me with open arms. He showed me that he forgave me, when all of the congregation was so happy to see me, giving me hugs and kisses and asking how my life had been, no one ever mentioning what had happened.
My church is my church. It is the right spot for me. It has seen the good and the bad. I was baptized there and so were 3 of my children. Paul and I got married in that church. They were there to help me rise after I had fallen. That building and the people in it are my home away from home.
Thanks Be to God!