As is usually the case when I sit down to blog, my head is flooded with so many different thoughts that I can hardly organize them into anything coherent. I know I have something to say, but I’m not always sure what it is until I get to writing.
Lately I’ve been overwhelmed at given moments with what God has done in my life. Particularly, what He’s done in my life in the last two years. What seemed to us like complete and total abandonment, was nothing short of God’s providence in sending us exactly where He knew we needed to be. Let me be clear about something – I DID NOT WANT TO MOVE TO FLORIDA. Not. At. All. I wanted to go to Europe. For a brief moment in time, I thought I was going to get my wish. But as quickly as the wish was granted, it was taken away. What ensued was several months of being yanked around. We were told Poland, England, Belgium, Florida, North Carolina, back to Florida. By the time we reached our destination here on the Emerald Coast, I was exhausted, and a little bitter, if I’m being honest. For months I couldn’t stand to hear news from my overseas friends (there are days when I still can’t bear it). I was filled with jealousy. I felt forgotten, and I could not understand why God would allow such a great opportunity to slip through our fingers, and deliver us to Florida. I wanted a cultural experience, not a tan.
But, like always, we came and set up house. We jumped into work, school, and church with two feet. We began to plug in and make friends. Life would be ok, but I still wasn’t happy about it. I still want to know WHY?
Fast forward to today. What I see now are countless people who have taken us in, and who love us like family. They pray with us and for us. They let me cry on their shoulders when I have spontaneous breakdowns. They make me laugh. They allow me to be myself. They put up with me when I’m crazy. They build me up. They strengthen me. They make me a better person. They teach me how to love more openly. They teach me about sacrifice and service to others. They depend on me. They are my family. They are why. They are the reason I’m here. God knew I needed them. And maybe they needed me, too.
These people are my church. They are my family. I love them. Without them I would be completely lost. See, we need people. We were created as beings who would crave relationship. It’s important who we surround ourselves with. It’s important who we consider family. This is why God established His church. It’s for us to be together, to build each other up. It’s for us to come together and worship Him. It’s for us to celebrate together. To cry together. To be together.
Like all families, we are not perfect. We disagree. We may bicker. We might even fight. It would be foolish to think that a church made up of imperfect people could form a perfect union. Of course my church is not perfect. No church is. Perfection is not the goal. To love each other through all of our differences and shortcomings – that’s the goal. I cannot imagine going through life without my church. Life can be really hard at times, and I don’t even want to know what it’s like to go through the trenches without the support of my church family.
I’m sure we all have networks of people on whom we can depend – work, school, military groups, support groups…the list goes on. Those are all great, undoubtedly. But the bond that a church family has surpasses all of these. We have the love of Christ that binds us together.
It’s sad to me that so many in this world don’t have a church home. Maybe you don’t. Maybe you’ve never gone to church. Maybe you have, but had a bad experience. Maybe you are just indifferent. I don’t know the reason, but I do know that you are missing out on something great. You are missing one of the greatest blessings this life has to offer. You are missing the love of God’s people.
God didn’t create us to go through this life alone. He created us to come together and carry each other’s burdens.
Don’t go it alone. Surround yourself with the love of Christ. Surround yourself with His church.