When the church family really is family

This morning was exactly what I needed. I don’t know about you, but I have always felt a little out of place in my life. There are only a handful of people, I think, who have known and seen the real me. Not that I intentionally hide who I am. I just tend to be just awkward enough that few people break past the surface to see who I am.

I also tend to keep my struggles close to my chest. I have had enough encounters where I’ve shared a burden and have it exposed or exploited to know sometimes the safest place to wrestle with something is just between me and the Lord. While I have seen wisdom in this, I have also probably shouldered more burden than I was supposed to. How can people weep with me if I never share my sorrows? We are, as Christ followers, supposed to share in one another’s sufferings.

This morning, my husband had to work, so a family from church picked up me and the 5 kids and taxied us to church. As I worshipped, the Lord spoke to my heart and reassured me of the beauty of worshipping through my struggles. As I pondered this, it made me wonder, does anyone know that we are walking through trials right now? Have I held my struggle so close that no one can see that this worship comes from a place of great pain and uncertainty. Can anyone else see that in spite of my circumstances, I know that God is still good, and I can proclaim it even if my world is crumbling.

Last week, our pastor said, “God is the maker of covenants and the keeper of promises.” And that is the very reason I can rejoice, because, honestly, I don’t see an answer in the flesh.

Then this morning, another of our pastors addressed what it looks like to love the lonely, and the epidemic of relational poverty that many in our culture live in. Cue the tears from the socially awkward lady right here!

See, I’ve found a church where, for the first time, people are pushing past my awkwardness and loving me for who I am. I feel completely comfortable being my too loud, foot-in-mouth self, who carries a lot of chaos in her wake. And I don’t feel tolerated…I feel useful and appreciated. (And no one has ever asked me to work in the nursery, HALLELUJAH!!!!)

I think that is exactly what the church is supposed to be. A family that sees our true hearts. That loves all our quirks. That sees greatness in us because they see through the mess with the eyes of Christ. It feels good to be in a place like that. And it has allowed me to start sharing my burdens more. I’ve allowed myself to be vulnerable again, and although there is the risk that I may get hurt, the reward of someone else seeing that the struggles of this life don’t have to keep us from worshipping like Heaven is here…well I think it’s worth the risk.

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