Tonight I feel the urge to blog, although there is both too much to say and too much I’d rather not say. For the sake of being authentic, not for sympathy or judgment or whatever, I will try to get some of this past year on <paper?>. It’s been a tough year, friends.
As I have written before, my church merged with another this past Spring. While there were many wonderful people there, it was not a good fit for everyone. I seriously tried to make it work. After all, I trusted my pastors’ hearts and my whole church family was making the move together. I didn’t expect it to be easy, but after a few months of just not wanting to even be there on Sundays,(along with not wanting to invite anyone, not enjoying the messages or the music) I had to evaluate if there was validity to my feelings. Was I just being childish or was this not where I should be? Others- people I loved and whose walks with the Lord I admired- were feeling the same way. I absolutely feel that it was the Holy Spirit calling us out individually, and the way that people who were struggling were treated and spoken to affirmed in my heart that this was not a place I wanted to be. I absolutely believe that the people there love the Lord and will be used by Him. I know and love many of those people and always will.
That being said, there has been a lot of hurt and lost friendships, because those of us who left were basically told that we were divorcing our family and breaking our covenant membership. After study and prayer, I can say that I respectfully disagree. We are committed to THE body of Christ which translates to-believers! Not just those that worship in the same building that we do! Yes, we are called to be in community. That’s what all the “one anothers” are for in Scripture. However, “church membership” is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible. I think it looks different for different people. Some people have a few close friends and their family as their community. They might have their own ministry with those people. What it comes down to is “Do you love, obey, and seek Christ’s will for your life in everything you do? Do you surround yourself with like-minded people, and are you showing and sharing Christ to the dying world around you?” I think we definitely need each other, but when it comes down to it I think God has His people in all kinds of different situations. It doesn’t have to be typical American church. If I am not at peace in a certain body, maybe the same God who led me there earlier is leading me somewhere else. Maybe I should listen to the Holy Spirit instead of someone else’s theology. I would have loved to have been part of a great transition and merge, and I was trying to keep a positive outlook, but the nagging “I don’t want to be here” would just not go away. I absolutely dreaded going. That didn’t mean I wanted to stop fellowshiping with my brothers and sisters,or that I was done with Jesus! I just needed to be somewhere I had peace being. The pastors there treated us like we were completely wrong and in unrepentant sin when we announced our decisions to leave (separately). The people there are being told that we are divisive and bad influences. It makes me slightly sick. I still consider these people family and I believe that Christ still sees us as family and has commanded that we act as such. I see no reason why we can’t still hang out and love on each other, but there are some who think it would be better if we only hang out with our own/their own church body. Not Biblical. There are numerous things that I didn’t agree with. but I feel it’s enough to say that while I love and miss my old Aletheia fam and some of the amazing new friends from Remnant, I am fully confident that it was the right decision to leave. Even if I did get unfriended.
So, there’s been a lot of hurt this year, a lot of “Why, God?”s and there’s been some bitterness. That’s fading, though the anger still flares up every now and then when I hear certain things that are going on or being said. I’ve dealt with some depression and some distancing myself from God. I dated an unbeliever for a month and was miserable the whole time and now I miss him. Yeah, I just snuck that in there, hoping that no one would notice. He was a sweet man but he could never truly GET me, not the way I need a man to get me. Who I am is because of who Jesus is. I am fun and silly and happy and loving..because of Jesus. If I try to leave Him out of a relationship, I become depressed, insecure, full of guilt (i.e. NOT FUN), so when I tried to tone down my Christian-ness and just go with the flow because it felt great to be kissed and told how beautiful I am and have a hottie to hang out with all the time.. I was absolutely miserable. That doesn’t mean I didn’t care about him. And I’m torn up because I know I didn’t show him Christ. I showed him how messed up I am when I turn my back on the God who I gave my life to. That was me breaking my promise to God. I am thankful that God is merciful and that He didn’t let me stay there. I seriously would not have walked away without God’s help. All I could do was say “God, help me. I can’t do it.” I didn’t know how to go back to being alone again. God did it. I will one day be thankful that we can hardly look at one another but right now it sucks. I know that it will be worth it to wait for a man who will love me in the right way, who will lead me and our family to love and serve God and others all of our lives. I know that, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling lonely.
Are you tightening the noose yet? Sorry to be such a Debbie downer. There have also been wonderful things going on this year. Although some of my closest friends moved this year, and others were lost in transition (not translation), God has been faithful to supply community. There are so many people I am SO thankful for in my life, friends who hold me accountable and love me in spite of my failures. Some of us meet together in a home and study the Bible and do dinner and pray together every Sunday night. It’s church. It’s what church was meant to be. It is something I truly look forward to each week and it feels just like family. =) We also do girls’ nights on Tuesdays and that’s been a huge blessing.
God has certainly allowed me to see that I am utterly gross apart from abiding in Him. He also has shown me that I can have an attitude of believing that I deserve His grace and approval when I think I’m doing things right. I am just as undeserving of His love and forgiveness on my best day as I am in moments of utter shame and defeat. He loves me because I’m His. I know I still don’t understand this fully, and that I don’t trust fully. By His grace I am starting to feel little spring buds on these dead branches again.