I always call myself a Christian but sometimes I look at myself and I look at the world and I don’t see much of a difference. For so long, I was okay with it I guess. I knew I wanted better but I never wanted to put in the time to make it different. In the beginning of 2013, I was going through so many internal struggles. With all the distractions of moving and starting a new job now gone, I was now forced to face many issues that for so long I had been trying to suppress. I was so unhappy- with Richmond, with myself, with life. One night I was laying in bed upset at the world and I started to really think about everything: who I am as a person; the good, the bad and the ugly. Do I like what I see? What kind of person do I want to be? What do I want my life to look like? What do I want my future marriage to look like? A lot of my answers were “I want it to be like what I had growing up”. I want to be a strong, Christian woman like my mom. I want a strong Christian husband who treats me the way my dad treats my mom. I want a family like my family. And then I started thinking about how they got all of that and it all came back to one thing: God. In happy times and in hard times, that is the first person they turn to. I’ve always admired that. I admire that fact that they rarely worry about things… that they whole-heartedly believe that no matter what happens, it is in His hands and He will take care of them… and I decided I wanted a relationship with Him like that.
In January, I started looking for a church home – one that I would be excited to go to on Sundays and not just go to because I felt like I needed to check it off some checklist. I had been praying to God that he would work on my heart, that he would motivate me to take action and that he would make it clear to me where he wanted me. My first Sunday looking, I went to a church in downtown Richmond called Commonwealth Chapel. Because it is downtown, they don’t have a formal parking lot- it is street parking or parking garages. (Keep in mind, I chose to live in the suburbs because I hate trying to navigate the city). That Sunday, I got to the church ten minutes before it started but could not find parking for the life of me. I started praying to God like “God, I’m trying to do something good here… PLEASE just help a sista out”. I drove around aimlessly for about 15 minutes trying to figure out where to go and finally just paid $5 to park in a parking garage. Once I got in the church, they had already started praise & worship and since everyone was standing it was impossible to find a seat. After a few minutes of walking around like an idiot, I finally found a seat all the way in the back corner. By this time I was a little frustrated with how my morning was turning out… so again, I prayed. I asked God to clear my mind and help me focus on the message and to help me to hear what he needed to say to me. That week the message was titled: God’s perfect work through imperfect people. The main points of it were:
- Trust knows God is working even when we can’t see him
- Perspective doesn’t focus on the outward and superficial
- Glory belongs to God and not a person
- Grace: We’re broken people in the process of being made whole
It was one of those messages where it came right at the perfect time. After feeling so alone and discouraged it was exactly what I needed to hear. As if that wasn’t crazy enough, for the closing song the band played the song “Stronger” by Hillsong. The chorus of the song is “You are stronger, You are stronger, Sin is broken you have saved me. It is written, Christ is risen, Jesus you are Lord of all”. I literally just started crying right then and there. I felt like it was God’s way of telling me He hears me, He is with me, He isn’t going anywhere, and He will always be strong… especially when I can’t be. It was at that moment I knew I had just found my church home.
For February, my goal was to try to get more involved at the church. I emailed the church to find out about membership classes, bible studies, etc. I got an email back from a co-ed group that meets on Thursday nights. I tried it out and met some pretty cool people but I knew the next two Thursdays I was going to busy and I didn’t want to start out the month already missing two bible studies. The next Sunday there was a newcomers social at the pastors house. The purpose of it was so new people could meet other new people as well as the staff. I ended up meeting one of the Staff members who is a girl that is a couple of years older than me. She mentioned that she hosts a girls bible study on Tuesday nights so I got her information so that I could go that week. When I showed up, they had wine and krispie creme donuts… It was at that moment I knew I had just found my small group.
For March, my goal is to spend time with God daily. As I mentioned in my post yesterday, after going to Barnes & Noble to look for a devotional, I came across the book What on Earth Am I Here For? I had planned to start it today but the first thing it said when I opened it was that they suggested reading it with a partner. Ecclesiastes 4:9 states “Two are better off than one, because together they can work more effectively. If one of them falls down, the other can help him up… Two people can resist an attack that would defeat one person alone. A rope made of three cords is hard to break.” So I got my three cords: my brother, sister and I will all be starting tomorrow :). Needless to say, I’m excited to see the things that God has in store for my life this month!
Until next time…
Resources: What on Earth Am I Here For? by Rick Warren