Over 20 years ago, the church told me I should have an abortion because I was so young.
Okay, the church itself didn’t say this, but people of the church did. Still, that didn’t stop me from crossing my arms and walking away in a huff, blaming the church.
When the child I did not abort was 14, the same age I was when he came into my life, he found Jesus. The church brought him in to the smells of food but kept him there with the love of Jesus. Yet, my heart toward church was still hard and cold. No amount of my son’s begging me to attend could move me.
Until the day it did.
It was a slow process, my resistance still written all over me. I didn’t want anyone to talk to me the first time I stepped back into church, nor would I participate. I was just there, that’s all. I mouthed the words to songs, gripping the back of the chair in front of me, and as soon as the service ended, I ran.
Later, as I became a regular church-goer in my new state of residence, I found myself wanting to be plugged in more. I wanted to be in classes or invited to Bible studies. And when that didn’t happen, I turned on the church again and walked away. I felt my decisions justified when no one called to check on me, or when a call did come six months later, it was to ask if I wanted to volunteer in the nursery. I was angry, feeling overlooked except for when they needed something. I crossed my arms again, squared my shoulders, and turned away from church altogether.
At this point in my life, my relationship with God was beautiful and growing. I found Him in the mountain outside my window, the deer and fox who playing in my yard, and the brilliant blue skies overhead. I dug into His Word and read it over and over, cover to cover, finding new gems every time. I didn’t need church.
But something niggled at me.
“Come to me.”
No thank you.
The gentle whispers kept coming. I had prayed for God to move me, to use me, and He continued to call me to church.
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. -Matthew 7:7 (NIV)
So, fine. At the top of my 2013 Goals for Self: Go to church every Sunday. I realized that I had been resistant because of all the flaws I found in each church, in the people who didn’t say hi, or the people who acted as if I were a heathen who just walked in and finally I am saved!, or in the people‚Ä¶just the people.
I wrestled with where to go, which would be best, where would I be able to fellowship with kind people, and on and on.
And then God spoke to me, gently reminding me His house is not “The House of Notice Angela” or “The House of Networking.” It’s His “House of Worship.” It’s not about me, it’s about Him.
Going to worship God is not about perfection or being noticed or legalism or religion. So I go and I sing with my eyes closed, sometimes with my face to the heavens, my arms raised to reach Him. I am only semi-aware that others are around me, that someone might think I’m some weirdo taking this worship thing too far. But it’s not about the rules or the church or anyone who might be watching. It’s about God – me and God, together in those moments, not in religion but in relationship.
I’m taking it one Sunday at a time.
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