Today was our last day at our church before we move to our new home and our new church family. Our church had a very sweet presentation for us and then a beautiful reception that reminded me of my wedding~ A room filled with people I love, delicious food and flowers, amazing gifts for our whole family, and a reception line that I could have visited with all day long 🙂
As I was hugging and thanking this sweet congregation, it struck me how beautiful the church is. I had so many people to thank for their impact on our lives. I got to thank the children’s Sunday School teachers for their faithfulness to teach my children. I got to thank the elders and their wives who checked on us, prayed for us and encouraged us over the years. I got to thank the friends that I have walked with through raising children and loving our husbands. I thanked the deacons who served us and took care of our congregation. I thanked the amazing nursery staff that loved my children and helped me be a better pastor’s wife because they cared for my little ones. On a day when people share with you all that you have done for the church, it really was more evident that the church has been a blessing to us!
When I talk to someone who avoids church and only sees his relationship with the Lord as an individual act, I have great sorrow. They have listened to a lie from Satan- who truly wants us isolated and separate. We were meant to be part of His church- the one He laid down His life for. I’ve heard it said that the church is not genuine or relevant- that church is difficult to enter into and more trouble than it’s worth- that younger generations are fleeing the institutions and breaking away from the church. I believe that our culture is believing the lie.
I looked lots of people in the face today and remembered years of authentic and deep conversations. I laughed with so many about our weaknesses and our joys. I thanked God over the friendships that He developed in a short period of time that encouraged me to trust my God and believe His promises in some of my most difficult days. The very thing that this culture wants is found in the place it wouldn’t expect it- the church. You must let yourself jump in to see it and experience it. You must participate to be known there. You have to actively lay down your life to see the Lord fill yours with His best. Oh if there were ever a chance to encourage people to love the church, I am taking it now. Be where God’s people are worshiping him, be where His word is preached, be where His praises are sung, and be where you can grow and mature in your faith. Don’t believe the lie.
One of the dear ladies who have kept my children over the years wrote us a note that said,”If we don’t see you again at this familiar place, please look for me around the Great White Throne!” It still brings tears to my eyes. I will see these people again- if not at this familiar place, then when we meet again…