i think it came down to a curiosity…and a desire to step out of the box a bit. to not focus so much on the differences, but to remind myself of the bigger picture: that the church – the Body of Christ – is united.
there are differences – no doubt about that, but the core is Christ and His word and people in a relationship with Him that is always growing and reflecting Who He is. His body isn’t defined or restricted by a denomination or a building. it’s His people, living day to day in obedience to Him. pursuing Him, loving Him, and loving people with the love He has poured into us.
it has been freeing, in a way. i love the family of believers i have come to know. those who loved me. people who went out of their way to reach out to me…complete strangers. through them, i have known the love of God. when i left the abuse and dysfunction and entered into the unknown, i had no idea what the next step was. coming from a life of isolation, i didn’t know anyone apart from the people i worked with. i experienced homelessness in the few minutes it took from leaving the house with a car full of my stuff to going to work and having one of my co-workers open her home to me. she obeyed the commands of Christ. she let a stranger in. and i will forever be thankful to her, even though i hardly see her anymore…
growing up, we never got too involved in a church. after i left, i remained in the church my abuser attended (it’s big). my motive was to pretty much do everything opposite of what my abuser would do, so i searched for a group. i happened upon a class of strangers, a mix of young and old. each face, each name means something to me. they all left a mark. each touched my heart and life in a profound and beautiful way…and all orchestrated by God’s sovereign hand.
going through a recovery program facilitated by the church introduced me to other beautiful, broken people that loved me despite all that i was and went through. i wasn’t alone. God loves us just as we are. we have the lifetime He has given us to grow and heal – and that is such a precious gift. all the pain, the hurt, all those ugly things hidden in the dark – Christ has helped to pull them out into the light and turned them into expressions of His glory.
in my struggle to “figure out” love, in begging God to show me and to help me understand, it was through these people that it became real. who was i to them? no one ever reached out to me in that way. no one ever took the time to listen to me, to teach and mentor me, in the way they did. through them, i developed a love of the study of His word – a desire to know Him, something i had never known before.
they showed me what God intends for His Body of believers to be. we are a unit, a family…even though we all can’t know each other on this side of eternity, our heartstrings are tying us together.
i will continue to stretch out, to reach out to as many of my brothers and sisters that i can. in any way i can.
i love you all. you know who you are.