Tuesday, October 8, 2013

When Community Hurts And God Redeems ~ Day Four

~Welcome To Day Four In A 31 Day Series~

31 Days To Becoming His Pearl

The church is a hospital.

It isn't always a place where fully healed people gather every week.

It is a place where the broken bring their brokenness and God meets us there.

And there is brokenness in every, single one of us. 

Pastors and teachers and the people. All of us.

And we try and do community.

We try to do life together.

With all of our shortcomings and flaws and faults and unmet needs and unhealed hurts.

We do church.

We gather together in buildings, and gyms and schools and cafeterias and chapels all over the world and try and make His kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.

And we fall short.

We all do.

We have church hurt.

The hope is that we allow Him to minister to our wounds and needs and heartache and without the expectation that a person or pastor can fill that place.

The hope is that we can learn to trust again. Overcome our fears and push past anything inside our hearts that would try and convince us that "they" are all the same. 

The hope is that our communities and places of worship would be filled with the tangible love of Christ and with mercy and grace and with love and kindness and true friendship that would bring healing in some way to those places that ache.

I have not been a part of a small group for years. And I have some pretty good reasons.

But isolation can do more harm than good and no glory can manifest when it's just a party of one.

This I know.

So by His unimaginable grace, an opportunity presented itself in the form of a group for us recently and I'm pretty sure I went into a full fledged panic attack on the drive over on the very first night.

Like, "turn the car around, there is NO WAY I am going to put myself through this again", panic attack.

But after the first gathering, I realized that there were some people who were going to be a part of our group whom I absolutely adored.

Like, they are beautiful, living epistles of God's goodness and grace and I just want to sit at their feet and listen to their stories about life and ministry and soak up the wisdom that they carry.

Every shade of amazing.

And so I pushed past the panic and pressed on.

And I am grateful. 

It is still hard for me. I stay quiet each week for the most part.

Fear loves to silence us.

But I feel the Father working. Nudging. Leading.

And I know in due time....

He is going to redeem those places that ache by using imperfect people who worship a perfect God. 

He uses us. To buffer. To balance. To bring grace that we've never in our life experienced. To teach us about love and trust and acceptance and mercy and forgiveness and the hope of glory.....

Part of becoming His Pearl for me personally, was learning how to do community again.

I have listened to many hearts over the years, share their journey with me, about the how and the why as it relates to the declaration of never wanting to set foot in a church again....

Heaps of sorrow.

Just the way the enemy wanted it to be.

But today, I felt led to gently invite you to try again.

If you have made the same declaration because of past experiences....

I'm wondering if you would be willing to open your heart again?

There are no perfect churches or perfect leaders. But there are amazing and incredible hearts who
long to meet us right where we are and who will demonstrate His heart for you. Who will pour out an ocean of grace you never dreamed was possible. Who will love you and your family and make room for you and accept you and point you to the One who has loved you all along. There are hearts who can teach you how to learn the scriptures and bring understanding to your broken heart about how much you are forgiven and how God is no respecter of persons. He loves you and wants you connected to the body of Christ.

You have a beautiful gifting inside you and talent and ideas and wisdom that would immediately transform your church community.

You are amazing.....you truly are.

But if we withhold.... If we choose solitude as our path.

We will never know~ you and I, the gift that comes when we gather together in His name and when each believer comes together with his or her purpose.

People who walk together in purpose and destiny bring change to their communities.

I am learning to try again. To trust again. To begin again.

I would love if you would consider that too.

I know He will meet us there. Waiting to pour out. To make all things new. To redeem our past and to give us a hope and a future we never dreamed...

Please email me (pearlsandgrace@gmail.com) or leave a comment if you would like some suggestions for a place to worship and to try community again. I know lots of friends and bloggers in other cities who are connected to amazing church communities. If you are a part of a church community and would love to invite readers to join you each week, please leave your church information and a link here in the comment section. You just never know how God will send the answer to your prayers.....

Love you sweet friends. Get ready for God to redeem.....


Bravehearted Beauty {formerly LLH Designs} said...

So, so proud of you. So much truth in all that you've written here. Thank you for all of it. My favorite expression from you today: "every shade of amazing." Love that!

Michele said...

You are absolutely precious. Love reading your words - His words. xoxo

Jenny Beth said...

i love what you said. its hard to do it again, to trust people again. thank you for your trust. the blessings are waiting for you!!! i still have not found the place that felt like home. i know its something I need to pray earnestly for.

Lindsay said...

Had to leave my place of worship. I worship in Baton Rouge, La at First New Testament church. A wonderful, biblical church, where they have their arms wide open to embrace newcomers.
Also, in Walker, La there is Faith Crossing United Methodist, and in New Orleans, La there is Vintage church. :)