Three and a half years ago, in April 2008, I published a blog post called “Connecting… on a real life level.” (The post was actually a follow-up to a post called “Searching for Fellowship.”) It was written by a lady who had contacted me via email. In this post, she explains how God had been faithful to bring people into her life that she could connect with on a real life level. I hope this post encourages you as much as it encouraged me. (And, if you are seeking that kind of fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ, I hope this post is especially encouraging to you to persevere and to trust God to bring people into your life even though the journey there can be difficult and painful.)
Here is an update from my letter that I had written to you in November.
At the time I had written to you, I was questioning what the following scripture meant to me: “And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.” (Heb. 10:24-25 NASB)
The reason that I was questioning this is because I am a soul that has been “in church” every single Sunday since the 2nd grade. Then about 4 years ago I suddenly found myself not attending church at all after our church had a traumatic split. We were devastated by what had happened, meaning- how people had behaved toward us and toward each other.
The process has been difficult and painful. But God has been faithful to who He is. He is good and he never changes! No matter our circumstance. So, through this painful season we have learned alot about ourselves, alot about our God, alot about people, and about church as an institution. Our pain kept us from attending any churches in the beginning, but our understanding is what has been showing us the real reason we do not desire to walk through the sanctuary doors as we once had. We desire more than programs and religion. We desire connecting with people on a real life level wrapped in the understanding of our identity in Christ and the Grace of God.
Since the time I had first written to you, I have made some wonderful connections with a few dear people online. I hope to meet each of them in person someday soon! My husband had the opportunity to travel to Europe to be a part of a conference in Bulgaria. The conference spoke to Pastors there about the message of Grace. I surprisingly have made a connection with a woman there who had been an attender of a conference. I have been enjoying connections God has provided with people in many different places. I feel that through these connections I have been able to live the scripture of Heb. 10:24-25. Of course it does not look like what we are accustomed to in traditional church. But the result is that there is an assembling and encouragement taking place.
We are also looking into an opportunity of hosting and facilitating grace walk groups through the ministry of Steve McVey. We hope in this opportunity we will make more tangible connections with people in our community.
Last week we had attended a funeral in which many people from our past church were at. We were welcomed by some, and to our expectation, shunned by others. God did a lot in our hearts through that day. And I realized that I am walking on the path of healing with a hope and a future. There are some who will never choose that path because holding on to the past is where they seem to find their life. But for those who do choose a path of healing and restoration we welcome them by our side.
I believe we have crawled out of the “rut” and are walking ahead on the other side. Resting in Jesus is what brings us comfort and HOPE. We know He is in control and that He is GOOD! We are excited for all the things to come as our God lays out our future for us.
Thank you for your encouragement and prayers through this journey.
(formerly, anonymous child of God)