My church is my family. Just like my family, my church is not perfect. Why? Because my family and my church are both made up of humans, and humans are not perfect. Only Jesus is perfect, not us.
Also, like family, in church, there are good times, hard times, times filled with laughter, times filled with sorrow, times filled with rejoicing, etc. Even though I’ve literally grown up in church my entire life, my eyes have been viewing church differently lately, through eyes of contentment, or eyes of a proud mother, or eyes of gratefulness.
These are some examples of what my eyes have seen lately:
-A few weeks ago, I needed help juggling a few things, and when I realized I couldn’t be two places at once, I called a man in our church who’s about my parents’ age, and is always willing to help out where help is needed. When he answered, I said, “I need help with something”. Without even asking what it was, he replied, “Sure thing, what do you need me to do?”.
This is my church.
-A couple weeks ago, when my husband and I were teaching our adult Sunday School class, it was tough. Meaning, it was a passage that left no wiggle room, and was one where the “rubber meets the road” so to speak. I must have said a thousand times, “bear with me”, as I wanted to paint the broad strokes of the passage before we unpacked it together. One class member openly thanked us for bringing the message as it was meant to be brought, and for not dancing around the hard parts. He was such an encourager.
This is my church.
-During the worship service, a man whom had buried his father that week, went to the alter to pray. Another man joined him, placing his hand on the man’s back, and prayed with him. Then, a third man did the same. As they stood, they embraced, all three of them, and our pastor joined the group. Three men hugging a forth man, in silent support, mourning with him over the passing of his father.
This is my church.
-After the worship service ended and everyone was heading out, I saw one of our cancer-survivor members go to another cancer-survivor, who is currently fighting cancer once again to ask how she was doing. He’s one of the few that can totally relate to what she is going through.
(I need to pause for a side story here: several years ago, at one our church’s Valentine’s Banquets, everyone at the table wrote their name on a rock, and then placed their rocks at the center of the table. When everyone left, they were to take a rock and place it somewhere to pray for the person named on the rock.)
So, back to the conversation, he told her that he got her rock that night, and continues to keep her in his prayers. We have our rocks from that night too. They sit in our kitchen window near the sink, where they are seen often.
This is my church…where people keep their rocks and continue to pray over others, no matter how many years have passed.
-This may be my favorite from the past few weeks, but you’ll also have to bear with me here. 🙂 Remember, we live in a college town in the Southeast, where college ball is not something to take lightly. More specifically, we live in the college town of Athens, GA, where the University of Georgia is located. Okay, with that in mind, a spunky lady in her 70’s came forward one Sunday to join our church. You could pick up on her personality as far as the very back pew. She was adorable! She corrected the pastor on a name that was mentioned (he needed to have it right, you know?), and then when he mentioned that she was from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, she let out a “Roll Tide”!
One of our members wanted to alert her that she was standing next to a Florida Gator, as that is our pastor’s alma mater, so he shouted out just that. She gave him a good look over, then just glanced back at the congregation. Her facial expression was priceless! So, he informed her that we had some Clemson fans in our church, and asked her if she’d think she could get along with a Clemson fan. She replied with a shrug of her shoulders that made the sanctuary burst with laughter. I may have been the only one extremely tickled by all this, but I was instantly in love with this spunky gal!
This is my church, where we love, no matter what team you pull for.
-Following that church service, we had a potluck dinner. I loved watching all those around me. Seeing people help one another. Smiling when others, like myself, had their priorities straight and went to the dessert table first. Seeing all the variety of dishes, which represented the variety of people that make up our church. Sharing a meal together, and getting to know those around my table more and more was an awesome thing.
This is my church.
-On Wednesday nights, there’s a few of us that wash up the dinner dishes from the fellowship meal. It’s just like being in the kitchen with our families following a family meal. As we wash, we catch up with each other, check in, see how the week is going, etc.
This is my church.
-And, just like family stuff, there’s church stuff, like boxing up Christmas decor to get it ready for storage. When we were finishing this up, I thought about that analogy, how church is like home. We boxed up Christmas decor at home, we box it up at church. It’s kind-of like having a second home, like a vacation home, where the chores are the same. Toilet is clogged, unclog it. Christmas decor needs storing, store it. Trash blown into the bushes from all the wind, pick it up, etc.
This is my church.
This has been a lot of rambling from my contentment, my warm heart towards my church. Please note that it is not just the particular church I attend, as “church” is not a building. Rather, it’s where fellow disciples gather. “Church” can be anywhere, as the church is the body of Christ.
Lately, my heart has been very heavy for people my age, who also grew up in church and were given that foundation by their parents, but they are not passing it to the next generation, their children. I know that you do not have to attend a church building to build a foundation of learning in Christ, but I *do* know that I’m so grateful for the foundation my parents provided for me.
A guy that I grew up with in my home church wrote a book entitled, “More Lost Than Found, Finding a Way Back To Faith“. In it, Jared Herd writes,
“As we are inundated with a constant stream of voices, may we remember that while the church is broken, it is coherent in its explanation of what it means to be in the world. The gift of the Christian faith and its beauty is that it gives us an overarching story that we exist in.”
I hope that this makes sense outside of the entire context of the chapter, because the chapter (and book as a whole), is really good.
Come exist in a story. Come join up with church family. Come have a vacation home! Get involved, as when you get involved and serve in a local church, you too get the opportunity to become part of something bigger.
I’d love to hear about your church! A story that you could share about how being a part of your church is like being a part of a family.
Lord, thank you for church! It’s not perfect, as You are perfect. For this reason, help us to keep our focus on You, as that is why we gather together, for You. Thank you, Lord, for loving us as Christ loves the church. Thank you for the design of the church, may we keep Your design in mind day in and day out. Thank you for the gift of my local church. I love you, Lord. I love Your church. Amen.
February 1, 2017 at 1:16 pm
I love this post! Thank you for your wisdom… It’s a great reminder. Always great stuff from you and that’s why I followed!
February 1, 2017 at 4:34 pm
Collin, I’m SO thankful you commented, because I was able to check out your blog, which I absolutely loved and have already shared with others! You and your siblings/peers have such wisdom. I’m excited to share your blog with my own preteen children. Thank you for your faithfulness to share with others about the Good News that is our Savior, Jesus Christ! Keep up the great work!
LikeLiked by 1 person
February 2, 2017 at 12:40 am
Wow, this means so much. Thank you for your encouraging words and sharing it with others! We only write what God lays on our hearts, but it is thrilling to get feedback like this from you. I’ve been loosely keeping track of what you do for awhile, and after this post I knew I had to subscribe. Thank you for all you do to further His kingdom!! 🙂
May God bless you abundantly, Carly!
February 3, 2018 at 2:07 pm
If my eyes are functioning right, I think I spy something in your window that has my name and my husband ‘s name on it. Thank you and Brandon for praying for us. I cannot think of anyone that I would rather have praying for us. You both are amazing and I just love the way you inspire people through your love for Jesus, teaching Sunday School, your blog, washing dishes, etc. l love your beautiful smile that just radiates your love for Jesus and others. Thank you for your blog and I look forward to it. I especially liked this one because it is My Church too and it is just as you described. God bless you and your family.
March 15, 2018 at 5:24 pm
Your eyes are spot on! I love the reminder of the prayer rocks. I love our church, and I love that it’s what brought our families together. Thank you for your most kind words. Love you!