This morning I got myself out of bed, got dressed, and went to church...
After this particularly rough weekend, I was greeted by smiling faces (And coffee!)
There was one of my youth leaders. She sent me a message on Friday, saying she had missed me at youth and had a hug waiting for me. That's what I was looking forward to as I stumbled into church that morning. And as she gave me a hug, I felt myself relax. It was as if my body was saying "It's ok, you can rest here. You don't have to pretend." So, for the first time, I talked honestly about the struggles that I've been facing this weekend. I was leaning in, being real and honest. I wasn't standing alone trying to face the storm, but leaning in.
And during the service, the pastor was talking about doubt. He said "For the next two minutes, talk to someone next to you about the last time you doubted."
I was sitting at the end of the row, and there was two other people at the opposite end of the row. I figured they would talk amongst themselves and I was ok with just reflecting, because I knew the last time I'd doubted (It was actually yesterday!) But then this guy came over right into the seat next to mine and looked me right in the eye and said, "When was the last time you doubted?"
And I don't know what it was that caused me to be honest with this guy. I'd never seen him before, he was probably twice my age (Not quite, probably in his twenties, though) but it was like the words came out and I was real and I told this guy (Whom I'd never met) that it was a rough weekend and that I was doubting God when He said He knows the plans He has for me, and that He knows what he's doing. And then this guy shared with me about the last time he doubted that God knew what was best.
And during the service, I got this text. I opened it, and found a message from Paula. (Yes, we text each other in church, but this one was good, trust me!) And it was a Bible Verse. It was Hebrews 11:1-3, talking about faith being sure of things we can't see. Another reminder, another moment when it was like God was saying to me, "This is for you."
This Sunday was a whisper from God, saying, "It's ok, you can rest here."
And that's what the Body of Christ is, isn't it? A place where you can rest, and a place where you don't have to pretend. It's love and it's hope, and it's moving and touching those places in my heart I thought were growing cold and it's whispering, "You are loved, you belong here, it's safe here."
This is the church I am proud to go to, a church that loves and whispers the hope of Jesus. It's ok to be in a rough place, it's ok to doubt and to wonder. It's a safe place to be real and lay your burdens down at the feet of Jesus.
You can rest here, it's ok, it's safe. Here is a place where you belong, where you are loved. You don't have to pretend, come as you are. Rest here, lay everything down at the feet of Jesus, and know that you are so dearly loved. You are not an island, you are here, among the body of Christ. You belong here.