If I were as talented as my friend Chill Pastor I would embed the song “Home” by Daughtry into this blog page. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find Daughtry actually performing the song. So…get that tune in your head as you continue to read.
About two months ago, I made the decision to leave the church in which I was serving. It was a fantastic church when I was hurting and needed a safe place to heal. The expectation of me was that I show up if it worked for me. Because of who I am, I got more deeply involved. I can’t seem to just hang on the fringes of church. It just is not who God created me to be. After a while, I realized that it was not a good fit anymore. I fought for the fit. I was like on of Cinderella’s step-sisters, fitting my foot into a shoe that just didn’t fit. Finally, I realized that my being a part of the church was not beneficial to the church, to me or to the people with whom I was in contact. I love those people…they will forever hold a place in my heart. But…the time came for me to leave.
So, for the past month or so, I have been traveling quite a bit…two trips to Cali, one for pleasure, one for work. Last week I was in NYC for work. While I was in my hotel room in NY this week, I was really impressed that I needed to get back into a church. So, today I went to church.
A few weeks back, my friend and I went out for coffee at Starbucks and I saw a friend from my old church. I was a bit uncomfortable, yet completely comfortable. I knew that there was something missing in my life. I was talking not about a church, but my family. There was a fear imminent in my chest that I would walk through the doors and that I would be casually ushered back out the door in shame.
Yesterday…I saw friends from this church in a jewelry store in my home town. We hugged…I cried…I just knew. Last night, same thing. I was at a party for a friend and ran into two guys from this church. At the end ofthe night, I told them that I missed our time…I miss having conversations about God, about growing with God, in community.
So, this morning I got up and went to church. I went back to my old church, now known as The River. I was welcomed with open arms. Sincere, open arms. Squeals of delight; the sense that I was only gone for a week or two rather than over two years. Even my pastor came up to me and spoke to me.
I can honestly say that I have experienced what it is to be a prodigal daughter. Sure, I didn’t spend my portion of my father’s fortune. I didn’t walk in, smelling of pigs, wishing that I could eat the slop of my father’s farm animals. But, I did have a few rough years. I left in hurt, and I return with humility. I didn’t expect anyone to welcome me with open arms. I didn’t expect most people to speak to me. But, God is so much bigger than my expectations. God’s ways are higher than my ways and His thoughts higher than mine. I know that there are going to be people who are cautious. And you know what? I respect that. I truly do.
So, I’m home. I’m not diving in head first. I’m going to dip my toes, and go it slowly. I have to balance church, family and work. I’m not the person who left two years ago. And this church is much more dynamic than it was two years ago. For now, we have to get reaquainted.
And, for those who may be wondering where I am but haven’t asked, now you have an answer.