deChurched to reChurched is a series on about how God brought me back to the church after 15 years of disappointment, frustration and stubbornness. Other posts in this series are: Part 1: Adrift.
Looking back on the last 15 years now with new eyes, I see tons of petty things that I allowed to trip me up and tie me up in knots.
Hundreds of little things left unresolved in an unguarded heart with really thin skin began to harbor a strong dislike for the church.
God eventually taught me that I was responsible for what I allowed in my heart and the bruises I would nurse– all while He began to use hundreds of other little things to bring me back…
It was as if God just up and decided that it was time for me to be done with all that… and suddenly, I was.
I don’t say “suddenly” lightly.
There was nothing sudden about years of struggling to drag all my baggage around… and I was beyond a breaking point.
Perhaps a point of no return.
And on that ledge, a direct message with a friend on a Friday afternoon changed it all.
“Oh once you come to our church there is no going back.”
I almost took it as a challenge.
She clearly didn’t know how skilled I was in finding fault in everything I had once found home in…
As it would turn out, she was right.
Months later as I stood in service, the worship songs flooded over me.
“This is really strange,” I thought.
The weight of the world—and weirdly enough my overweight body—felt as if it had just melted away in the darkened auditorium.
“But I don’t even really like the worship part of services… what is going on here?”
As selfish and unholy as it sounds, it was the truth.
Singing—or at least the expectation to sing in unison with others had just become a reminder of how hurtful people can be at worst and a chore at best.
I never had been a good singer… but years ago some Christian gals took it upon themselves to educate me on that fact one night and “worship time” really hadn’t been the same since.
My sinful pride wouldn’t let me focus on the true purpose of worship for years.
But boy would I carry their words around in my heart and hold it up as proof of all that was unholy.
This day was different though and I was feeling connected in a way I hadn’t in ages.
And, truth be told, I was a little confused.
Then the song leader with the rock star voice spoke very graciously and sincerely.
Wait… what did he just say?
Did he just say that he knows not everyone feels like they can sing well, but that doesn’t matter to God. That God and this church are glad I am here no matter what my voice sounds like?
My face became warm…
Did he just say what I thought he said? How did he know I was thinking about that?
Did God just do what I think he did?
Fifteen years of church services— some (most) admittedly spottily attended years—and God totally used that one man and one minute to shut the door to a childish encounter that I allowed to rob me of worship for years… and that would have honestly seemed down-right silly in retrospect, if it hadn’t been such a waste.
It was just one of many doors that had been jammed for years yet would be so easily shut in the coming months.
Doors that my pride had left ajar for far too long…letting all kinds of things in, all while sucking the air out of my spiritual life and suffocating the girl inside.
Each service I walked in feeling the familiar and comfortable burdens I adamantly had packed around for years and without warning one would be lifted from me.
Taken right out of my stubborn hands, like a child being told, “No, you can’t play with that anymore”.
Over the course of a few months God had taken my list that I had painstakingly created over the years with every wrong and every hurt and in some way He used someone to check off every last box.
I had now found a church that didn’t care if I could sing or not.
“No, you can’t play with that anymore.”
That thought the pulpit was for saving people not electing politicians.
“No, you can’t play with that anymore.”
That felt those outside the church walls were far more important than those inside.
Now my hang-ups had no place to hang and excuses that I had once held up as virtues now dropped to the floor and shattered.
Now there was no excuse not to worship my God—as if there ever really was one.
But would I?
To be continued…