My faith stretches way back. I grew up in the Catholic church, then when I was married at 19yo, I started attending a Evangelical Free Church. Later I would attend a Nazarene, Conservative Baptist, Charismatic, and a church that would fall closely under the Reformed Baptist faith. I’m back to the later.
For about 12 years, when married, I was deeply involved in our church. I worked in the nursery, taught junior church, Sunday School, was a youth leader, women’s outreach member…if the doors were open, we were pretty much there. I ran the needs committee, published and printed the Sunday bulletin, the ex was chairman of the deacon board, yes we were very much involved in our church, and at the time our faith was solid. Our marriage hit a huge bump in the road, hubby left the deacon board to focus on us, and for a while things in the marriage were outstanding if you ask me. And then, we slowly began to color outside of the lines as a couple.
When you color outside of the lines of marriage, you crack the foundation of your solid union. Over time your heart begins to grow deaf to the voice of God, and turn sour toward the things that would please Him. We began to nit-pick at everything and before long just up and left that church body. Without someone to keep us accountable by encouraging our walk, asking us about our prayer life etc, we stopped praying as a couple each night before going to sleep, and we drifted further and further away from the narrow road.
We walked in darkness for a number of years, away from the church and our beloved church family, and participated in things I know grieved not only the Lord but friends and family that simply could not grasp what we were thinking and doing. Many times I suggested we return to our faith, if not that congregation then another, but the then husband would have no part of it, saying the next time he attended a church would be for his funeral. I wasn’t going to go alone, and after discussions it was pretty evident he wasn’t willing to give up our outside-the-lines lifestyle. Keeping him became more important than what I knew was right so I focused on that lifestyle, forgetting where I had once been and who I knew I was deep down.
Once divorced, I did make an attempt to return to my faith. It was short lived. It is hard to return as a prodigal, even harder when so much is different. I lasted a few months and a handful of attacks before I moved on. Sadly, I easily let so many other things become important so that being at church was no longer a priority.
Now, I know better. My heart has healed of the past wounds, at least for the most part. There are tender areas and scars but surprisingly little pain when I go to my knees and give it over to the One who can put the spiritual balm on those wounds that actually relieves the pain. I walked in there Sunday starving and was fed. Now I crave more, so tonight I will go again for the midweek gathering and have more of what I need. This time around, I’m not at all uncomfortable there, I’m drawn there and feel more at home than ever. I know there will come Sunday mornings when the very last thing I want to do is pull myself from my warm bed. Those days I will have to push myself harder to be there. I expect there may still come attacks from my enemies, but I’m okay with that too. It isn’t about them. It isn’t even about me. It’s about Christ and what He would have me to do. They will answer for themselves, I have to answer for me.