One of the hardest parts after my husband left me was the feeling of total abandonment. Not just by him, but by my friends as well. It seemed that very few of them even knew how to handle the situation themselves, so some chose sides and others disappeared all together.
What was worse was the abandonment I felt from my church family. Here I was back in a state I had left 3 years prior, now all alone. The family that I thought I could count on didn’t so much as offer to bring me a meal when my ex left and I had to go back to work. I mean didn’t know that it’s hard to put dinner on the table after going from being a stay-at-home mom to a full-time working one! What about calling to check in on me?
The only support I received was from newer members in the church, people I didn’t even know, offering to help me with childcare. That family was my saving grace during those first few months. But what about the rest of the church? The friends that I had served alongside? It wasn’t as if I was a stranger to the church.
Before I had left the state 3 ,years prior, I was at church meetings, I prepared the power points for the sermon, I helped with youth, I ran the drama team! I served and yet in my darkest time no one called to check in, no one stopped by, it seemed that no one even cared.
It was a heartbreaking and bitter realization that I was really all alone, and that the people who I counted on most, who I thought would be there, weren’t. I even told the pastor one Sunday after church that I felt lost. We agreed to meet and because life got busy, I didn’t make it. I called and left a message and never heard back from him.
Right then I wanted to abandoned my faith. I mean isn’t that what the bible teaches, that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves and that we are to serve others. Yet I saw nothing that resembled that behavior and from the people I called family.
I continued on my path of being lost for a few months, still with a consciousnesses of God, and understanding that what I was doing was not the best that God had for me. Yet, I continued on despite the Holy Spirit tugging at my heart.
Praise God that tugging didn’t go away. I had a relationship with God before all this and I am beyond grateful that my Abba didn’t give up on me even though I constantly missed our meetings. I am thankful that he left the 99 to come after me. Because it was in those times that I started seeking him in the quiet of my room. I found devotionals and purposed to face my loneliness and to stop doing things my way and give up and started trying it His way.
“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.”
In those moments God gave me a Revelation and true understanding of what the church is. Are you ready to write this down because I’m about to get deep.
That is what the Church is. That’s it. Just people. Imperfect people just like you and I who are in need of a Savior. They are striving to figure it out just like the rest of us.
A few months after this awaking moment I decided it was time to find another church. I tried so many churches before I found the one that healed my heart. They immediately came along side me as a single mom and loved on me and the girls the way we needed. We were only with them for a short time as they merged with another church father away from our home forcing us to find something closer. But they were exactly what we needed at the time.
I since have found a amazing church and a new church family and am so blessed that this is where God led me. We are still made up of imperfect people who need Jesus just as much as the rest. And we are by no means a perfect church. (there’s no such thing!) But we are perfect though Him who sanctifies us and loves us as His own. So is the first church, the one that abandoned me.
Each of these churches have played an important role in my faith. One showed me the church for what it really is, and not the idolized image I has so misconstrued in my head. Another, came to my rescue when I was the baby bird that fell out of its nest and needed rescuing. And the last, welcomed me as a woman who was strong, and is in the same boat of figuring out this life God has called us to live together in fellowship.
My heart still hurts when I think about my first church family. But I forgive them. I have had to have many conversations with my big about forgiving people who have sinned against us. If you’re not a single mom, you are just naive to the struggle. I know I used to be. We cannot hold people accountable for their ignorance. Nor can we hold on to our bitterness and unforgivess. It only destroys us.
If we keep our eyes focused on Christians or even the church we will always be let down. That was not God’s intention. We are to be examples yes, but not Idols. Our eyes are to be focused on God. He is truly the only one who will never let us down.