Sunday, May 23, 2010

my thoughts on my church experience today

i left church this morning feeling encouraged and safe, yet challenged. i haven't heard any other church/pastor say some of the things they've said about integrity, mercy, forgiveness. it's like ... water in a hot, arid desert.

i did a couple of things that may sound kind of trivial or silly, but to me, they were huge. i filled out a visitor's card and went up for prayer for healing over my past. earlier in the week, we had discussed having other plans for today, but i really hated the thought of missing church at avalon this morning. my desire for the time being is to fall through the cracks and remain anonymous, that is, until i'm ready to emerge. they've made it easy. they respect my privacy, giving me space, while letting me know i am loved and welcomed.

will this be long-term? i don't know. and for right now, i don't care. this is where my heart needs to be for this season. and i am drinking it all in. are they perfect? you can bet they're not, but to be honest, i haven't seen any warning flags yet...and GOD knows i'm looking for them.

i walk in and want to cry as soon as the music begins...a good cry, a cleansing cry, a happy cry. and i must admit, i'm a little bummed when we're dismissed. the sermon series this month has been "captive." it's about being chained to our fears, our past, or whatever keeps us from living a blessed, whole and abundant life. it's exactly what i needed.

i've been struggling again with bitterness and holding on to past hurts and failures. i think it's time to rid myself of another layer of that baggage. it was music to my ears when the pastor said that it's not reasonable nor is it biblical to insist upon "forgive and forget." we don't usually forget, but we can forgive. we can accept. we can move on. he said that sometimes it takes forgiving a situation or person 490 times (that's 70 x 7 for all the bible scholars). if it doesn't "take" the first time, forgive again and again for as long as it takes. it's nice to hear what i've thought all along.

so i think i'm probably on 200-something. =) but that's ok. i'll keep forgiving until it does "take." i'll keep forgiving those who've hurt or disappointed me, and i'll keep forgiving myself for my short-comings and failures. one day, it's going to come together. one day, i won't fear anymore. one day, the massive amount of love and forgiveness in my heart will drive out the fear and bitterness. there won't be any room for them anymore.

it's been a good day.

1 comment:

Brent said...

Sounds like it was a great church experience, Hope. Our current church is also that 'water in the desert' feeling right now for us. It's finally time to write my book!