Tuesday, December 23, 2014
For a while now, I have felt a stirring in my heart. A desire to open my heart back up to God. I didn't want to go back to the church I attended before. After leaving, I felt like my eyes were opened to different things and I didn't want to go back. Because of the way we "lost" our baby, I knew I could never be happy or at peace there.
But it was the only religion I had ever known in my life and I didn't know where else to look. I kept telling myself to just choose a church and go try it out. But I was nervous and scared. So I kept putting it off.
Several months ago, I had a situation at work that involved calling the cops. It was pretty scary. It happened on a Monday. That Thursday, I had a sweet moment happen that seemed to counter act the horrible one. I had called a gentleman to ask him some questions about his account. A few minutes later, he called back to clarify something else. Then about 30 minutes later, he called again.
He had felt inspired to ask me if I had opened my heart to Jesus. Now normally, I would have been upset. I don't like people who mix work and religion. But as I mentioned, I was still coming down from that horrible thing, and his message was just the thing to help me put it to rest. I can't even remember the conversation, but it was really sweet and sincere. He even said a short prayer for me. And this man had NO idea what had happened earlier that week. I happened to know which church he attended, so I thought I would try that one. But still, I couldn't work up the courage to go.
Part of my problem was, I wasn't sure if God wanted me back. I had been so mad at him. I felt like he had betrayed me and I didn't want Him in my life anymore. In my heart, I know that isn't true. God is too loving to never take back a soul. But I had a lot of anger in my soul. Going back to Him meant letting go and forgiving, and I wasn't ready.
I had expressed all of this to a friend and she encouraged me to follow my heart. She suggested just going somewhere and talking it all out. Then, last month, she invited me to attend Sunday service with her. It happened to be at the same church that gentleman attends.
One thing you must know, of all my friends, she is the last one I would think of when it comes to religion. But she knew this was something I needed, so she went out of her comfort zone, and helped me take that step.
I should also mention, this church runs a daycare during the week that my nephew's go to. So these people know some of my favorite people.
The first Sunday I went I was nervous. I didn't know if I would know anybody. I didn't know what to expect. I dressed up in my Sunday best and met my friend there.
It was different from what I grew up with, but a good different. I think the people there are the nicest people I have ever met. I met the lady who runs the daycare and mentioned my nephews and she gave me a big hug. I even recognized a few faces.
Because it was so different from what I grew up with, I was a little overwhelmed when I left. But during the following week, I found myself excited to go again. And the week following that. I immediately became comfortable there.
A few weeks ago, they had their ladies Christmas party. I decided it would be fun to go. I was thrilled to walk in and see an old Jr. High School friend there. She hadn't been there for a few weeks, so I hadn't seen her before. We had dinner, played bingo, did a gift exchange and there was a message shared that night.
The pastor's wife was the one to share the message. She talked about the first Noel. She talked about how it means birthday, most importantly, Christ's birthday. But then she went on to share how we can all have a Noel in our hearts. I left that night with the realization that I did not have a Noel of Christ in my heart.
I had been reading a book the pastor had given me, "More Than a Carpenter," by Josh D. McDowell and Sean McDowell. As a college student, Josh McDowell claimed that Jesus wasn't really a God. His friends challenged him to study it out and prove it. During his studies, he learned that he was wrong. Most of the book focuses on his research. It was good, but still, I hadn't felt what I had hoped to feel.
Sunday morning, before church, I finished the book. The last few chapters were the best part. It helped me realize its okay to let go of my pride. To admit that I can't do this on my own. I need to open my heart back up to God and let Him love me the way He wants to love me.
I finished the book just in time to head to church. As I was getting ready, I realized I was EXCITED to go. It wasn't about responsibility or guilt making me feel like I needed to go church, it was something I WANTED to do.
These past few weeks, I have felt a calmness come over me. Sunday has become my favorite day. Attending this church rejuvenates my soul so I can face the next week. It has made me want to be a better person.
This Sunday, the service was amazing. I loved how one lady put it when I introduced myself. They preach Jesus: about His word, His grace and His love. In the middle of the service, the lady that has really taken me under her wing, suddenly asked me if I had a bible. When I told her I didn't, she went and got one just for me. She is one of those people that you can tell she loves Christ and she wants to help others realize that He loves everyone. She has treated me like a dear friend from the second I met her.
During the sermon, the pastor had us stand, close our eyes and repeat a prayer after him. It was about turning ourselves towards Christ. By the end, I was bawling, begging God to forgive me for my stubbornness. For trying to take Him out of my life. I told Him I forgave Him for the injustice I felt had been dealt to me, but really, it was about forgiving myself.
That was my Noel moment.
It wasn't a Heavenly chorus singing. It wasn't a trumpet going off.
It was a soft whisper of Him telling me He love me.