When I was a teenager I stopped attending church...which means I ended my education and my understandings in the things of God. When I stopped attending church, I not only stopped receiving godly teachings but it also ended my experiencing and seeing the application of these teachings in how they would direct the path God intended for me to walk upon.
The results of my no longer being a part of a church family was this...instead of my morals, my actions and my thoughts being transformed by God...my morals, my actions, and my thoughts were transformed by who I decided God was according to what an unbelieving world taught me about God.
Instead of being encouraged by the teachings and support of a church family to discover and enjoy God's perfect love which satisfies the soul....I was encouraged by the teachings of the world to enjoy and desired any kind of love that makes you feel good. This kind of love I discovered could never fully satisfy the longings of my heart and left my very soul always in search for something more.
Thankfully...God is patient and God is faithful.
I was 39 years old and I thought my life was "perfect"! I was happily married, both my parents were alive and well and I had lots of fun friends. My husband Brad and I had careers we loved and we both were making great money that allowed us not to worry about paying bills and enough extra to save and spend on things we wanted. To me...I had it all...but instead of feeling secure and content...I was full of fear. I feared losing one "thing" of my perfect life. I feared the death of a loved one more than anything else...but the loss of my financial security was high as well.
It was in this fear...that I finally turned to the only One who could help me. So I prayed and Jesus answered my fear in His perfect love. Before my head lifted or my tears stopped flowing...I knew in my heart I needed to return to church.
I knew by God's wisdom and grace that my confidence, my security, my understanding and all my resolve to remain faithful to God...would be found and met there.
My husband who had never attended church amazingly was not only willing to go to church with me, but wanted to go! He was a professional photographer at the time and had shot a wedding at a church where the minister was someone he instantly liked and he felt we would "fit in". So that's where we went.
The first few months we attended church we met many friendly and kind people there who we were amazed to discover seemed... "normal"!
The sermons were ones that applied Bible verses to the circumstances in our life or gave us godly direction as to how we could respond to our circumstances with God's wisdom and love instead of our own.
We began attending a Sunday Bible study class at church and bought a Life Application Bible to read and study at home...both of these things helped us develop a clearer understanding of not only God...but how God wanted us to respond to His teachings and His Will for our lives.
Being with a church family gave us the support we desperately needed to make some pretty drastic changes in our perception of how we saw many social issues as well as how we saw ourselves and others. Developing strong friendships with other Christians through our church gave us the kind of friends God knew we would be needing not only for the good times in life, but during times of great trials and heartache...that this life surely brings to us all.
God's church is where Brad and I discovered our need and desire to continue in our understanding of God and His Word. Church is also where we learn how God had designed us to serve and live for Christ...instead of living and serving only our own selfish desires.
We began serving in small ways at first. I signed up to greet people at the doors of church on Sunday mornings while Brad signed up to serve communion. We both joined the choir which led Brad eventually into singing on a praise team and even filling in for the music minister on occasion.
Eventually and as God designed for Brad to do...Brad left his successful photography business and enter the ministry as a Music and Worship minister.
Me... I became involved in attending women's bible studies that led me into leading them. Eventually...as God has designed me to do...I accepted the opportunity to teach adult Bible studies on Sundays as well as continue to lead women's studies during the week.
Wow...it amazes me to this day what God accomplishes through His church! As a teenager and throughout much of my adult life I rejected the church and what I assumed it was teaching. I thought I wasn't rejecting God by rejecting His church. But I was wrong.