After not attending church on my own for over a decade, I felt like a foreigner in that kind of environment when I first went back.
Every aspect of what I saw and heard was entering my brain and being critically analyzed and processed.
From each word spoken to every song of praise - I was deciding whether or not I should be there.
Fortunately, my experiences continued to be pleasant and uplifting and I kept coming back for more.
I hadn’t read the scriptures for many years, in fact, I couldn’t even find my old set of scriptures to read at home.
Much of what the speakers shared resonated with me and I enjoyed learning about the concepts they taught.
One thing that stood out was how humbly people shared their hardships and challenges. I remember one man in particular talking about how important it is to love ourselves.
I was so happy to hear him say that! We hear so often that we should love God and love others (which is true) but we rarely hear about how we need to love ourselves. It isn’t an easy thing to do.
My heart was softened and I continued to attend.
I have grown to love the people in this congregation. They are good, down to earth folks. I feel safe and accepted there. It has been a place of healing for me.
We are all learning and growing together.
We share our successes as well as our failures.
I see church as a hospital for healing the wounded and weary. We all get weary and downtrodden at times. When some are going through difficulties, hopefully there are others who can share a shoulder to cry on or lend a helping hand.
I missed that over the years. People who are focused on loving and serving one another as they learn about and follow Christ.
I am grateful to be part of this community of caring and faith.