While quiet this past month, I considered how ‘Awaken’ applies daily. I even made a home screen reminder to keep it close in mind and heart.
As I kept watch for God’s timely messages, I sought essential wisdom in every Bible verse I read, a statement I heard, or visual I pondered. It wasn’t until this past weekend that I had an Awaken moment.
My ‘boss’ (a pastor) shared an eye-opening post on Facebook. Convicted, I realized something I never knew bothered me- aka the Holy Spirit showed up.
Being the mom of a child battling substance use, well, two children, I often felt like a failure. I somehow failed at raising my kids and teaching them. I was unable to listen, hear, help, discipline, love! I failed. It took me years to accept I didn’t fail. Still lingering was the shame and the guilt and pain.
Another blindfold melts away. For all I can see, there are still layers to go. In my hurting heart, it feels bigger than my mind can grasp. I didn’t fail my children, but I cannot lie, my church is hard truth statement is dark:
“Church is hard for the mother who feels like she failed God.”
I did everything I could to raise my kids to love, know, fear, and live in a relationship with Our Heavenly Father! I have this underlying fear that it is Him I failed. Even knowing how crazy that sounds- here I sit. My 2022 word is Awaken- and this is one of my moments. God and I will work on it from here. I move through the healing of being weighed down by guilt, shame, and fear that God sees me less than, and I feel his love. I compare it to being in his arms, on his lap, while he gently rocks me back and forth like a small child. I can feel the caress of his hands through my hair as he whispers, “There, there, you are ok, my child.”
Below is the Facebook post. We all have a ‘church is hard’ statement, and what matters is how we push through, take the fear to Christ, and overcome it. We cannot sit in our fears for too long. When we do, Satan takes notice and uses it against us.
“Church is Hard”
Church is hard for the person walking through the doors, afraid of judgement.
Church is hard for the pastor’s family, under the microscope of an entire body.
Church is hard for the prodigal soul returning home, broken and battered by the world.
Church is hard for the girl who looks like she has it all together, but doesn’t.
Church is hard for the couple who fought the entire ride to service.
Church is hard for the single mom, surrounded by couples holding hands, and seemingly perfect families.
Church is hard for the widow and widower with no invitation to lunch after service.
Church is hard for the deacon with an estranged child.
Church is hard for the person singing worship songs, overwhelmed by the weight of the lyrics.
Church is hard for the man insecure in his role as a leader.
Church is hard for the wife who longs to be led by a righteous man.
Church is hard for the nursery volunteer who desperately longs for a baby to love.
Church is hard for the single woman and single man, praying God brings them a mate.
Church is hard for the teenage girl, wearing a scarlet letter, ashamed of her mistakes.
Church is hard for the sinners.
Church is hard for me.
It’s hard because on the outside it all looks shiny and perfect. Sunday best in behavior and dress.
However, underneath those layers, you find a body of imperfect people, carnal souls, selfish motives.
But, here is the beauty of church—
Church isn’t a building, mentality, or expectation.
Church is a body.
Church is a group of sinners, saved by grace, living in fellowship as saints.
Church is a body of believers bound as brothers and sisters by an eternal love.
Church is a holy ground where sinners stand as equals before the Throne of Grace.
Church is a refuge for broken hearts and a training ground for mighty warriors.
Church is a converging of confrontation and invitation. Where sin is confronted and hearts are invited to seek restoration.
Church is a lesson in faith and trust.
Church is a bearer of burdens and a giver of hope.
Church is a family. A family coming together, setting aside differences, forgetting past mistakes, rejoicing in the smallest of victories.
Church, the body, and the circle of sinners-turned-saints, is where He resides, and if we ask, He is faithful to come.
So even on the hard days at church—
The days when I am at odds with a friend, when I’ve fought with my spouse because we’re late once again.
When I’ve walked in bearing burdens heavier than my heart can handle, yet masking the pain with a smile on my face.
When I’ve worn a scarlet letter, under the microscope.
When I’ve longed for a baby to hold, or fought tears as the lyrics were sung.
When I’ve walked back in, afraid and broken, after walking away.
I’ll remember, He has never failed to meet me there.
I know I am loved and forgiven. I am blessed to come face to face with the truth of God in the misguided strongholds of my soul. I will keep watch for His awakening gifts as we travel through 2022.