Hi there, friends! If you are linking from the Proverbs 31 devotion, welcome. You are especially in my heart today.
I’m telling you from the get-go that I’m completely obsessed with this blogging thing, and it cracks my husband up. He is the techie in the family. I’m a woman who has been dragged kicking and screaming into the modern technological age. I’m not particularly computer-savvy even now, although I’m learning. I was especially resistant to blogging at first, but now I check the site meter many more times a day than I want to admit. I’m not vain about numbers; I’m just fascinated where all of you come from, how you got to my blog, etc. I LOVE to travel, and I’m especially excited when I see visitors from other countries. I saw one from Israel the other day and almost jumped out of my chair. I have a friend that visited there recently, and although I know it’s wrong to be envious, I am! So if you’re from the US, I love you and I’m very happy you’re here. But if you’re from anywhere else, I’m just giddy!
My love of travel may be something new that you learned about me. I want to share something else, but you’ll have to lean very close so that I can whisper it to you.....i have a very checkered past---shhh! It’s not actually as bad as it sounds. I was born into a family of Lutherans and was christened in the Lutheran Church. I grew up attending a Methodist church where I graduated from the Confirmation Class. I went to a non-denominational, charismatic church in college where I was baptized in a horse trough (long story). When I married, I entered a very Baptist family and currently attend a Baptist church, although I consider myself a Jesus-loving, Bible-believing Christian who happens to be currently attending a Baptist church.
I hope all of that makes you laugh and not gasp. I’m truly not as confused as it might seem. I’m so grateful for each experience, and I’ve learned a tremendous amount on the journey. My parents laid a foundation from infancy of loving God that has kept me focused on what is important (Jesus!) and flexible about many areas of difference in denominations.
Here are a few things that I’ve learned about being a church member along the way:
- There is not one—not a single one—perfect church.
- During the first 3-4 years of attending a church, you may think that it’s pretty close to perfect.
- After that time period, if you have made friends and gotten involved, you will find out that it’s definitely not.
- God often wants us to stay right where we are in our imperfect church to help us to grow into Christ’s image. Even though my tendency is to want to run away, there’s nothing like a little suffering, human conflict and drama to make us uncomfortable and boil our “issues” (otherwise known as sin) to the top. That’s when God can really work on us.
I’m personally in this uncomfortable post-honeymoon period. Don’t get me wrong. I love my church and more importantly God has called me there. The staff is made up of godly people who love God and desire to live out the Word in their lives. The essentials are all there. Here are two of the things that I’m learning as I face a few struggles:
- I don’t have to say everything that I think. It grieves me that I still talk so much. Recently, God has shown me that I’ve taken 10 steps back in this area. Conviction hurts, but repentance feels so good. I keep repeating to myself something that my friend Anne shared that God spoke to her, “Anne/Amy/fill in your name, your opinion blocks my revelation.”
- God has given us a mandate on how to handle conflict in the church in Matthew 18:15-17. Last week, my husband finally told me that I was not allowed to talk to him about a problem that I had with another church member again until I had gone to talk to that person. Ouch! Isn’t he supposed to be on my side?! He was right, though, and after I did as he suggested, the relationship was restored. God’s ways are always best!
God’s bride, the church, is going to be glorious at that final wedding. Believers are privileged to be part of the church even when it’s hard, because it’s God’s chosen vessel for reaching a dying world. I’m resolved to dig in, connect and get my rough edges worn off. Maybe I should consider church membership as a spa treatment. I’ll be radiant on that day when I’m called as the Bride of Christ!