I started this post but didn’t know how long it would take for me to share it. I was certain that it would sit in my drafts for an unusually long amount of time before I felt content with how open and truthful I was being when I wrote it. Just know that, if you’re reading this, I hit submit once I felt that I had said what I needed to say and believing it to be my most truthful voice in the moment.
(turns out that it sat in my drafts for nearly 4 months as I came back to it several times for revision and second guessing.)
I started this journey believing that it would be easy. I’d gone to church, was raised by believers who shared it with me, and I felt that I already had a baseline to start from. I wasn’t an avid bible reader, I knew the main points and a few favorite verses, so I needed to make time to dive into it more often. I rarely prayed, reserving it only for emergencies, and knew that I needed to converse with God more often. I was a bad daughter who rarely called or wrote home….I wanted to fix that.
I remember the first time I’d gone to church after I officially started this journey. I was excited and grateful to be there. I felt every word of every hymn that we sang, choking back tears for several of them, and I was overcome with this feeling of belonging. I felt His presence among the congregation and I felt connected in a way that I hadn’t in a long time.
For awhile, I was doing good on this journey. I was conversing with God more often (good times and bad). I was going to church as often as I could, though not nearly as often as I would have liked, and I was taking part in online bible studies. I was conversing with like-minded women who were taking part in their own spiritual journeys and I was writing this blog to share my journey with others.
I still had plenty of room to grow in my faith and I felt like I was getting there.
And then life happened. I took on a new job that requires me to work on Sundays so I stopped going to church entirely. I stopped writing in the blog because most of the topics were coming from church and from the online bible studies that I also stopped participating in due to a lack of time. The only bible reading I had been doing was through church and those online studies so I stopped opening up the Good Book to study. Most of the like-minded women that I had been conversing with were also participating in those studies so I’m not speaking to them as often either. And it seems that all of those things were reminding me to pray because I slowly stopped doing that too.
And that brings me closer to present…
A few months ago, I had requested the day off from work because I wanted to go to church. That Sunday’s service was particularly special, one that was to be filled with an extra helping of happiness, connection, celebration, and promise. I looked forward to attending, celebrating, and worshiping. I thought that I’d walk in and feel all of the things that the service was suppose to be about.
Instead, I was in a room full of people, including some of my closest friends, and I felt alone. They were all there to celebrate and I felt disconnected, lost. I felt broken. The sense of belonging that I had once felt was gone. I felt further from Him, and from the congregation, than I ever had before. And, I felt ashamed for allowing myself to stray so far that I could feel that way at all.
Looks like I have a ways to go and running across this verse today seems timely.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
update to follow