Back to Church… After 1.5 Years — Part 3

My heartfelt thanks to Julie for being so open and unafraid in her posts here the last couple of days. If you read on, you will find out why I said that after reading your account you would wonder whether YOU had been to church any time in your life. Okay, before you get too excited, Julie’s church is somewhere overseas, so unless you want to fly there, you will have to find a vibrant church closer to home!

“My experience in returning to church…. I have had three best days in my life. Two were the births of my daughters. One was my first date with my partner. These days had not been surpassed — until yesterday. It was the most amazing experience of my life. 

I so expected to be walking through flames, to be attacked, to emerge afterwards charred and worn-out. Instead, I found myself fully-alive, fully-connected, fearless, and fully-loving to all. I attended those who needed most attending to. It was like an amazing roller coaster ride. Thrilling. Exciting. Laughter-producing. Sweet. Tearful. Ecstatic. Gentle. 

There was a sharing that came from me that I had never experienced with this degree of richness and authenticity. There was a Spirit of love and rip-roaring courage that I had never experienced from a leader or from any other pastor in my life. I felt like I was home. It wasn’t expected. It wasn’t needed. It was just there. Fully. Majestically.

It was familiar and well-worn territory, but all new. It was not awkward, which was so weird. It was exciting because I was excited and we had a true follower of God in our midst. It was nurturing because I was nurturing. I threw out attention and love and hugs like they were water, expecting nothing, receiving all. It was freeing and freedom filled because I was no longer afraid of others. My fear had been replaced with knowing and loving. I wasn’t at like my experience of going back to my hometown. Sure, there was familiarity, but the Holy Spirit was so present it just made you want to reach out and touch Him.

I mentioned to you before  that I was curious to see who I had become and who I could be. Sounds like God was listening in.  If I am never more than I was yesterday, I think that might not be so bad. Attacks will come. They always do. We all need to be encouraged and prayed for and lifted up and protected. All I can say is that I am SO ready. This has been a long-time coming and I say, ‘Bring it on.’

For me to be back in church is not an accomplishment that I made happen. It’s a blessing that God orchestrated. I keep remembering the verse about how only good things come from above. I think about my partner and I think about church and the pastor and I think, ‘These are gifts, not because I earned them or deserved them, but because God decided.’ Truly.  It’s as though God has been walking ahead and tossing seeds on the ground and I’ve been a pigeon walking behind, snapping them up one by one and being nourished as we headed towards the destination.”  

Ivanildo C. Trindade