If you had told me in 2019 that my family would be churchless for a long season of time, I would have raised my eyebrows in surprise. I could not have foreseen the events of the last three years. Personal crisis, covid and other issues resulted in us leaving our church home of almost eight years. It was a drawn-out, difficult choice that still saddens my heart when I think too long about it.

I’m an over thinker and questions swirl in repeated patterns: where are we meant to be? What does it look like to “forsake the assembly?” What is church meant to look like, and where do we belong? Will we belong again, or are we on the outside now? Will God show us where to go? Why is it taking so long?

Searching for a good church fit has been exhausting and discouraging. It has made us question what is essential and to study what the bible actually prescribes for worship. I have double guessed our efforts as being too critical. Visiting new churches has been a whole process of questioning and analysis. It has been taking much longer than I anticipated. Inside, I have had a lot of doubts because growing up, people who were unchurched, or who left Church, were problematic at best and doomed to damnation at worst. Dramatic as that sounds, it is a deeply ingrained idea.

I grew up never missing church on a Sunday; both services were prescribed. We never missed Wednesday night prayer unless kept home from illness. Being with my church family was the most influential part of my life, and also the most damaging. I grew up surrounded by community, and found safety in the familiar. I also grew up silenced, suppressed and spiritually abused. The church families that I loved so dearly also believed and enacted false doctrine that affected so many lives. Two realities held side by side. Both are true. Both uncomfortable in their own right.

Ambivalence is not something I enjoy- does anyone, really? Where is the straightforward path? Put me on it! Doubts and uncertainty are disconcerting. I desire clear answers; the security from believing I’m on the correct path. I’m also realizing that my discomfort with ambiguity is also a sign of immaturity; a childish way of thinking I’m being called to outgrow.

Two truths held in outstretched hands: I am deeply hurt and frustrated by the Church and also forever connected to it through Jesus. I both long to feel connected and also feel alienated from it. I am so angry at the sin I have experienced and survived in Church and also have to admit and confront the idea that I myself am part of the problem. It has been a struggle to see the beauty in all the failures; other’s failure and my own.

The truth is, that so far in my life,God has shown up in my failures. He speaks into my doubtful heart, often only in a whisper. He is the God who sees. He sees my family and he understands our hopes and desires. I find comfort that we are never really “outside” the Body…and so we keep plodding on. We watch church services with our kids, we supplement and explain and pray and try not to worry. We meet with our dear friends regularly and I’ve found much life within our original home group. Their gracious acceptance helps keep the loneliness at bay. It is a gift to have friends who see you at your worst and still do not walk away.

I want to embrace this journey of searching, but frankly, I’ve always been a destination kind of gal. I’m tired and worn down. Yet, I’m also hopeful because I can look back and see God’s faithfulness to me and my family. He will not leave us. At times life has been unbearably difficult and yet- I’m still here. We are still here. A testament to two things being true at the same time.



One day at a time

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