Our God is so faithful to provide for all of our needs. Last Sunday we planned to visit 2 different churches...but ended up not even making it into the service at the first church because I started to cry. It had been a hard week (2 weeks ago) and I was sad, lonely, and feeling like we didn't belong anywhere. This particular church didn't have its own parking lot so we parked several streets down and began walking, coincidentally alongside another member of the congregation. Maybe this middle-aged woman was shy, or maybe she was having a bad day herself, but she made no effort whatsoever to engage with us in conversation or even ask our names. It was an awkward, silent walk to the church a few blocks down. I was in a weak, self-pitying state and just before we entered the church doors a thought came into my mind that caused me to utterly break down.
"We don't belong here."
I couldn't control my tears and we had to walk away. I cried because of all the things I was deeply missing--mostly, at that moment, our sense of belonging. We had a place in Nyack among our friends, in our work, and especially in our church, and I was grieving the loss of that. I felt sorry for myself for the hours I had spent alone that week and the many uncomfortable situations I'd been in, fully aware of the fact that I just didn't quite fit in.
But I know that our God is good! In him I have the power over those debilitating thoughts (lies) telling me I have no place. As a child of God I belong to his family, and in him I find comfort just like a little girl finding comfort in the arms of her mom or dad. I can trust that his plan for my life is good and that no matter where I find myself (even on the opposite side of the country from my family and friends!) God is with me and will not leave me alone. After that very difficult morning, we went on to the second church and were received by some of the most warm and welcoming people. I believe that God was teaching me to find my place, my fulfilment and my sense of belonging in him.
What a different experience I had this past week. Holy week and the celebration of Easter are all about what Jesus did for us so that there would be NO MORE SEPARATION between us and the Father. This intimate relationship I have with God--one in which I find all of my hope and peace and belonging--exists only because Jesus died on the cross. I am so thankful for that sacrifice!!
So we had a wonderful Easter day. Like all wonderful days, it began with pancakes and bacon. We went back to the warm and welcoming church, came home to make salsa and watch basketball, and then spent the rest of our day feeling like adopted family members at the Easter gathering of some of our good friends' relatives who happen to live in San Diego. Luke and I are blessed and thankful. Thank you so much for your prayers for us!