It's Sunday and fittingly enough, I am thankful for my church community. These people are pretty awesome and yes, flawed. Which makes them even more awesome. We're all living life... babies, singles, marrieds, youngs, middles, and olders... which I love!
I grew up in the "church"... which is a scale Christians use when describing the longevity of their faith in the the Protestant Church. There are people who've converted in their college years or even in their adult years... but then there is a certain demographic (like myself) who can describe their faith, upbringing and basic foundation of growth as "growing up in the church". Basically, it's been forever.
This is a beautiful thing, growing up with a faith-based community all around. But, it also comes with huge amounts of baggage. Ask anyone who grew up a Christian (any faith, for that matter), and they will tell you what they've "wrestled" with and had to overcome as an adult. Finding ones own faith, outside of your family unit, is often a tumultuous and difficult time to be had.
I struggled with the people who call themselves Christians... and if I'm being fully honest, I still struggle with those people. My upbringing was fairly legalistic, conditional and conservative. Not intentionally... my folks taught my sister and I that appearances were more important than the heart... and accidentally our hearts were lost in the shuffle.
Thanks be to God, but we found our way! Through my twenties I went through a "dry spell" and had no connections or church "family". I lacked a tight unit of Christian friends who could encourage my faith and understand my heart... and this left me feeling cracked and worn. But like every chapter in life, a dry spell allows us to identify what's really important and necessary to survive. In this dry spell, I found my own faith in Christ.
Adversity broke down barriers in my family, and we've overcome the angst that kept us emotionally distant. Honesty and tough conversations allowed us to be honest about who we are in the heart... good and ugly, we see it all. And it's refreshing. As a family we're candid...funky and weird... and open for affection with one another.
Through this healing, I have found repair in my own attitude and spirit toward church. Here in Salt Lake, we have a good group of peeps who really care for one another! This is what the Lord has called us to do and it's easy to share my heart with my friends here! There is little judgement and finger pointing, but tons of generosity. It's refreshing to share belief of Christ's gift of salvation with people are incredibly blessed with light hearts and joy. It's also quite refreshing to share the tough days, rough emotions and real struggles with these people. This community brings abundant freedom and love into my life, which is what Christ intended in his church... and for that I'm beyond thankful.
14 And over all these virtues put on
love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace
of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were
called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you
richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as
you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts