I have a confession to make; about a month ago, ended a year long sabbatical from the House of God, when I visited my friend and upstairs neighbor’s church on the 21st September. It’s not far, far away but I’d have to catch a bus to get there. The Church was filled with people; spacious and gorgeous. It has lots of members; ministries (e.g youth, children, etc), a band, a nursery; a Sunday school; a family room where mothers can go breast-feed their babies and still watch the service; a gift shop and so much more wonderful elements. That service was awesome; the pastor who preached was fun, fiery, young and I enjoyed his word immensely; however; that was my first and last time visiting; don’t ask me why; I don’t know. I think it’s partly because we didn’t want to catch the bus.
Then a day in October; my husband and I took a walk to a Church not far from where we lived. He had been there before, years ago but I haven’t. When we got there; the Church door was closed and it seemed so quiet; we didn’t think anyone was there. However; my husband opened the door and peeked inside; then he asked me to follow him.
As I entered this Church for the first time; I noticed they were less than twenty people in the seats and after listening to the Pastor speak I realized this was a struggling Church; that needed to grow and prosper. The Pastor was not a very fiery speaker; that is not her style but she spoke from the heart; with the patience and hope that God with his divine hand would step in and help this Church to grow. As I sat there that first time; I wondered if God had brought us there; two talented young people and one sweet, smart, fun and lively little two year old; to stir things up. I tried to think of ways in which I could use my Godly talents to bless this Church; I desperately wanted to help them and felt this was were God was calling me to be.
However; we did not attend the following service and I believe we were probably going to sink back into our regular Sunday routine and return to Church one Sunday when the mood hits once more; plus we thought; our daughter simply does not stay still and boy, are we going to have a hard time trying to keep her happy and absorb the message at the same time.
When we visited that day; I was given a form to fill out and I deliberately did not put our number on the form but I did put our address; never thinking for a million years that the Pastor would come visit us; but she did. I was in total shock.
We invited her in and got into deep conversation; it initially started between the Pastor and my husband; as I simply sat back and observed; she spoke about the state of the Church at present and what she hoped for the future; we also spoke about my family; questions like: How long we lived here? Where we’re from? What are talents are? What do we do for a living? You know; the usual getting-to-know-you fa-la-la; and from my standpoint I spoke about being “shy;” my code-word for “fear.”
She practically pleaded with her eyes; tone-of-voice and body language that we become a part of this Church and help them grow. I felt a confirmation in my heart; that this is where we needed to be and I saw through my husband’s eyes, tone-of-voice and body language that my he felt it too.
So we went to that Church the following Sunday and took our little girl; this was kind of a struggle for me; at one point I felt myself getting really frustrated with her; then angry at myself for losing patience. I couldn’t like go of my anger and frustration for a short while after we arrived home. Then we made a decision; that we would take her every other Sunday.
That following Sunday was the first Sunday after President-elect Barrack Obama had won the Election. The Pastor’s brother spoke and spoke very well. It was a nice message. Some of the older members of the Church were reflecting on how things use to be back in the time of the Civil Rights movement and how far we have come. I heard some interesting stories I couldn’t begin to understand. That day; Church was peaceful and pleasant for me and I still felt the excitement which came from that very exciting and historical Election Night.
I still thought about how can I use my gifts and be a blessing to this Church; my husband is a musician; so I know how he can help but what can I do?
The Sunday after that; it was the family trio again; we woke our daughter early in the morning and let her burn some of her energy before we head off to Church. I took some toys for her to play with. She still ran around and was a little naughty but not as bad as the first time. The cutest thing also happened; my husband was asked to play the piano this time around because the Organist was not at Church that day. While he played, at one point our little one sat next to her father and played a few keys as well; but funny enough it did not spoil the music. It was such a wonderful picturesque moment. Unfortunately; I didn’t get a photo for two reasons; I didn’t have my camera and I wouldn’t want to be snapping photos in Church anyway. That Sunday; the Pastor also asked me to work with a member of the Church to plan a Children’s Christmas Party on December 6th.
This brings me now to a very deep and personal subject; for a long time I have been dealing with issues of anxiety which have affected my day to day living and is getting in the way of my happiness. So even though I know God wants me here; I am so scared because of the anxiety I experienced in the simplest of task; especially when I am not in the safety of my own home. Now with this request (planning a party) comes responsibility. I have to put myself out there; this is something I have been running away from for a long time; especially in the last year; being in a new country; leaving friends and family; I don’t have many friends or interaction with folks not in my circle here.
Now being a part of this Church has stripped away the wall I use to hide behind and I am bare naked with no choice but to face my fears head on.
I have some pretty awesome ideas for the party and I have offered to read a thankful poem in honor of Thanksgiving, at next week’s service. This reminds me of a quote from a movie I loved but the critics hated, of course; Evan Almighty; God says: “Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other?”
I have constantly prayed that God would heal me; fix what’s broken inside; make me new and whole again; take my fears away but I know God is not going to work that way. The only way to fix this; to heal; to not be afraid is to face head on what I am afraid of and this piece of knowledge scares me. Now I am more terrified than ever; but I have faith that God knows exactly what he is doing; this Church and my family are sharing this path for a reason; God is answering more than one prayer here and all I need to do is walk forward; don’t look back; don’t hold on; just let it all go and keep moving forward.
Why am I here? What I need to do? Who am I? When will I receive my breakthrough? How can I help? These and more answers will be revealed to me in God’s perfect timing.