I have always excelled at Church.
It was the one arena, outside of home, where life was good, friends were abundant, and the world seemed vast, full of potential and beautiful. I’ve known, from a young age, that one of my purposes and callings was to minister to and shepherd those who found refuge within the Church’s walls and communities. In my teens I very quickly became a leader. I lead junior high groups, taught Sunday school, and served on worship teams and planning committees. I enjoyed supporting my peers, praying with and for people, and serving in times of both need and abundance. I felt truly alive, as though I was living in the calling God had placed before me. Life was good and God was incredibly faithful. I saw His hand in every story I encountered.
In my early twenties I was offered a job at the Church my family had been attending. I was excited. I felt as though this was logically the next step for me and that it would lead me down a career path ordained by God and ultimately allow me to live life with a front row seat to how God was healing, growing, and restoring the lives of my peers in my town.
It wasn’t long before jealousy, insecurity, poor conflict management, and unmet expectations began to eat away at this perfect and joy filled opportunity. My days were filled with anxiety and I would cry all the way home. Church no longer felt like a safe place. I felt like there was no one I could trust and no one I wanted to trust. At the end of the year I was isolated, disillusioned and completely broken. I had shared my gifts, my passion, and my talent and had been met with bullying and abrasiveness. I fell out of love with the Church and my relationship with God held on by a thread. Over the next few years God began to heal my heart, but I still struggled with the idea of being seen and being vulnerable at Church.
Attending St. Peter’s has helped the healing process. The stories of renewal and healing in this community have helped Church become safe again, and I’m beginning to feel a call back into ministry. God is healing a great deal of my mistrust in leadership and is pushing me to become a part of this community. I’m beginning to fall in love with the Church again, and I find myself looking forward to Sunday mornings and connecting with those in my small group. God is stretching me and challenging me in terrifying and exciting ways. I’m beginning to feel at home and more comfortable in being seen and sharing my gifts and passions.
The Church is the bride of Christ and He loves her in incredible ways–he loves her even in her brokenness and stubbornness. He loves her when she is tired and barely hanging on. I’m grateful for that love, for that grace, and that faithfulness.