I never truly felt safe in church. For three years, I bounced back and forth between churches but never found a place where I felt I could be myself. But then I began attending St. Peter’s in November 2013 and slowly found a community where I felt I belonged. At first I followed my usual pattern of sitting in the back and sneaking out after the service. But this old pattern broke when people started inviting me to lunch and took the time to get to know me and remembered my name.
In January of 2014, I joined a Community Group and started volunteering for the Children’s Ministry. These two things rooted me in the community and helped me form meaningful relationships. For the first time I felt like I could be myself and share all the parts of my life openly. I found I no longer hid the messy parts of my life behind a smile and that people would love me and care for me in both a good and bad seasons of my life.
Joining St. Peter’s has brought me closer to God and makes me feel I can trust in the fact that Jesus loves me. Jesus loves all of me. Even the messy bits I feel need to be hidden behind a smile. I am grateful to belong to a community where I feel safe and where I can help others feel safe too. I recently started coordinating the Children’s Ministry, a job I had dreamed and prayed about for many years. I love teaching children about God’s love in creative fun ways. As I live out of my passion within a community that knows me, my smile is becoming more and more sincere.