This is my fourth blog post for the Write 31 Days challenge, which I signed up to four days late. It is also an example of the Body of Christ showing up, something the Mundane Faithfulness blog has encouraged others to share in honor of Kara Tippetts and those who showed up alongside her.
1 John 4: 17 (The Message)
God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s.
As my mind and heart opened to the gift of God’s grace, courage grew within me and helped me step foot in a church once again. Being nervous about attending alone, not knowing anyone, I asked my best friend back home to pray for me, a friend who had been praying faithfully and tearfully for me for many years and I also prayed myself, asking God to show me His love.
From the moment I stepped into this church, the love of God met me at every turn. The warm welcome as I walked in the door was followed by beautiful songs of worship and a sermon that spoke deeply into my heart. The topic of the sermon was on finding our home in the Lord. I found it difficult to stop the tears from flowing down my cheeks, as the words of Scripture opened my heart to be filled. As I later sat telling my best friend about this beautiful homecoming, she was emotionally overcome, telling me that her prayer had been that I would experience a feeling of home from the moment I walked into the church.
God was starting to meet the deep yearning He had placed within me, as my mother lay dying. In the months to come, this church would bring many blessings, as God’s presence poured out upon me at services, through the church members, growing friendships and Bible studies. As I read this Scripture in Chronicles yesterday, a Scripture in which David describes what the Temple his son will later build will become, it reminded me of that first year at church and what my new church is to me now:
1 Chronicles 29: 5 (The Message)
this is not just a place for people to meet each other, but a house for God to meet us
Around the same time, I sat down to read Micha Boyett’s Found and her story resonated deeply with me and helped me feel less alone on my journey Home. Like me, Micha’s image of God had grown into one rooted in fear, rather than love. Before becoming rooted in His Love, she had lived as if God was (Found, p.109):
this cruel bully waiting for the perfect chance to show me how much I’ve messed up this world
As I continued reading her story, my own heart was heavy, having only just said goodbye to my family on the other side of the world, after losing my mother. But then I read the words Micha had felt God whisper into her heart (Found, p.188):
You belong where you are, God whispers. I am following you. I am ahead of you. I am a circle, and you are surrounded.
And it felt as if God was whispering those same precious words deep into my own heart. As grief and homesickness overcame me, this promise of His deep abiding Presence quieted my heart. And as I started attending my new church every Sunday, I felt His strong pillars of Security and Stability held me up, much like the pillars Jakin (meaning security) and Boaz (meaning stability) Solomon had built, held up the Temple of God, as described in 2 Chronicles 3: 17.
The months to come would be a time of building up and strengthening in His Love, a Foundation that would later hold me up in a pit of darkness and despair, as memories of my mother’s last days would return to cripple me.
2 Chronicles 7: 3 (The Message)
Yes! God is good! His love never quits!