Sunday, April 26, 2009

On going to church alone

BACKGROUND: As avid as a blogger as I am, I also have blogs that I read and have read for years now and in some weird cyber-way, feel as if these people are my friends even though I've never met them before in my life. But for so many of us writing is our therapy, our outlet, the very inside-ness of our beings and after following someone's blog for a year or more, you start to develop friendships, a knowingness about each other.

Meet Angie, a mom of four in Nashville, Tennessee who started her blog after receiving news that her baby girl Audrey would not and could not survive outside her womb. Angie's blog has inspired me on so many different levels and I encourage you to hop on over and plan on spending at least a few hours just reading and soaking in her words.

Anyway, on one of her "insignificant" blog posts, she "insignificantly" mentioned the name of her church and the name of a church that one of their dear friends pastors. While I spent my eight months in New Mexico, I thought about how awesome it would be to hopefully meet Angie one day face-to-face and also attend the church her friend pastors.

After my 1,200 mile trek last week, that opporunity presented itself today. TODAY.

STORY: Where I'm living right now is about 90 miles from Nashville, takes about 1.5 hours, which, yes, is a ridiculous amount of time to get somewhere. But let me remind you where I came from - New Mexico. And let me just say that in order to get ANYWHERE in the Land of Enchantment, it takes FOREVER. Suffice it to say, I'm used to packing my cooler, fueling up, hitting the road and not stopping till I arrive at my chosen destination.

That's exactly what I did today. You guys, I was PUMPED. I was thirsty to be in the presence of God.

SIDENOTE: I've been doing this thing lately where I've gone to do something and then suddenly realized, "Oh, wait. What am I going to say? How is THAT going to work?" For example: yesterday was my brother's prom and I was stoked. Like, super stoked. He's the first Wise kid to EVER experience this and I was so super happy and proud of him and for him. (sidenote to the sidenote would be: he looked so hot in his tux!) Anyway, I was also concerned about kids drinking alchohol and driving on the mountain intoxicated. I didn't want him to be involved in an accident due to someone else's lack of ambition in life. So I decided to call the local police department to make sure they were going to have adequate patrol for the night. I dialed the number and before dispatch picked up, I hung up because suddenly I realized, "What the hell are you going to SAY?!"

I rehearsed it in my head and called back and delivered my speech, after which I was assured the deputies were going to be patrolling the mountain and all should be well (and it was.)

BACK TO THE STORY: I found the church, parked and sat there. Then suddenly: what the hell are you doing? My church-bubble was deflated and I got the alone-jitters that I usually get when participating in activities usually experienced with another person (i.e. going to the movies, moving, etc.) So I put on my lip-gloss, dialed Mom and joined the flow of people through what I assumed were the doors to the auditorium. I told Mom where I was, what I was doing, all that good stuff and then hung up to go into the church and find my seat.

I sat down and immediately typed this into my Facebook profile: Holly thinks going to church alone is like going to the movies alone...everyone's looking at you wondering why you're alone.

In my (momentary) defense, people really were looking at me.

Shortly after that, the worship started and halfway into the first song, I was convicted about what I had written. Because, really, in that moment, I was NOT alone. I was joining about 600 people in one voice, in one song in worship to our Creator and I was the furthest thing from alone.

THE SERMON: Angie is in Calcutta right now with Compassion and with her is the pastor of Crosspoint Church, where I visited this morning. But the pastor who filled in preached a sermon that was, true to God-form, exactly what I wanted and needed to hear.

It was about Hope. And how hope belongs to us and how it makes you take gigantic steps.

I think the part that blessed me the most was the "free" part when he quoted Hebrews 12:2 - "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith...."

"Sometimes we want to take the pen and write our book," he said. "We don't like that chapter, we don't like that page of our life....but the perfection comes when we submit to his authorship."

ME: This is exactly what I've been going through and what I've been trying to convey in a poor way as I myself am coming to terms with this fact: God is the Author of my life. He is writing my story and it's one that, right now, I'm not sure what He's doing or where the plot's going. I, in my need to know everything and control most of what I can, have been struggling, wrestling, tug-of-warring with Him.

"You can have THAT part but I want this."

"No, I want everything."

"I'll trade you this for that."

And he whispers, "Do you trust me?"

But I know what I'm doing. I don't know what You're doing. The plan...stick to the plan.

He wants everything.


Kristin said...

Thanks for sharing that story. You're words are encouraging.

The Logarithmic Spiral said...

I'm calling you right now because a comment isn't enough.

Life as I know it said...

And I am SOOOOO glad you did!!! Seriously, best way to start my day. :)