Some of you may feel I’ve come down pretty hard on the church in my last few posts about divorce (Divorce: Set Free or Caged, Divorce: A Difficult Step for Christians). I’m not trying to point fingers or create doubt about Christianity. I am telling my story as it occurred. Sometimes, it’s not pretty.
There are many reasons why I never truly left the church, and many of those reasons are due to the Christians who showed me the love of Christ even when my life lay in shambles from divorce. Thank goodness, there are Christians who choose to represent the loving arms of Christ when someone struggles through a horrible experience challenging their faith and salvation.
The first person who learned of my pending separation was a member of the church my husband and I attended. I knew him from the Married Couples Sunday School class we attended. He sold me my first car and expressed sorrow over the circumstances, but he never said anything negative to me. I went to him because I trusted him, but I do recall worrying how he might react to the reason I showed up with my parents prepared to buy a car.
Another member of the same church told me a few months later that it made her heart glad to see me in church. My ex-husband had quit attending, and she asked me if it would bother me if he came to church. I told her I hoped he would for his and our daughters’ sake. This woman was one of the few divorced members of the church, and I believe she realized how easily I could fall away at this time.
Over the years, church members extended their love and support to me. When I moved to live closer to my parents and go back to school, the church embraced my shattered family. My parents’ church would have done the same, but I never found in-depth teaching in their church. I wanted the deeper spiritual connection I found after switching churches a few years earlier, so I stayed with the same non-denominational faith I accepted during my marriage.
While I finished my undergraduate degree, this small church accepted me. No one ever suggested my divorce made me less of a person. They even valued my opinion on topics. At times, the members stepped in and did special things for us. At Christmas, they gave me money to help with buying presents for my girls. One of the men took my daughters fishing–something my girls talk about still. I felt part of the family of God and happy to be there.
Ultimately, the positive embrace of the members of this small church helped me stay grounded. It would take a little longer for me to come into my faith, but I believe God knew where to send me and when.
Have you ever seen God’s hand in your life or in the way others help and encourage people? Please share it here.
NOTE: This post is part of a series on my journey to faith. If you would like to read all of the posts related to this topic, please select The Journey in the list of tags in the right hand border of this blog. Please share this with others who might benefit from hearing my story.