By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:35
If you’ve been reading my journey to faith posts, I hope something about my last two posts, Single Parenting: It Takes a Village and Sick Children and Single Parenting, struck you. If you missed it, then let me shed some light on the story for you:
I finally had a church family where I belonged.
The previous churches I belonged to loved me, but they had no place for me to fit in, to participate with the membership.
When I got my divorce, the church we attended was getting to know us as part of the young marrieds class. Suddenly, I didn’t belong in that class. There was a small group of singles, but I got the impression I would not be welcome there. No one ever said that to me, but no one ever invited me, either. People stepped back. They didn’t know what to say, so they said nothing. In fact, when I did finally meet a single man in the church, an elder warned him that he might not want to associate with me since I had been divorced twice. This made me very sad since, one, it wasn’t true, and two, I realized I was unclean in this elder’s eyes.
I found my acceptance and social life outside of the church.
Eventually, I moved back to my hometown, but I had changed churches and no longer attended my parents’ church. The church I attended was small, but most people in this small town knew my family, so I rode on family reputation. I probably needed that after the last church. This congregation loved us, they accepted us, but there was no one my age or even close to it. I had the only children in the congregation. I stayed because deep inside, I knew there was something in this church’s beliefs that I needed, but…
I found my social life outside of the church.
Then, I moved to Atlanta. I had operated more as a “Count me present, I’m here” Christian up to this point, but this church had a place for me. They didn’t point out my shortcomings, instead they accepted me as I was. They invited me to do things with them. They had activities I could participate in. There were singles my age and as well as several single parents in this church. It became my favorite place to be. Why? I had the love and fellowship I needed in the church. I didn’t have to find it elsewhere.
Is it any surprise that I finally began to look at my faith in a new light? Is it any surprise that I grew closer to God? Is it any surprise that I recommitted my life to Christ?
I challenge you to take a look around you. Maybe your church has accepted people who don’t fit the norm, but have you included them? Do they have a place to go on Friday and Saturday when it gets lonely? Do they have friends to meet for lunch or dinner or to just talk to? That’s where the real saving happens: fellowship with other Christians.
NOTE: I know I promised a post on single parents’ disease, but God revealed this truth to me in the
past week, and I wanted to share it. Next post will be single parents’ disease.