Sometimes God needs US to move!

For as long as I can remember I have been a “church-goer.” In my earlier years every Sunday morning my parents would get me up, put on my Sunday dress of choice, tights, and mary jane shoes and off we would go. I was involved in Sunday School, Cherub Choir, and the Christmas play while my mom was involved in almost every committee the church had to offer. My dad was a Trustee. We were very involved — even from my earliest memories I remember being very involved at church.
When I got a little older (Jr. High/High School age) I went to church because I was very involved in our youth group. They were my social scene outside of school – my best friends in fact! I sang in the youth praise band, went on almost every mission trip, served at the local soup kitchen, and went to every form of high school youth group game night imaginable! Still highly involved…….
Between my junior/senior year of high school my mom passed away and it was harder to be involved in youth group. Everyone else’s parents were so involved. They all seemed happy and normal. I felt like the odd duck out even though it was only that way because of my perception. My home church friends and youth group reminded me of life before when I had a mother that was alive. Life for me had changed dramatically and theirs stayed the same. So I began to make friends with other kids in my high school outside of my youth group. We went to Christian concerts together, etc. I had friends now that weren’t highly involved in church (until now) and I was able to witness to them in a new and different way. God had moved me from my comfort zone and used it to stretch me in my being able to have new friends and being able to share His word.
When I moved to college I was very rebellious my first semester. I was finally free of the Sunday morning alarm clock—- I could sleep in and make my own choices. I was involved in Christian Campus House which was a student ministry group. I got involved in a small group there as well as plugged into several ministry opportunities. However going on a Wednesday night was different than going on Sunday morning. I usually chose to skip church on Sunday mornings…… I wanted to make my own rules and sleeping in was amazing! Things didn’t change much when I returned home from college. I typically didn’t go to church with my Dad and new stepmom because I was able to not go. I wasn’t comfortable at my home church…. It wasn’t meeting me where I was at spiritually. To me it didn’t get to the deep places I wanted to go with Jesus… it stayed at the surface. I didn’t feel like I was “plugged in” anymore. A friend of mine urged me to try out this new church in downtown Peoria. I really didn’t know any other church outside of my own at home or at Christian Campus House. This was a move I wasn’t sure I could make. One morning I decided it was time to try it. Through this move I made several new friends, got deeper in my relationship with Jesus, and began to realize who I was supposed to be in Christ. But I wasn’t plugged in other than attending Sunday morning services and the twenty somethings group on Sunday nights. This frustrated me so I ended up returning to my home church because it was comfortable…. I had been plugged in before so why not plug in again?! I tried to plug in through the worship team and that was a way I felt involved and part of the church family again! I was also asked to use my love of theater to direct a few of the dramas presented at various times throughout the year. Things were going great! Then life changed again….. I met my husband (at my home church shortly after I had come back) and after a year and a half of dating we got married and moved an hour and a half away. Once we settled into our new home and jobs we decided we should try to go “Church Shopping.” I hated the whole experience. I expected to feel “at home” or “connected” right away at a church. After trying out several different churches and not feeling connected with any of them I just quit. Even after we adopted Jack and had Lucy I really wanted to plug into church and tried to go back to a few churches but never attached to any of them. I relied strictly on Bible Study with a group of friends. In Oct. 2014 we moved back home into our current (forever) home and made a decision that we had to make a church work. Both Chad and I had wanted to make sure church was an important part of our children’s lives. I was feeling like a failure as a mom because my kids didn’t have a church home. They didn’t have a church family to help them grow. So I decided we had to plug in this time…..so we went back to my home church! For the first few months I didn’t get involved and started to make excuses on Sunday mornings. We still weren’t going to church. Chad would take the kids and go but for some reason I came up with every excuse in the book. It wasn’t like me at all! FINALLY I decided it was up to me to get plugged in. God was providing many opportunities but I had to make the move to plug into them. So Chad and I joined a small group. The group consisted of 5 other couples who all had small children like us and not very many adult friends. God had answered our prayers for friends!!!! Now they are our best friends and we love doing life with them!
All of a sudden I felt like this church felt like home and we had a place to grow! Shortly after I joined the worship team and started singing again. This pushed me to get to church on Sunday mornings. No more excuses!!! Then this past year I have been involved in the VBS leadership team, Awana children’s ministry, Building Better Moms leadership team, and continued with small group. WE are finally plugged in! But God needed me to make that move even when it was scary and unknown. Not everyone needs to plug into church to make themselves go. And I wasn’t trying to avoid church to avoid God. Acceptance and a sense of belonging is a huge thing for me and I wasn’t just feeling it by being an attendee. For me I had to be involved. Throughout my times of not going to church I didn’t feel any less connected to God and was consistently pursuing a deeper relationship with Him. However I was using so many excuses to not go to church — and all of them were lies from the enemy. He didn’t want me to go. He didn’t want my kids to grow up in truth and love. He LOVED all of my excuses. Finally I decided it was up to me to MOVE and get involved! It’s harder to come up with excuses when you are involved and need to be there. Fellowship with your church family provides an amazing connection with God that is indescribable. We push each other to be the best us we can be, we love each other in good times and bad, we help each other in our pursuit of God. Can we grow closer to God on our own… YES! But God designed us to grow together and to be the CHURCH! (Check out Acts) Do we attend church 100% of the time… Sadly no. 85% YES! WE are getting there. I still hear those excuses in my head …. “But you need to sleep in,” “You are still a good Christian even if you don’t go to church.” ETC…. I need to silence the enemies lies and pursue God. God requires sacrifice which may mean sacrificing sleep, time to clean my house, etc. God wants us to choose HIM and requires us to MOVE out of our comfort zone and plug in! How is God calling you to MOVE? Does He want to stretch you and plug you into a new opportunity of ministry?

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