On Sundays I usually take notes at church using the notepaper they provide, and when I get home I copy the notes into a notebook I have with all of my sermon notes dating back to the first day I attended Calvary Chapel. I knew it’s been about two years since I started going, but imagine my surprise and giddiness when I flipped open to the first page and say the date: 9/26/12.
Two years exactly.
It’s only fitting that I spend the evening at church tonight, with my friends, giggling while the guest preacher adjusted his ghetto microphone. And while I was driving home I thought to myself, “Look at what the Lord has accomplished in two years.” Seriously. If you had told me two years and a few weeks ago that I’d be celebrating, however quietly, two years at church, I would have laughed at you rolled my eyes, and laughed some more. I was so damaged by the church I attended in high school. I honestly thought I’d never be back.
And yet God had other plans for me.
Here it is, two years to the day. I remember walking in the church on that first day. I was wearing a blue and white stripped dress, flip flops, and it was SO hot. During worship I sang the songs but stood with my arms crossed while other people around me worshiped freely. I sat in the front row while the pastor, who wore jeans and chucks, preached out of 1 John and talked about love.
It’s two years later and I’m actively involved in a community group, I attend church on Sundays, I’m taking a family class on Wednesdays, and I’m in School of Ministry and I work in the nursery two or three Sundays a week. I’m about to do a training so I can volunteer with the Ventura County Crisis Pregnancy Center (which is an entirely different can of worms, but that’s a post for a different day, one that I’m thinking about already). Two years ago, I was just coming off of my internship at UCSB where I sat at a desk with a giant ABORTION NOW poster in front of me.
I remember praying for months and for years “God, change me how you need to change me,” never believing it would be a prayer that was answered.
Well, it was, and I am changed. I cannot say it’s been easy. There are parts of the last two years, the last few months in particular, that have been harder than the previous ten years combined. Sometimes I have wanted to walk away and just leave all of the hurt and healing that I’m going through. But I know that’s not possible because even if that’s what my flesh wants, it’s not what I ultimately want. (Plus, there are people who’d pretty much hunt me down and drag me back to church, in the most loving way possible, so there goes that plan.)
God is so, so good and there are times, lots of them lately, where I just want to scream it from the rooftops. HE IS WHO HE SAYS HE IS! He will fight for us! He is a God of second chances and redemption and He makes beautiful things out of the dust.
Thank you so much, Lord, for my story so far. I cannot wait to see the rest of it and how it unfolds for Your glory.