I keep going back in time because there’s so much to remember and to be grateful for. I was thinking back when I was searching for a church home in 2006. I had no clue what I was searching for, but I knew that I couldn’t keep on with the way I was living. I knew I needed help and I was hoping that church would be the place to find it. So I went out there looking. I was so lost and broken, shy and depressed, but I somehow just got out there and did it. It took a while. There was one place I finally thought could be the church for me. I met the senior pastor at the end of that first service I attended and everything seemed fine. I felt welcomed. He was very kind. But then something happened later on that changed my mind about that church. It’s unfortunate, and I can only hope it doesn’t happen a lot but something tells me that it does in some churches.
I had been in a scary car accident. A man without a license decided to make a left turn just as I was approaching the intersection. The light was green for me and he was supposed to yield. As you can guess, we collided and my vehicle was totaled. I’m very fortunate that nothing bad happened to me. I was quite shaken, but I walked away with just a bad seat belt and air bag burn. I definitely had angels watching over me then and didn’t even realize it. I had a small truck that was just right for me. It had been my first brand new vehicle and it was completely paid off. I took really good care of it. Even though it was almost eight years old, my insurance company gave me $11,000 for it. I thought that was pretty good for an older vehicle.
Even though my life didn’t really change until four years later, it’s still amazing how I can look back and see now that God had been working in me already at that time. I had learned about tithing and I had it on my heart to give 10% of that insurance money to that church I thought was for me. I was feeling quite grateful. I really didn’t know what was happening to me but I was just following my heart. I had written a check and then decided to write a letter to the pastor explaining the check, but mostly pouring my heart out to him. I think it was a cry for help. I wasn’t looking for any kind of “thank you” for the money—that was truly from my heart and it was for God, not that pastor. I was just hoping for some kind of response to my letter. I really needed help and that was the only way I knew how to ask for it. It was the safest way for me at the time. That was in December 2006. To this day, I have never heard one word from that pastor. Nor did I hear from anyone else from that church. Perhaps the pastor never saw the letter, but I know that someone did. After all, the check had been cashed. That made a bigger hole in my heart at that time, and I stopped going to that church. I was lost and now it was worse being ignored by a place I thought I was supposed to feel safe and loved in. I stopped looking for a little while but then I guess God must have been tugging at my heart strings so I continued my search. I really hope that church has improved on responding to people. What if I was about to end my life then? It’s not like my letter was suicidal, but it was clearly a cry for help. That saddens my heart that the letter was ignored. Makes me wonder how many people may have slipped through the cracks because they felt that nobody really cared, not even a church. I can only hope they didn’t give up because I know not all churches are like that.
Well, thankfully I didn’t give up and kept searching. I eventually found my church home and I am grateful. Back in 2009 when I had been uncomfortably giving a new church a trial run for a little while, there was a guest preacher who happened to be speaking one Sunday. The message he delivered was the one that God meant for me to hear. It pierced my heart. Suddenly my heart and mind started opening to God and that’s when my journey slowly started to take place and months later the miracles started happening. But initially, after that first message that broke through, I was so in awe of what I was feeling. I felt like I should write that minister to let him know. I couldn’t believe how prompt he was with a response. He was only a guest at the church! I was impressed. I was so touched since I had been ignored the other time. It motivated me to stay in church. I was finally starting to seek God. Soon I started feeling really comfortable and I had contacted one of the leaders there. She promptly responded to me too! I thought wow, I am not being ignored this time and there truly are people who do care. She is now my senior pastor and I am grateful for her. I am so blessed to have a female pastor because I can talk to her about anything. She’s never too busy when I reach out to her.
So thankful for that guest minister and his wife who have their own ministry and my pastor. They are the ones who have helped me the most on this incredible journey. If it weren’t for them, I don’t think I’d have this incredible connection with the Lord. I never would have been transformed by God. I’d still be lost. I don’t think I would have kept searching if I had been ignored again. Thankfully, I’ll never know. I had communicated with them electronically so much at first. I still do. And they respond promptly every single time. But they also make time for me in person and I am grateful for those times we spend together. I want to be just like them in ministry. The way they reach people for the Lord and the love they have for God and His people is amazing. I’m thankful I now have a heart for God like they do and I believe it has happened because of their example. I am beyond blessed by them and eternally grateful for what they have done and continue to do to help me grow in the Lord.
And because of them, I now have several brothers and sisters in Christ who all bless me and help keep me going no matter how difficult the journey gets. I don’t know why I’m sharing all of this. I guess I mainly have it on my heart to say that I hope everyone finds a church home that they will feel safe and loved in and will help them grow like I did. I hope everyone finds a pastor they can trust and open their heart to. Whoever you are, I pray that you search until you find the right place for you. It’s out there. I pray that you won’t give up, sometimes it takes a while. I am so glad I didn’t quit. There are lots of pastors out there who truly care and want to help and I am thankful to every one of them for what they do to bring people like me to the Lord. I’m thankful that they show us and teach us what following Christ is all about. Let’s not ever forget to thank our pastors and ministers, etc., for what they do for God and for us and show them some love right back.
God bless our pastors and ministers who do all they can to take care of the Lord’s sheep! ♥