This may come across wrong. This may hurt feelings. But this is my heart. This is 3 years in the making.
“A church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.”
- Pauline Phillips
I am far from perfect, I am far from a saint. I heard this quote… A church is a hospital… But wow, I treated it like my palace growing up. All I’ve known my whole life is church. Actually, when I was a kid if you asked me what church was all about, I’d just point to the facts of it’s my life, it’s my religion, which in some cases isn’t wrong… It isn’t a bad thing… But where I was misled and where I didn’t see straight was the fact that through my eyes the church was PERFECT.
Newsflash! Spoiler alert! It isn’t.
In fact, it wasn’t until a little over 3 years ago, which is when my life changed, that I realized this.
You see, growing up as a minister’s kid I figured each and every leader in the church had it right. They knew all and had no wrongs. The words that came out of their mouth were ALWAYS the right answer. But the thing is… That’s not true.
In 2013, I started to finally realize this.
I had been at this church from the age of 3. It was my whole life and seemed like a peachy, all is great place. I always pictured when I was going through middle school what it would be like when I have my own family and the foundation we would leave there and what it would leave on us. It was exciting to think about! But 12th grade came… Reality hit: Leaders aren’t perfect. The church isn’t perfect.
My family was hurt badly by this church and some of the leaders in it. We left a place where we were backstabbed by people I considered to be like family, but sadly it wasn’t the case.
Because I only saw the church and its leaders growing up as perfect, I didn’t know how to react. My emotions were different day by day for months. It went from wanting to just bawl, to literally wanting to hide away in my sister’s basement and not talk to anyone… Which is what I did a lot for 6 months.
What I’m about to say is something I have not told many people at all, but this all threw me into a deep, dark spot. I was depressed. I lost hope in God and in people. I didn’t feel like I could trust anyone. Yes, I had my family and a few friends there as support and didn’t leave me or my family’s side, but I still shamelessly pushed everyone away for those 6 months.
I remember yelling outside to the sky at God many times saying, “Why would you ruin what was perfect? Why is this happening to ME?”
See? My head wasn’t on straight. I used the words “perfect” and “me” over and over again. I wanted God to feel bad for “me”.
I remember declaring to God that I was done with church, which in fact I didn’t go to any church in the area for that entire time. I told Him the last thing I would ever do is be a part of a church, meaning through attending or working at one.
Here’s the thing: I let people who I thought were perfect and who ended up hurting me and my family get to me. I didn’t put my trust in God when I should had from the very beginning.
It wasn’t until December of 2013 when I started to finally realize God was making beauty out of ashes. He had a plan.
I had a friend who attended (and still does) this church out in the middle and I mean middle of nowhere, invite me to a Wednesday night. Of course, I was hesitant, because I had just become friends with this person and it involved the one word… Church.
I remember saying a prayer to God the evening before and Him literally pushing me to go. So I went. It was different…it wasn’t perfect, but it was like family there. I remember telling my parents that we should start going to this place. It was the first time I was truly excited in almost a year!
So we went to church the following Sunday and my excitement for people and for Jesus grew even more. The service wasn’t awesome like a concert, but it was FAMILY. I could tell right away that each leader in this church was not perfect, but they let you know their struggles and wanted to grow as well… That’s almost unheard of nowadays.
You see, this church, Racine Christian Church, is what God used to bring me back out of depression. It gave me a love for people again, which is funny, because the church is all about Loving God and Loving People. That’s their mission!
If it wasn’t for being backstabbed, I wouldn’t be with this family.
If it wasn’t for yelling at God and going through those tough 6 months, I wouldn’t be with this family.
If it wasn’t for a new friend reaching out to me, I wouldn’t be with this family.
The thing is, God uses the church. Man, it is so messed up, but that’s because a church is a hospital for sinners, which I am one of them.
I encourage whoever is reading this, if you’re in a depressed state right now… If you’re unsure of the trials you’re going through… If you’re having a hard time trusting the church, please know this: The church is the bride of Christ. You need the church. I need the church. We ALL need the church. Pray to God and have Him lead you to His bride.
Like I said at the beginning, this may hurt feelings, but that’s the beauty of being able to speak your mind and speak what’s on the heart. I know some who read this might not like it, but it’s what I feel and I’m thankful that I got to share my heart.
When you say never to God, He’ll probably throw you right into it, because not only do I attend this amazing church at Racine, but I get the privilege to do Kingdom Work at it to help reach the 37,000 unchurched in the Newton area.
See? God truly makes beauty from ashes. Just be patient and listen to Him.
“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”
- Colossians 1:16-20