I grew up in church. I was always surrounded by a larger group of family who loved me, prayed for me, taught me and encouraged me in my relationship with You. I recall many Sunday School teachers, pastors, and others who have had a big influence on my life. I got married in that same church and had children while there. My first husband’s funeral was there. Later, I married practically the only other single man in that church. We felt led to make a fresh new start in another church with our blended family where our kids grew up surrounded by a larger group of amazing Christians who had a big influence on them. Later, once again, You led us to yet another church where our by-then teenagers were greatly influenced by an amazing children’s pastor and youth pastor. Three of our sons married girls from that wonderful church. Three of our sons married girls from that church! Some of our kids started their Christian leadership roles at that beloved church.
Now, it’s just my husband and me and You have led us to yet another church where we can bless and be blessed. Today, we officially committed and joined my fourth “home church.” It is always so hard to leave one church family when they have had such a huge impact on our lives. Yet it is also exciting to see where You are leading us and how You have plans that perfectly blend us in this new home. It is great to still have a part in the churches of our past where we are forever bonded with the brothers and sisters-in-Christ. It is thrilling to know what You are doing through churches our adult children go to, beloved friends at new church plants, churches we love in other countries…even churches we visit while on vacation.
Your church is alive and healthy. Some are large mega churches; others are small country churches. Some meet in homes; others in shopping centers; some in huts or schools or lovely buildings. Church is not the building but the beautiful perfectly imperfect people You have called to be Your Bride. I’ve had the honor to be a part of the Church as they worshipped in Ecuador in another language, as they served Joplin after it was devastated in a tornado, as they have walked and prayed for a whole neighborhood, as they have worshipped You with old hymns and loud new songs, as they have put on new roofs and fed the homeless…Lord, Your church is beautiful and stronger than ever! No wonder You love Your Church.
“Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church.” 1 Corinthians 14:12
“…and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Matthew 16:18
“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ and let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.”
Heavenly Father, You have blessed me with Your Bride, the church by…