|written January 2015|
I didn't go to church often as a kid. We moved a lot too so I never knew what it was like to have a church family. I heard the saying at times from an uncle who influenced my faith in God early on but I didn't understand the meaning of church family.
I married my husband when I was just 18. Our second date was to church. At the time his church was very small & I soon began to recognize church members. I got to know them & became casual friends with them. The church was over an hour away so my husband & I later joined another church nearby. I soon fell in love with the church members & began to understand the real meaning of a church.
As I attended women’s Bible studies & later parenting classes with other pregnant women I got to know these families more. We prayed together, joked together & over 6yrs our kids grew up together. Sadly some families moved away, the church split up and we grew away from church as my family grew.
I felt the emptiness without a church or church family but life kept me busy with 3 young kids & homeschooling. I also started to have issues with chronic pain & illness. We tried a few different churches but none of them clicked with us. Life passed by & my children grew.
About 4 1/2yrs ago my youngest two children got baptized at my in-law’s church. The same small church had now grown into a huge church. While I watched my two children being baptized I knew we had to find a church. I prayed that night for God to lead us to a church. I prayed in detail about the things we were looking for in a church. Key things were it was close by, small, had a great youth program & so on. The following morning I called my husband, he leaves for work very early & I like to call him eat morning to touch base. He told me our van had broken down that morning while he was voting for an election. I asked him where it broke down & he said "at a church." I half listened then as he told me he had to walk home. I interrupted him knowing God had answered my prayer. I asked him the name of the church & started looking it up online as he spoke about our broken down van, I was praising God for answering my prayer to quickly. Long story short we went to church that Sunday. It was everything I had prayed for & I knew without a doubt that was where God wanted us to be.
The moment we started attending our new church I knew the true meaning of church family. We had two women from the church bring us dessert after our second visit to church. We had church members we didn't know greeting us like long lost family. We had offers for rides home as our van kept breaking down at church & only church. We joke that God didn't want us to leave church. I was over whelmed with the love & acceptance we received from our new church family.
Church family to me means that they are our brothers & sisters in Christ. I love our church members as much as I do my own family. I have heard that stated before & this love is love from God. It is over flowing from me. I really can't describe it but what still astonishes me is that my church family feels the same way. The fact that we have members in our church who love me is still amazing to me. I've fought low self esteem most of my life & it still amazes me when I know someone cares for me.
I hope & pray that everyone can feel this way about their church & their church family. I think everyone should feel this way. I saw a friend of mine on Facebook speak with love about her church family & I was thrilled. I told her "The love is amazing isn't it?" She replied "I know. It is."
The love of God should over flow into church members. I think that is one of many God's gifts to us all. We need to use that love & express that love. I admit that this is something I still struggle with at times but often I just can't help it. I find myself telling church members on Facebook that I love them & I do. I really do love this person like family. It is still odd for me to see me say something like that.
God has torn down the walls I use to keep around my heart. The love of God is so powerful. I pray you feel this same way about your church & your church family.