Lynzie and I are gone to England so my friends are running the show! I'm so excited to welcome my friend Cherri as a guest blogger today! Make sure to check out her blog, Bingalong.
It had been years since I'd stepped foot in a church. God and I had developed an understanding; He could have my heart, but His congregation was just not for me. Too many judging eyes. Too many whispering opinions. Too much heart break.
But here I was one Sunday morning, newly dating this super cute guy. God had his heart, and he was quickly winning mine.
Go to church with him? I wished I could say no, but I couldn't pass up ANY opportunity to see him. He played guitar with the worship team. I'll go just to watch, I would think. I'll keep my head down and try to blend in.
But blend in, I did not. Walking in to church that morning, heels too high and dress too short, thoughts of insecurity began to creep in. What am I doing here? What kind of church is this anyway? Assembly of God? Never heard of it. I was raised Baptist. Oh, my gosh. What if this is the kind of church where all the women wear long skirts all the time and never cut their hair? I glanced down at the sorry excuse for a skirt covering the smallest portion of my upper thigh —suddenly convinced I was going to hell.
Inner monologue running wild, I grasped tightly to Adrian's hand as we began walking down the empty hallway. We were early for the service so he could practice with the band. Suddenly worried that I'd cause him embarrassment, I leaned toward his ear and whispered, "I think my dress is too short." Before he could respond, a woman suddenly turned the corner in the hallway ahead of us. She reached out her hand to touch my shoulder and without the slightest hesitation she told me, "Sweetie, you look beautiful. Just be yourself."
Wow. WOW! That's all I needed. I will come back here, I thought to myself.
Now, more than two years later, we attend as a family. God still has my heart, and His church is now my home. In fact, after we got married, we moved thirty minutes north, just to be closer to it. The church drew us in. Not with programs or preaching, (though we enjoy both) but with a gentle touch, and a few kind words of unabashed acceptance from a stranger.
I still don't know who that woman was. Chances are good that I see her every week, but I can't recall her face. In case she's reading this, I want her to know what an impact she had on my first back-to-church experience. Not only did she welcome me, but she challenged me to welcome others in the same way. I try not to walk by an unfamiliar face without offering a smile, a gentle touch, and a few kind words; for I know what such a simple thing can do.
"Let us not love with words or good intentions but by our actions and in truth." —1 John 3:18