Today I Returned To Church!

I was looking forward to this day, even as I decided each week not to go the church.  In the beginning when I first stopped going it was because I was sick, with terrible eczema which had gotten out of control and infected.  Yes it was bad–all the extra dry spots on my legs and arms and hands started to crack.  It seemed that no amount of moisture could stop the dryness.  The open sores would continue to dry out and start draining fluid.  It was very horrible and embarassing.  I didn’t feel like having to explain, nor scaring anyone because of the situation.  I just stopped going to church because I knew that I would be returning. 

But after three weeks, God healed me and the sores started healing.  Yet I didn’t go back to church.  I wrote a post back in late June talking about this experience.  I wondered if I was backslidden, but concluded that I wasn’t because I still was reading God’s Word, I was still praying and I heard sermons via television.  Plus, I was writing this blog, which I consider a ministry.  In late June, it had already been 7 weeks of not going to church.  I did start to get a bit scared and embarassed of how the congregants would view me, walking back in the church after a 7 week absence!  After all, we are supposed to fight our way there if we are physically able, not mope about at home in self pity.

I realized that there was a bunch of carnalness in my heart.  I wasn’t seeking for material things, but rather for admiration.  I wanted people to look up to me, and I was trying to get into ministry so that I could build myself up.   And when it didn’t happen that way, I was undone.    But during the time that I was out of church, the Lord never left me.  He taught me some things about myself.  He taught me a few things about self worth.  So I don’t have to strive after admiration.  I can do what He has called me to and be blessed with or without admiration.   Yes, I returned to church and it was good to see the saints.  I can’t say that I’m close to any one of them, but I am praying for friendships and connections.  But even more, I’m praying to BE a friend and a connection to someone else. 

When I went back to church, people weren’t jumping up and down to see me.  I did get a few good hugs, and I’m happy with that.  I will learn to BE that necessary hug to someone else. 

God is so good and blesses us with large and small blessings.  I know God is with me and that He loves me even by the small gifts.  I have gone back to studying Spanish.  Learning this language has been a 30 year long endeavor for me because I never put the full effort into it.  So I have started listening to all the  teaching CDs I have bought over the years, and didn’t study.  I listen to them while I drive to and from work.   That’s about an hour each day of study. 

The way God blessed me today is that our Spanish speaking arm of our church comes to worship with us once a month or so.  The first time they did it was a few months back and it was extremely ackward.  The congregants seemed to be huddled in one small section of the church, separated by language.  The pastor’s english is limited and their style of worship and praise is different.  They are El Salvadorean and Mexican immigrants.  I remember thinking I was glad when that first service ended!!  I’m just being real. 

But today, it was a very good service and I see that connections have been made between the black folks and the latino folks.  They were much more unified in the worship service and more relaxed and spread throughout the sanctuary.  Our pastor preached and one of our sisters born in Panama translated.  Our latino pastor prayed over “los ninos” that they would not receive the hatred that causes racial separation.  Good things have been happening in the 4 months I have been gone!!    We read scriptures in both english and spanish, and we sang in both languages as well!!   The whole things went very smoothly and we were only one half hour late ending the early service!    😉

It was a blessing to follow along listening to the spanish translation of the entire service!  I look forward to fellowshipping more with our latino hermanos.   I was truly blessed today, and I’m focused on being a friend now!  Bless God!

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Jaycee (E.A) says:

    Thank God for your healing, Renee. There’s always something beautiful about fellowshipping with believers…I guess that’s why Paul says “Do not abandon the fellowship of the saints.” (not so sure if Paul was the one who said so.

    1. Anna Renee says:

      Thank you, sister Jaycee! We’re not to abandon fellowshipping with the saints! It’s the way we help each other, grow and develop the love that Christ wants us to display, learn more about ourselves, and live fulfilled lives. Sometimes, though, we have to step away for a time of solitude and reflection as well. Jesus did the same.

  2. Reggie says:

    I’m sorry to hear about the eczema, but that really shouldn’t have to stop you from going to church. Aren’t we all supposed to “come as we are”?!?

    I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed the service………maybe I’ll go next week. Probably not, but maybe?!?

    1. Anna Renee says:

      Hey Reggie! Thanks! Im so glad it’s all healed. I admit that I didn’t want to deal with trying to explain it and spooking people.
      We are supposed to “come as we are”! Thank God that a prodigal daughter like me can return! 🙂

      If you go next week, remember that you’ll be dealing with frail human minded people, such as me and you, and you’ll have to show mercy and understanding, which is what Jesus try to teach us. Patience, love, peace, goodness–and the other fruits of the spirit. 😀

  3. James McCoy says:

    I’m still fighting the spirit also Anna,because just like you I know where I should be on Sunday Morning.
    I have enough excuses to start a mail order house of excuses.

    1. Anna Renee says:

      Thank BigMac for being so honest. I think one of the biggest and bestest excuse is “those church people”!
      Most of the folks, like Anne Rice, who dramatically leave church do so because of what other people do.
      I like the answer someone gave to this phenomenon: Anyone you let get between you and God–that person is then closer to God than you!

      We have the idea that everyone is supposed to be perfect if they are in church! No, everyone is supposed to be STRIVING towards perfection, which actually means maturity. When we don’t go to church because of others’ imperfections, the things they do, the sins they find themselves in, the out and out wrong they are doing–sometimes right in the church–then we ourselves are being immature!
      If anyone knew man, then it’s Jesus who thoroughly knows the heart of man. Yet He told us not to abandon the fellowship of the saints.
      That misbehaving saint may need a word of encouragement or admonishment from YOU!
      If all those who see themselves as “good” leave the church, then is there any wonder that those same folks see no one but the “bad” in the church?!
      I hope Anne Rice is reading this.

  4. Nicole says:

    God is good! See He never left you. His Holy Spirit was right where you were, and He carried you during your times of sickness and weakness and He held you up. It’s good to see that you are still blogging. You write very well and your writing is well thought out and expressed with common sense and a certain eloquence. Keep at it. You have readers!

    1. Anna Renee says:

      Hi Nicole!! Yes, God never left my side! His Spirit was and is with me always, whether I perceive it or not. My skin is healed but the scars are still there! Something for me to look at and marvel over, hunh? They’re fading fast though!

      Im just happy to be back at church, hearing very powerful sermons that speak to me! And to be in the fellowship of the saints and see their smiling faces! Even if their faces are frowning or pouting, Im still happy to see them!

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