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Monday, July 25, 2011

My Church Family

Church families can be wonderful, messy things.  I have deeply loved all 6 church families of which I have been a part.  The down side to loving something deeply is that you can be hurt deeply.  It's the risk of living in community and it happens.  There have been a few moments in my life when it has taken all my strength and courage to walk back into church, to smile at people, to continue to love people. I always do, though (and not just because my husband's job depends on it).  I always walk back in because the hurt and the risk are worth it.  As part of the body of Christ I'm not sure I could walk away now even if I wanted to.

In August of 2003 Taylor and I lost our first baby.  I immediately went back to work, but church was a different story.  I wasn't really mad at God - I never expected to be exempt from suffering - but I didn't necessarily feel like worshiping Him either.  And then the thought of facing all those people who loved me and hurt for me - I couldn't do it.  So the first Sunday after the miscarriage Taylor went alone to church and I stayed curled up in my bed all morning.  By the second Sunday I knew I had to face it.

I don't remember much about that Sunday, but I do remember standing in the sanctuary during the worship service unable to do anything but weep.  All around me my brothers and sisters were singing, but my tears were all I could offer God.  It felt good though, as if I could somehow rely on those around me to offer what I couldn't in that moment.  Over the years Taylor and I have reflected on that day and realized what a sacred moment that was.  It is a picture of what the body of Christ truly is when we step in and even worship for one another - offer praises when others can't.

Yesterday was another similar moment, but this time I was the one who was able to sing.  Yesterday more brave souls gathered up their broken hearts and stepped into church to face the family and the God who loves them.  Yesterday I stood on the front row and sang to God about how He was good and merciful.  Maybe they were able to offer these praises to God, but my guess is that tears were all they had to offer. I offered my praises to my God, but also on their behalf.


It's a good reminder for those days when I wonder what God was thinking when he set up this crazy thing called church.  It's not perfect, it can be painful, but it's good and it's worth it.

7 comments:

Taylor said...

Well put, my love.

Robert & Kim said...

Amen sister, love you guys!!!

Tommy said...

Alyson what a perfect description of the Body of Christ and the love we should extend to one another. Thanks for sharing this.

the process of becoming not me said...

as a minister's wife, thank you for being willing to be transparent about the pain of church sometimes but also the beauty of having your burdens carried and your willingness to carry that of others through worship. beautiful!

Lynne said...

beautiful and insightful, Alyson.

Unknown said...
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SybHol said...

That is really tender, Alyson. I'm so grateful for your insightfulness and your empathy in the face of another's pain.