I have always been told that I have been 'in church' since I was 3 weeks old. My parents are God-fearing Christians with a heart of gold. Sunday Morning, Sunday Night, Wednesday Night and every Gospel Meeting within an hour's drive... well, we were most likely there.
I am the oldest of three daughters and all of us were raised in the church. I was baptized in June of 1981 in Dickson, TN and I can even tell you who we spent that afternoon with. I see that day clearly as if it were today.
I would meet one of my forever friends through church when I was in the 8th grade and our parents actually had gone to school together as well. She and I have been friends all through our lives and have been at each others weddings, family funerals and our families will always be intertwined. She is one of my guideposts who can tell me something I may not like, but I will listen to her. She and I would go to church together for 5 years until I graduated high school and went off to college.
I attended church while I was away at college and realized why I believed what I believed and started to share my faith with others. Then I met #1 in fall of 1988 and we got married in 1989, and eventually divorced in 1993. During this time I would attend church sometimes if he would go with me. If he didn't want to go or had to work, I would find a reason to not attend services either. When we were overseas, I just didn't go because there was not a protestant service on base that I could get to. I also didn't drive while we were in Panama because he didn't want me driving his car.
So, when I moved back to TN in December of 1991, I had not set foot in a church in almost 2 years. I felt like a little lost duck that didn't know what to do. I now had two small children under the age of 3 to raise and living with my parents, I had to make myself attend church. I wanted my children raised in the church but I was so beat up inside that I didn't think God would love me now that I was apart from my husband. I felt worthless.
In 1993 we would move to Dickson and my life centered around my family and the few people I knew in the area were through church. Everyone else I knew was either an hour away or I worked with them and didn't really associate with anyone from work after hours. I built a very thick stone wall around myself because I didn't want anyone close enough to hurt me ever again.
I attended church with my parents on Sunday's so that my kids were in church but I was going through so much pain inside that I didn't get much out of it in those early years. I was mostly going through the motions. A few years later, I would start searching for a church with more young people my children knew either through school or scouts and we started attending there around 2000.
By this time I had made a few close friends through Girl Scouts or Cub Scouts and they were helpful but no one was close enough to know what I was truly dealing with on the inside.
In 2004/2005, My daughter came home wanting to attend a Wednesday night youth group at a church her friend went to. I started taking her and picking her up but got curious what they were teaching. So #2 and I started attending on Sunday mornings and would soon join a couples class where I finally would meet two women who became major guideposts in my life. Those two women were like beacons of faith to me and always cheered me on and encouraged me whether they realized it or not.
In the fall of 2005, I attended a sales consultant training in Franklin, TN and would meet a new consultant from Chattanooga and she and I bonded in a way that only God can make happen. We were drawn to each other and would room together at conferences, email each other constantly and cheer each other on and cry when the other cried.
Even though I moved away from this church and community in 2010 and had to find another church, I now knew the kind of church family I wanted to be a part of and we found it in Bellevue and the Pastors there and their wives were great people. These Pastors, their wives and other members at this congregation would also become guideposts in my walk in faith and journey back to where I needed to be with God.
In May of 2012, I emailed 10-12 people and of these people 5 were these guidepost women I have briefly mentioned. That email is when I told my friends in TN that I was coming home for good and had put up with enough. Today, I can honestly say that most of them are still in my life supporting me and cheering me on in my journey.
In late July 2012, I walked into church and felt like I had come home. One member knew I was coming, the other guidepost woman did not know I was coming, so I popped into the room where she was and surprised her. I won't ever forget the love in her face that day! And the Pastor, he came up and shook my hand like he had known me all my life.
I truly believe I am exactly where God wants me and I am growing in the Lord each and every day. These women, whether I have known them since Junior High or just met them last year, have guided me and prayed for me and lifted me up in so many ways. I would not be on the road to Heaven without them. Thank you M, F, J, and L, you each know who you are!!
If you are struggling after leaving your spouse, ask your friends if you can go with them to church the next time the doors are open. Go, and let God speak to you. You don't have to say a word because God knows your heart before you even know what to say or ask of Him.
Don't stay lost and depressed, keep reaching out and up in faith and keep praying even if you don't know what to say. Read your Bible either online or become a page-turner. Get in the word and it will speak to you!
Prayers for each of you reading this tonight.
If you need to reach a local shelter or the Domestic Violence Help Line, Please visit http://www.resurrectingrobin.com/#/home/