Note: I wrote this blog post a few years ago. As I was going through old drafts I found this one and instead of deleting I’m sharing it. I want others who struggle with walking into a church building to know they are not alone. But, I also want to invite you to come to sit with me. I would love to meet you at the church doors and sit next to you, introduce your kids to the Sunday school programs. It doesn’t feel ok to be broken, especially when you continually are broken in one way or another. Jesus sees you and he loves you a whole lot. I also know there are many who want to be at church but work every single weekend. I see you too. Thank you for doing your job and being a blessing in your workplace.
It is noon on a Sunday. Yesterday evening I craved walking into the church building we call home, and at the same time, sadness punched me in my gut. We have not stepped into a church building all summer long. I have started to work at a local hotel on the weekends. When I started, it was great to have an excuse as to why I wasn’t in my seat on Sunday mornings.
The brokenness inside my head feels too big. I think about stepping through the church’s doors and sitting in my seat. The thought fills my eyes fill with tears of shame and sadness. I feel it deep in my bones. I get tired of explaining how we are doing. Even when we are doing financially better, we are still not better. We struggle every single day. Mark’s muscles are weak, his gut only allows him to eat on a strict diet, and the list goes on. He does not have good days. He has bad days and worse days. No one wants to hear it, and I don’t want to say it continually.
I feel the weight of our life, and it’s heavy. I don’t want pity, and I don’t want rejection. I want a silent or gentle isn’t God good in the middle of our crap. People’s well-intentioned kindness is complicated because there are days when I only want to sit in my ashes and grieve. The ashes, as odd as it sounds, is not an awful place either because every single time I sit in the ashes of my despair, God the Father sits one side and Jesus, my savior sits on the other, and they love to me.
As hard as our life has been the last two years, God has continued to meet us in the hell we lived through. I have gone through the birthing process of dying to myself over and over and over. I metamorphosis into a beautiful new person. I don’t know if others can see it, but I feel it, I can feel my wings beginning to strengthen, and I don’t know what God’s going to do with us, but I am so super excited for it and scared out of my mind. I have no idea where he will ask us to fly or if I will be ready. I usually think I am willing; then he gives me glimpses of what is about to come, and often I try to back peddle and say surely Lord you would ask me to do…that.
I often feel more at home with the broken and lost part of the world. I find my humanity with them. Not once has God lost sight of me, he has held tight to me, has come looking for me every time I wondered. He loves me, I am my beloveds, and he is mine. I do not feel this when I walk into a church building.
My feelings are not because the body of Christ has not loved us. Quite the opposite or at least individuals have seen us, and more importantly, they have noticed when they have not seen us. Inwardly I hide, because long term brokenness is unacceptable to me. I want to run away from the love, it hurts, I carry guilt, and I guess shame. I am free in Christ, and I feel it, yet, I still very much see my imperfections.
I see others in pain who have taken responsibility for their life. Their businesses are flourishing; they lead in ministry and some how in their pain they press on. I want to push on, too.
I know their not, I even know many of them personally and I know they would tell me they are as broken as me. My church going friends serve faithfully; they are at church every single week. I am strong until I walk through those doors and I feel as if I need a spiritual ambulance. I feel like I cross a thresh hold from a broken world into one that is holy and whole. I smile with joy; I talk about compassion, but I am still broken. it weighs me down something fierce.
I want to shout, I’m broken, come sit with me, I’m broken. Let’s cry together, let’s weep at a hurting world. Let’s feel the agony of a withering world. Come rejoice we know the one who soothes the ache. Come meet the one who soothes the aches of the soul. The one who is breaths live into those who are continually broken.
No one has made me feel this way about walking through the doors on Sunday morning. In fact, the opposite has happened. Compassion has been given, kindness has been shown and yet there is something inside me that bristles at it. Something that says, it has been too long. Their arms are tired of carrying you, let them set you down. I know the voice is the one who prowls around like a lion seeking whom he may devour. I know he is the prince of lies and the one who will call hell home for all eternity.
How do I carry my brokenness through the doors of the church? Why do I feel at peace with sinners? Why does Sunday morning make me so sad?