I felt empowered to go back to a place I loved and where I knew many people loved me. But I never ended up going back.
I attended church, the same church, for about 29 years of my life. I was married there, made friends there, and have lots of memories there. I miss it often. I miss singing and working in the media department. I miss the people. Many of whom have known me my entire life. I have to say though, I’m happy again. I’m happy and have joy again withoutgoing to church and a part of me feels guilty for that.
It’s been at least two years since I’ve been to my church. My church was going through some growing pains and I was going through some growing pains too. It was a tough time for everyone involved.
I think the last time I went to church was in Illinois with my friend Amanda. I drove to Illinois to see Amanda, her family, and Andy Grammer in concert. The concert was on a Saturday and we went to church the following Sunday morning before I headed home. It was one of the most spiritual experiences I’ve ever had at church. While attending my church in Clio, I rarely sat in service. I was always volunteering which I loved doing but it provided a different experience.
In Illinois, I connected with the music, the sermon, and the friends I was with. I felt so loved when I was there. It was something I hadn’t felt in a long time. I felt accepted and seen. I cried. So much. Which if you know me isn’t a surprise but it was a heavy and happy cry all at the same time. It drained me and filled me up. It’s my favorite kind of cry.
After service in Illinois, we said our goodbyes and I hit the road to travel back to Michigan. I listened to the album Amanda bought me of their church band’s original music. So freaking good. I had a long drive ahead of me to think about my weekend. The feelings I had going back to church that day made me believe I was ready to go back to my church. I felt empowered to go back to a place I loved and where I knew many people loved me. But I never ended up going back.
That very same Sunday that I decided to go back, other things were happening. A friend at my church was looking for me and asking around about me. A former friend of mine over heard her and filled her in on why I wasn’t there. The things she said to my friend hurt. She said things to my friend about how she felt that she never told me. On the very same day I was ready to go back to my church and give it another try, during my drive home, God had other plans. God used my former friend to let me know that my church home was no longer where I belonged. It wasn’t something I wanted to happen but it was clear. Joe and I discussed it in depth and both decided it wasn’t where we needed to be anymore. It didn’t feel like a safe place for us. It wasn’t long after that we sold our house and moved to Saginaw.
I have yet to find a new church home here in Saginaw but I have found joy again. I’ve learned to let go of things that don’t bring me joy. Moving was one of the best things we’ve done for ourselves and I’m so much happier with our lives. Things simply feel right. I do believe that God shifted things to push us away from where we were. It hurt so very much to hear the things my former friend thought but it was the push I needed to let go. I don’t ever wish to lose people I love but sometimes loss and pain is exactly what we need to step away towards the joy that’s waiting for us elsewhere.