25 January 2009

i'm beginning to understand

have i ever mentioned that i've been going to church lately? my momma decided that church would be good for her (and for me) a while back and for the last two, almost three months, we've been attending a neat little baptist church in west des moines on saturday evenings. it's a casual, contemporary service - they serve coffee and the pastor wears jeans. it's very laid back and close knit and i've come to find that i really enjoy it, which almost shocks me.

we went to church when i was a kid and it was sunday morning, skirt and tights, get dressed up and be quiet time. and i understood why we went but at the same time i never really understood, you know? i mean, we were involved in the churches that we went to and i got to know some of the other kids but i never took it as seriously as they did. and so for all that time, i kind of held church at arm's length, it was something that those kids did and enjoyed but i never really understood the meaning of gluing macaroni to a piece of paper in honor of jesus. what did crafts and the bible have to do with one another?

as i got older, church was something we did on holidays and to pacify my grandma, it seemed. we would go on easter and sometimes on christmas but my mom never felt comfortable in some of those churches and so more and more of our sunday mornings were spent at home, being lazy and eating breakfast. and with us kids it was never really discussed, it was sort of a non-issue. we were christians and we knew that, we believe in God, but it wasn't something we needed to profess on a weekly basis.

so when she mentioned that she wanted to start going to church again a few months ago, i said "sure, i'll go with you" and expected that once again i'd find myself wondering exactly what these people had that i didn't, that allowed them to believe in something so mysterious and unknown, something that had such a presence for so many but that i couldn't find a way to connect with personally.

and that first night we went, that very first saturday night, it was a quiet service. close to the holidays, there weren't many people in attendance. but the worship pastor sat down at this beautiful grand piano and sang "i can only imagine" - the song that was played at my grandma's funeral - and suddenly i got a flash of the bigger picture. it was like we were meant to be there. and i cried. and my mom cried. and since that night, i feel connected to my family, my grandma and my mom, in more ways than i thought possible.

i feel like i finally get it. and it's wonderful because there's so much to learn and i get so excited for saturday nights (or sunday mornings) - it's truly a great feeling. with all the uncertainty in my life and in the lives of the people that i care about, it's an awesome feeling to know that i have God that i can turn to and that He's always there for me.

last night, just like all the other saturday nights before, i was amazed at the relevancy of the words that came from the pastor's mouth. i still can't get over the fact that no matter what's going on in my life at the time, good or bad, the sermon always feels like it's directed at me, for me, it's just what i need to hear when i need to hear it. and i leave there feeling so good, so happy, so connected and so invigorated - i love it. i didn't realize that for so long something so big and so wonderful was missing from my life; i really feel like i belong.

and that's a great feeling.

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