Sunday, November 20, 2005

I didn't cry!

You should be proud of me. I didn't cry. I just knew I was going to, but I didn't, but not by anything I did!

Background: I moved to Enid a little over 6 years ago after getting married. For several weeks I didn't go to church because I was so homesick for the little church I grew up in and didn't know where to go. Not one single person I met in this new, completely different town invited me to go to church with them. My husband doesn't go to church so I'd have to go by myself and being in a new town that kind of scared me. I wanted desperately to know SOMEONE! Then we found out we were going to have a baby and I knew I had best get myself into a church if not for me for this baby on the way. I tried a couple of churches both big and small. None quite feeling like home. One day I stumbled into Cornerstone Baptist Church about 15 minutes late (which was just fine with me) and sat down next to the sound system because the last several rows on both sides were full. It was a nice service. They sang songs I didn't really know, but they were pretty. These people seemed nice and friendly. There was lots of laughing and smiling a good feeling. The next week I came back, even showed up on time. I tried to sit next to the sound system again, but this friendly lady named Cathy came and grabbed me and told me to come sit with her on the back row. And I did. She was my first friend.

Fast forward to about three (maybe two or maybe one...I really can't remember now) years ago: Pastor had called me during the week and asked me to read Matthew 25:31-46. I agreed and thought nothing else about it until that day. I've read before a congregation before. Heck, I did a three minute monologue in front of 10,000 people when I was 18 and loved every minute of it! Being in front of a crowd doesn't scare me. Sunday came and I was homesick again. I never joined Cornerstone even though I attended faithfully for a couple of years because that would mean I was no longer a part of my church that I had grown up in and that thought crushed me. But that day I realized and accepted that as much as I loved that place I grew up in, Cornerstone was now my home. I told the congregation this and then I started to read. But I didn't make it very far for I saw just what I was about to read:

I was hungered and you gave me meat:
I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink:
I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
Naked and you clothed me:
I was sick, and ye visited me:
I was in prison, and ye came to me.

These were just the thoughts I had about Cornerstone and I started to cry. I stood there for what seemed an eternity trying to regain my composure, but it wasn't working. I tried to get a lady in the front row to come help me but she just sat there smiling at me. I couldn't stop crying. Every time I tried to read through it I would cry all the harder. Finally, Pastor and someone one else... who I honestly can't remember now came to my rescue(maybe JD or Gary?). Pastor hugged me and held me there while he finished reading and I cried the whole time.

Fast forward again to this week. Pastor called and asked me to read. I said, 'sure what is it?' 'Matthew 25:31-46' he said. 'You know,' I said to him, 'I'm going to cry.' And I reminded him what happened last time. He insisted that I could do it this time and I knew it would mean so much for me to read it... and NOT cry. So this morning I prayed for extra strength because I knew that I couldn't stand up there on my own. So today, God held me and used my voice to read his word to the people who years ago took me in when I was a stranger, who fed me when my soul was hungry, who quenched my thirst with living water, and visited me when I was in my own person prison. God also held my tears back, it was awesome! So thank you Cornerstone for being good sheep!


thankyoudarlin said...

I love the story - and I love more that you have found your home!

Girl said... you made ME cry...and I'm at work for crying out loud!!!

heh - Pun not intended...


PS - Your husband doesn't attend church? This is interesting to me. The boy doesn't go to church either and every now and then I think about what our lives will be like if we ever do get married and have kids...because I can't assume he will ever feel convicted to go, and at some point, the kids are going to want to stay home with dad.

'Listen' to me...I'm waxing poetic about kids I don't have with a man who hasn't shown signs of wanting to marry me yet.

Oh well...just thought I would throw it out there.

Leslee said...

Sorry I made you cry! Going to church without my husband has it's moments. Sometimes it's hard and sometimes not so much. I know that God is using me to minister to him without being all preachy. He sees God through me and hopefully someday he'll want to go on his own. I'll email you more of my thoughts.

Mike Kear said...

Beautiful story. Thanks for sharing it. You remind me of why I love Cornerstone so much.

I thought your sentence, "Not one single person I met in this new, completely different town invited me to go to church with them," was very interesting. I had the same experience here. Enid is the most religious town I've ever lived in, and in many ways the least Christian. I guess I need to work on understanding ways to make my town a more Christlike place.



Leslee said...

Yeah, Mike, what's up with Enid? Is it just Enid or are people like this elsewhere? Btw, you and TJ were missed yesterday. Hope you had a wonderful Sunday where ever you were!

Songbird said...

girl, my husband doesn't attend church, either, but my kids (including the college boy when he is home) take it for granted that they will attend each week. It's just like brushing our teeth, in the sense that it's something we simply just do. If you build it in as a practice, and they are accustomed to going with you, I think you'll be okay.
leslee, I've had the same experience. Mine was with the Beatitudes. It is such a good feeling to return to those powerful passages with a spirit of acknowledgement of both where we were then and where we are now. I'm so glad you found a church home.

Mary Beth said...

I know how hard it is to leave a loved home church. I didn't join a new church for 10 years after leaving my last one. Sometimes I'm sorry for the lost time, but I truly believe the time was right.