Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Apres' church thoughts

TTonight, I made it to church for the first time in months. The womanchild had an appointment just blocks from the church. Though I was exhausted and concerned about infecting others, we both felt the need to go. It's been a long time since I've been hugged so much. I burst into tears, which is no surprise. The womanchild did as well, and she had to run outside to hide hers. I don't know why I've been away so long. Our church is a decent distance from our home, and I've measured gas in ounces as many times as I have gallons, but that's no excuse. I've stayed in touch by email and phone calls, but it's not the same. Our Wednesday night services are broken into two parts. The first is music followed by silent prayer. Then we have group discussion and prayers.

These discussions are often very personal where people share real needs. Tonight, I felt a real need to be silent and listen. I found other people speaking for me, the woman whose much younger marriage is in the same state as mine, the middle aged man whose temperament is so much like the womanchild's that it's scary, the woman who calls herself C.'s spiritual grandmother whose issues with physical pain put mine into serious perspective. I heard my voice from each of them and more. I hadn't realized just how much I'd isolated myself until I was back in church again, gently reminded once again that I am not alone.

That's a good feeling, but I also can't help feeling like a letdown to these people, this wonderful family that has cared so much for us. I feel like I ought to give and contribute more. Our church is small enough where the opportunities to serve don't seem like they should go only to a certain group, a feeling I've had in other, larger churches. I no longer feel like I'm too spiritually immature to contribute to any church, and I know that there are people in a wide variety of different states of spiritual development here. I haven't been completely inactive, but I feel the need to do more, but I don't know how yet. I still feel rather needy myself. I know this needs prayer.

I know that I need prayer. Lately, it has seemed like my prayers have been one way communication. I don't know where my listening skills have gone. I miss that intimacy like no other that comes when you absolutely know the Holy Spirit is with you. I miss that vital connection, and without it, I'm feeling rather flat. Yet, I know how scattered I become when I sit down to pray, how much interference I throw up, and too often I give up before I've torn down the barriers. Small, short prayers of praise and supplication throughout the day just are not the same, and I need and want deeper, truer prayer back.

I've written before on how I struggle with the balance between grace and discipline. I know that they can flow to and from each other. Discipline, by which I mean conscious, intentional works of love and obedience for and to the Lord, often open the door to seeing God's grace, which further inspires me to live a more disciplined life. Tonight, I just know that I stand in need of grace.

,

2 Comments:

Blogger Donna said...

An excellent entry to which I can relate.

January 18, 2007 5:08 AM  
Blogger more cows than people said...

i'm glad you made it back to church last night. i give thanks for all the hugs that found you and for the reminder you received of all the companions you have for your journey. i pray that you have more experiences like this in your church community, which are the bearers of grace, the doing/discipline will follow. right now it sounds like you just need to be held.

(((cynthia)))

January 18, 2007 7:14 AM  

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