As you all know, last year was a struggle for me. Heartache, confusion, and distrust dominated my emotions and I essentially let the enemy destroy my faith. Towards the end of the year, I knew something had to change. I knew that there would be no healing unless I took the necessary steps to start that process. And that process began with letting God back into my life. I brought it up to Jeremiah multiple times and we talked at length about what this would like and ultimately we knew that we needed to find a church where we could grow as a couple and as a family. We also knew that we needed to get connected with other believers that we could lean on and grow with.
With that being said, I made rebuilding my faith one of my goals for this year. Rebuilding can take many different forms, but first and foremost I wanted to go to church regularly, pray, read my Bible, and get connected.
Last night we took one of the first big steps: we attended a small group. Even for seasoned Christians such as ourselves, who are used to this culture, walking into a stranger’s home to talk with more strangers can be extremely scary and intimidating. It doesn’t matter how nice or friendly they are, it is just one of those things. But from the moment we walked in, my nerves slowly melted away.
The first-night-introduce-yourself portion was the usual bout of awkward, but once the conversation and discussion got started, I was sucked in. It had been so long since I had been a part of a group of people (more like friends!) who cared about God and about growth. This group was so real and vulnerable and I LOVED IT! I am frequently talking about how much I appreciate and respect vulnerability and honesty… and these people had no fear. It was very obvious that they trusted and cared for one another and it was exactly what I had been looking for.
I didn’t actually participate in the conversation, but more taking it all in and getting acquainted with the people and their style of discussion. Well at the end of the night, someone threw out the idea of sharing what each couple was praying for in order to receive prayer, but also accountability. This is one of those things that freaks me out – I hate going around in the circle and saying what we need prayers for… in the past it has felt superficial. Well once they got started, I realized this was not going to be like the past, these people laid their hearts and feelings out there and it was beautiful. The whole time everyone was talking, I knew exactly what I needed to say. I knew exactly what I had been praying for. It was the main reason I was there. The closer it got to me – the harder and harder my heart started to beat. People always describe moments where they felt like their heart was going to beat out of their chest – this was one of those moments for me. I could feel and hear my heartbeat throughout my whole body. I knew what I needed to say, but I wasn’t sure I was brave enough to put it out there on the first night.
God told me I was brave enough. He reminded me that this was what I told him I needed. He reminded me that waiting to share would only delay my healing.
So when it was finally my turn, I laid my heart out in front of me. I shared briefly about our loss, about how I leaned away from my faith, and how I needed to defeat this stronghold to be all in for the future. And afterward, I felt a million times lighter.
The payoff for my bravery, vulnerability, and honesty – besides feeling strong and hopeful – that someone there had been where I was and came forward. After group, she walked right up to me, introduced herself, shared something that helped her move forward, and then gave me a hug. I felt so loved. I knew that was exactly where I needed to be. I knew Jeremiah and I had made the right decision in attending that night. I knew that my healing had begun!