TGI Saturdays # 81- The Church Testimony

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TGI Saturdays # 81- The Church Testimony

I have a confession to make. My family and I have been out of Church for a little over a year now. That is until two Sundays ago. Why? Truth be told, I have a big family, at least big to most modern folk. I have a family of 7 (5 kids). We moved here not only to a new home but a new State as well (May) last year. We did not have transportation of our own when we moved here, we lived in the city and got around via walking, train or bus. Getting around is not that easy here without a vehicle of your own.

My husband made a decision that we weren’t going to depend on others for transportation to Church, but we’ll wait until we got transportation of our own, before we go looking for a new church home. I agreed with that. So here we are a year later, visiting a new church for the first time two Sundays ago (Friendship Day-first Sunday in August.), seeking a church family to fellowship with and to grow in our walk with the Lord.

Back in the city I used to live. We went to the Salvation Army and became members. We visited November 2012 and became members by April 2013. Years before that we visited the Church of the Nazarene in our community in October 2008 and became members by April 2009. These Churches’ pastors had shown great interest in us becoming members of their church.

I believe they saw something in us- our love for Jesus and family, our hearts, our talents, our desire to serve, our kindness and our willingness to be molded into who God wanted us to be.

After three years of our family passionately serving at the Church of the Nazarene, we left that church. It was there I came face to face with a spirit I can’t name for sure, but believe it to be the “Jezebel Spirit.” My time there, was a season of staying where I believed God wanted us to be and not necessarily where I wanted to be, but I tried to give all that I had to give. My experience there was an eye opener.

This church was a stagnant Church and the Holy Spirit or the movement of God was nowhere to be found. The heart of the church was missing. The reigns of the church from worship, to prayer, to service to God’s kingdom was so tightly controlled, that God wasn’t able to move. And whenever new children of God came to visit, looking for their Father, they did not find Him there. So they would leave. My family and I were the only new people who stayed for so long, and we were the only two of three people who became members in the three years we were there. I served in the youth, woman’s & children ministries. I took on many roles because they were not very many people there to serve. My husband played in the church band, he was on the church board for one year and he lead the church choir. Still the Church never grew.

My time to leave was revealed to me in an awful situation (the season my baby died). God’s people (my church family) failed us. We were alone. Our small church in its entirety had disappeared. This is something I still can’t make sense of to this day. Nevertheless, I still wanted to reach out to them and tell them my miraculous story of God’s grace, but the “Jezebel Spirit” got in my way. I tried to fight her, I stood up to her, but her hold on this church was too great. We left the church and the “Jezebel spirit” rejoiced. And that was that.

We were out of church for a few months, and I wondered where God was going to lead us next. Then one day, we were invited to a free family night at a Salvation Army community center in our community. The kids got to enjoy the facility’s pool for free, they had a blast.  It was that night, that I learned for the first time that the Salvation Army is more than what I thought it was. It was a Church, too.

Our “Captains” (church pastors-husband and wife) were very nice people. We became members a few months later and on that day I read a poem I had written a couple of months earlier called “Strong Soldier,” which felt appropriate for this season. My poem was about my desire to be a strong soldier in God’s army. Now I had become a soldier of the Salvation Army.

My daughter had the opportunity to sing and dance on stage in glory to God at this Church. She even entered a talent competition called “Star Search,” that the Salvation Armies in our territory host every year.  My husband played in the Church band (he loved that he got to wear a uniform). Even though, I wasn’t really as into the uniform as he was. I must admit I looked good in it.

Nevertheless, it felt like something was missing, something that hindered my connection to this church. The Holy Spirit was definitely there, moving in worship but my personal growth in the church seemed lacking. The church’s communication was awful. Unless you were in the right circle, you never knew what was going on. There was no place for me.

It felt like there wasn’t a place for me to serve there. Even though I tried at first. After a while, I decided to sit this one out and focus on my growing family. There were also some things in the way the Salvation Army church works and its beliefs that I did not share. I figured, if this was where God wanted us to be, maybe I’d learn to accept these things.  I do believe they are doing God’s work.

I say all that to say this. Now as my time to go Church hunting finally came. I did my research. The church I initially was interested in, as I read deeper into their beliefs, it sounded very, very off to me. A red flag went up. So I never visited that Church.

Then I checked out three of the closest Salvation Armies to where I lived. They were all wrong for my family for various reasons.

Then after widening my search I found a church right in my community. My children love it and it seems just right for our family. The Holy Spirit in me is stirring. My soul is fired up for the first time in a long time. This is where we belong, this is where God want us to be. This is the Church I have been looking for all my life, that I didn’t know it existed. I’m ready to grow and be used by God. I’m ready for my family to grow and to fellowship with like minded believers.

I am where I’m supposed to be.

Thank you for reading. I know it is not always easy reading such a long post, but this was the testimony on my heart this week, and I wanted to share it with someone. Why not you.  If you stuck out to the end. I hope you have gained in some way from what I have shared today.

 

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Peace, Love and Blessings to you.

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By | 2017-02-22T13:17:11+00:00 August 19th, 2016|Featured, TGI Saturdays Blog Hop Party|6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Shelly August 19, 2016 at 10:07 pm - Reply

    We started attending a new church in December after making the decision to leave our church of 8 years. It was becoming clear that the pastor had no qualms about playing favorites and neither did the children’s director. The final straw for us came when my daughter approached the children’s director moments before going on stage for the Christmas performance (just singing) and said to him that she and her brother didn’t know the songs very well. (They were very nervous.) Instead of encouraging her and telling her to try her best, he told her and my other kids to sit in the audience with me because he didn’t want them standing up on stage doing nothing. I feel bad about leaving because I did have so many friends there who I love, but we were never going to be able to be comfortable there again.

    • Latisha August 20, 2016 at 5:41 am - Reply

      Hi Shelly,

      Thanks for visiting today. I’m sorry your kids had to experience that. I could relate. I hope you feel more comfortable where you are now. We have to do what’s right for our family and their spiritual growth. Blessings to you and yours this Saturday morning.

  2. Mother of 3 August 20, 2016 at 10:08 am - Reply

    I’m so happy for you that you found a place you feel you belong.

  3. Ruth August 20, 2016 at 12:32 pm - Reply

    I’m so happy to hear that you have finally found the church you have been looking for! :) May the Lord bless you all there.
    I’m remembering that God works all things together for good to those who love Him. I’ve had some less-than-stellar church experiences as well and have had to pray through. I’ve seen God move over time and finally am seeing a deepening and maturity in our present church that has been a long time coming.
    But during those times when I felt I had no one to turn to except God, God showed up for me and became my Best Friend. I look back and realize that it was a blessing in disguise, and I have to thank Him for it, and especially for coming so close to me and being so tender.

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