i had an email exchange recently with a friend who has encouraged me as my family and i look for a new church home.
i've made no secret to some of my most intimate girlfriends and a few new friends i've met on a knitting community that i've been burned by the Church. as a sinner saved by grace, i've sinned, and one of those sins left wounds below the surface. wounds that came in the form of sheep bites, the emotional ostracism because one of their own had sinned visibly. we confessed, we teared outward and inward, and even so, were left wanting. we felt snubbed, turned away, a puzzle piece whose shape fits, but the picture is all wrong now. somehow it's been harder to find a Body to share with, gunshy, afraid that we could be turned away again.
i asked my friend to pray for us to find a living group of Christ followers who would accept us in all our ragamuffin grace, and she wrote these words: "i find forgiving is not the hard part. finding a safe place (beside at the Lord's feet) to bleed, to heal and plug in...those are the hard parts." it's so true. i walked bitter for a while, but i'm falling in love with both the Bride and Groom again, and i desperately want to find a place of worship, of community, of teaching. i want a place where it's okay for my heart to bleed out loud, come unscabbed, and then be wrapped back up by tender hands.
in studying John and talking about loving like He loves us, and in abiding in the Vine, we are told we will be given what we ask. my new prayer is to find this place where all of us sheep can gather in the fold, aware of the bites, aware of the times spent away from the craggy path, and remember the Shepherd instead.