Church has always felt like home to me. Maybe it’s because I spent many mornings and evenings there as a child, running the halls and sitting in Sunday school and singing in front when I could. Maybe it’s because I had chapel multiple times a week for years at school, and there is something about sitting in a large room of people to sing and listen that is comfortable and routine for me. Or, maybe, it’s because, at the worst parts of my life, church was always there for me, and I came to lean on my faith as a support when I didn’t have much else to go on.
But, lately, the church has not felt like home. The past 9 months have been hard. Not the same kind of hard that knocked me on my back in high school and college, but an unsettling, keeps you up at night, funny feeling in my heart kind of way. There have been personal and professional challenges that I haven’t known what to do with, and I’ve felt lost. It’s the deepest feeling of confusion I can remember feeling – because I did not understand how I could be so sad and so torn when I was living out the calling that I knew God had placed on my life and my ministry. It’s hard to be confident in your faith and your work when nothing about it seems good, and when nothing about it feels anything like home.
And when the church stopped feeling like home, I stopped feeling like myself. I’ve been tired these past months – not the “I need more coffee, I didn’t sleep well” type of tired that becomes a norm for so many of us, but the kind of tired that sits somewhere between your head and your heart, taking minutes and bits of passion from things and reducing you to feeling “blah”. This type of tired is the hardest kind to shake – it’s the kind that stops you from reading, from writing, and from wanting to do really anything. It drains you in every way, and the long hiatus on this blog is proof of that.
But there has been a work happening in the past 9 months, one that I didn’t see but was in the little details and small moments. There were people who were slowly speaking life into me, reminding me of my calling and that the season I was in didn’t have to be my reality forever. There were moments where the love of my work was there, reminding me that kids are the purest and most joyful expression of faith that I will see this side of Heaven. And there were moments where I prayed, deep big scary wild prayers, and there were moments where I tried to pray and couldn’t. In all of these things, God was working, and I see that now.
I see it because I’m finally feeling like the church is home again. I’ve done my fair share of “soul searching” through the end of the summer and the start of this fall, trying to find the path that God was leading me on and figure out just where I was supposed to be. Through conversations and prayers filled with “I just don’t know what to do” and more tears than I care to admit, God lit a path with neon lights, showing me who I was and where I was going at the time that I needed it the most.
And now, church feels like home again. I’m happy to go to worship, to be a part of a body of believers, and to feel like myself again. I’m happy to create motions for Bible memory verses, to sing songs and laugh and dance and play with kids who show me what joy looks like each day. I’m happy to live into my calling with all of the gifts that God has given me for ministry, and I’m happy to be leading and learning and loving the people that God has called me to.
I’m happy to be home.