I have thought about finding a place to worship for so long. Like years. When I got divorced 5 years ago, my search turned into a need for a place to heal. I visited my friends' large, charismatic church. They loved it there and encouraged me to join them. It was held in a converted factory, not your average setting for worship, but I gave it a shot. It never felt right. The word there was uplifting and the work they did in the community was tremendous but I never felt like I fit in. I felt like I wasn't the right kind of person to be a member there, I couldn't check the right boxes on their visitor's form. I wasn't married with kids.
One Sunday I decided to be brave and make a solo visit to a church near my home. Even though I was raised Baptist and the last church I attended regularly was Lutheran, I wanted to see what this Methodist church was all about. I loved that it was part of my neighborhood and that like the church I grew up in, it was within walking distance of my house. The minute I crossed the threshold, I knew it was right. As scary as it was to step in there by myself, sitting there in that pew without anyone by my side I didn't feel alone. I felt God's presence in that place like I had never felt it before in a house of worship. I felt like God was giving me a big hug and saying welcome. Worship here with me.
I love my church. I look forward to Sunday mornings, to be in the beautiful sanctuary with the awe-inspiring stained glass windows and the rock walls that were hand placed there by members of the congregation some 70 years ago. I have also sat in that sanctuary on a Tuesday or Thursday during my lunch hour, the space lit only by the sun coming through those windows, searching for that hug from God to tell me that things will be all right. It is in this place of worship that I found hope. Hope that has alluded me for years. No one has ever asked whether I'm single or married, if I have kids or not, they have just welcomed me into their community. No boxes to check, no category to fit in, they have simple passed the peace of God to me at a time when I needed to feel that peace more than anything. It is here that I am learning to worship life again and to trust that in worshiping God, I will find the healing I've been searching for.