"For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ." 1 Corinthians 12 - 12
Before I continue with my church journey I wanted to take a look at how awesome the body of Christ is. No matter where I have been geographically, emotionally or spiritually I have always been a part of the body of Christ. During a dark season as a backslidden Christian when I was about 19 I first discovered the beauty of the body of Christ. I loved Jesus, I always did and always will do, but I went through a patch of unGodliness where I loved other things more. I got caught up in the party scene through a Christian friend and started drinking alcohol through that same friend. Up to that point I was a good Christian girl trying to work out my faith. Being a teenager who grew up too quickly, the pull of parties and fun was too much and I gave in. It wasn't long before I no longer attended church and was out until silly o'clock leaving my baby girl with baby sitters. I was having so much fun until one day the consequences starting to kick in, my marriage fell apart and I felt dirty inside. It was a terrible season. The partying and a boy took me away to another town where I initial went to party but then decided to clean up my act and sort my life out.
Church was the starting point, I knew that I had to find a church if I was ever going to fix my life. It was so lovely to get into a church and feel right at home. I worshipped God like I had never stopped, listened to the preaching with a hungry heart and at the end went up for prayer ministry to begin my journey back to God. Even though I was in a different town and a very different place, I was still a part of the body and fit right into the local church.
I am ashamed to say that this wasn't the only time I backslid, I have turned away from God twice in my life! The point is not how bad I have been but how amazing the body of Christ is. Each time I wanted to come back to God and fix my life I found a local church and got planted. No matter where I was there were always lovely people that welcomed me, sincere and caring people who listened to my story and patiently helped me work out the consequences of my sin so that I could get back onto the right path. I experienced this in Knysna, South Africa, Johannesbury, South Africa, Crawley, England and London, England to name but a few places where I have felt at home in church. Wherever I have been and whatever season I have been in the church has welcomed me with open arms. Each person faithfully doing what they are meant to do in the body.
"If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased." - 1 Corinthians 12: 15 - 18
I had times when I have really needed the ministry of 'the hand', to love and to offer practical support like when moving home or needing help putting up a curtain rail. This may sound silly but I know that as a part of the body I can always find practical help if I need it. The ear has been vital to my journey, all those lovely kind people who have listened. There are many examples of how the body has helped me so very much. I too have a part to play and hope that even though I have received much from many churches I have also given much so that I too have played my part in the body of Christ.
It is a beautiful and phenomenal thing and even though I am not planted in a church in this season I still feel a part of the body of Christ. One friend from a particular church came over to my home offer me comfort and a bunch of flowers, another friend from a different church spent hours listening to me pour out my soul, another friend from a different church is covering me in prayer and..... well you get the picture! We do need to be planted in a church but the body of Christ is so much bigger than that and stretches beyond the boundaries of each individual church. I don't currently feel safe or settled in a church but I do still feel a part of the beautiful body of Christ.
Thank you to all who are looking out for me as I find my way through this dark stormy season.