I'm back from a fantastic morning at church feeling blessed, happy and uplifted. I have had fun, laughter, touches from God, on point teaching and met some new people. I am a very different person from the one who got out of bed this morning.
To be honest, I wasn't particularly looking forward to church today. I was feeling sad and lonely. A few weeks ago my daughter decided she doesn't want to come to church any more, my husband hasn't been for years and my Mum was ill and couldn't come today. I felt out on a limb, a lonely island within my family. I only went this morning because I knew I would be missed if I didn't. You see I know I am important in my fellowship, just as Peter wrote in the last blog entry here. Each of us is dearly loved and needed in our currently small fellowship - valued for our presence as well as for the roles we fulfill and the gifts we bring.
Thank goodness I came or I would have missed out on such immense blessing. We had five visitors today - some we knew, some we had not met before. It was so lovely to have them with us. One lady shared with us during the worship about how the Lord supplies everything we need. She told us it was the first time she had felt confident enough to speak in a non-Chinese speaking church. What a privilege that on first meeting she felt so relaxed with us, in our little church family. It was one of those days when the 'preach' has been prepared and then ripped up and re-written because God has a clear message he wants to give. The same with the choice of worship songs which the Lord waited and gave to Mark after he had changed the direction of Peter's teaching. Neither discussed what the other was doing but it all flowed together, the same message coming through. I love it when God does that, though it must be a little nerve wracking for the ones doing the leading!
Two of our guests could not stay for our shared lunch, but three did. Again, how wonderful that they felt so relaxed despite meeting us for the first time. We spent hours together chatting, sharing food, talking about work and home and finding that we had an acquaintance in common - me from university days and one guest from his church in Birmingham. It was then that it hit me...
I know God's people are my family - I know that in my head. Today though my heart and my spirit truly knew it. I laughed so much and felt more relaxed then I ever have before in a church setting. Unusually for me I didn't once think, 'I wish my husband and daughter were with me', I was enjoying everyone's company too much. There was no jealousy that others had their earthly families with them too because I WAS with my family. That's a big deal for me and a big deal for other people out there. Whether you already have a family or not, there is such a huge welcome waiting at our little fellowship. I felt it so strongly today and I believe our visitors did too. That's why they shared a meal with people who were once strangers but are no longer so. Thank you Lord, for the day and the timing.
"God places the lonely [solitary] in families." Psalm 68:6