I attended two church services on Sunday. One, from the comfort of my own bed with Brody nestled against me – if you follow me on Instagram (@thisidylliclife), you likely saw my post. Embrace, our beloved church in Sioux Falls, launched a new online campus at their Winter Kickoff last weekend. It. Was. Incredible. Seriously, I’m so annoying about it, but I just LOVE that church. Later that morning, Dave and I went to New Life. To be honest, I had been struggling feeling like New Life was home. It felt too big, too overwhelming, too different. At Embrace, I felt like I knew everyone on a personal level – and it’s not a small church by any stretch of the imagination. I loved the building and felt so at home there. We’ve made great friends at New Life, but I’d been feeling so far away and so distanced from it.
I mean, gosh, I’m not friends with the bulk of the worship team and staff, and I haven’t had coffee meet-ups with the pastor. We sit toward the back and I need my glasses to even come close to seeing anyone in the front. The building is HUGE and I don’t know where the bathroom is. I could ask. Or look. But that’s beside the point. That’s good reason to not feel like I belong, right? If I can’t even find my way around, it MUST NOT be the place for me, right?!
On Sunday, New Life felt different. I sang along to all the songs, I laughed at the pastor’s message, I got caught up with new friends I hadn’t seen since before the holidays. Something clicked in me and I stopped seeing New Life as a giant building filled with a community I didn’t know. Yesterday, it was simply a gathering place for the Lord’s broken people. It was a refuge and shelter. It was a home. I hardly noticed the crowds of worshipers surrounding me, while at the same time, saw every single one of them for exactly who they are – hurting, rejoicing, faithful followers of God. All those people I don’t know are no different than I am and the massive building I don’t recognize is just that – a building.
I will always love Embrace and it will always be my first real church home. Pastor Adam often spoke (and likely still does because it is so so so true!) about how the church is so much more than the building. I thought I got that until I realized I didn’t because now I finally do. Did you follow that? 🙂 I’m growing and learning so much about what it means to be a follower of Christ. I let myself become distanced from Him because I had to worship Him in a different building. So many things constantly change – the people, the buildings, the messages. I finally get it though, that the one constant is God’s steadfast love – regardless of where you go to praise Him. I could be in a rundown shack, in my childhood church or my favorite church or my new church, on the road, in my home, or in the wild, surrounded by mountains and trees, and He is still there. He is everywhere.
That’s pretty incredible.