To gaze upon the beauty…

There was a period of time in my life when I felt lost and hopeless. I knew I believed in Jesus, but I was filled with questions and fear. I often felt too ashamed to walk into church on Sunday mornings. I have no idea why. I knew about grace. I knew that I needed a community of believers to encourage me. 
It took me an entire year of inner turmoil, praying, and seeking God’s will in this area of my life to finally find peace. For a year I went from church to church, trying to find the right friends or programs that would help me grow closer to Christ. For a year I found myself lonely, impatient, critical, and wondering if the journey would ever end. 
See, a part of me wondered if there was any true benefit of getting up on Sunday mornings to worship God or if the whole thing was blown out of proportion. I wondered if the modern movement that told me that my “personal relationship with God was enough”- was actually enough. It turned out for me that it wasn’t. I couldn’t operate solo in my faith forever. I could white-knuckle it for long enough, and then one day I would simply break down. I could feel my huge, gaping hole in my heart throbbing for something more. 
God blessed me and after a year of praying I have found a church that is like home to me. The people are not perfect. In fact, it is a total modge-podge of folks. You’ve got people in jeans and Converse and people in suits. There is evidence of Jesus’ grace everywhere I look. I feel like I can admit the truth: ten years into walking with Jesus I feel like I am just beginning to understand his grace. I am loved, spoken to in truth, and missed. 
And while all things things are important there is one thing that is happening as I am in community with others who love Jesus: my faith is growing. I feel peace, joy, contentment, and wisdom pouring into my heart as I seek the Lord, am fed spiritual nourishment from those around me, and learn more about Jesus. 
If you are in a place today where you are worn down, exhausted, ashamed, or nervous to go and dwell in the presence of God my heart goes out to you. I have been there many times. My encouragement is to pray to God alone for encouragement. Read the scripture that reminds us over and over of our real needs- spiritual needs, and that God alone provides those for us. Cling to truths, ignore the lies. Reach out to someone who loves the Lord and can hold your hand during this time. 
My soul yearns more and more as the days press on to dwell in the house of the Lord and for my heart to gaze upon his beauty. I look forward to it daily, and especially on Sundays when I have a special time set apart to truly rest in my salvation. I find rest in his word and even if the world around me spins out of control, my heart can find stillness in Jesus. 

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