I didn't always feel that way though, and that certainly wasn't what my Grandparents instilled in me. He was a life long, well respected Pastor, and my Grandmother served right beside him and loved Jesus with her whole heart.
From infancy to age 14, we attended church regularly. My father was a youth pastor, and my mother served in the Children's Ministry. I accepted God's salvation through His son, Jesus when I was 10 years old. I loved, valued, and treasured my church family and my extended family who worshiped at the same church. My happiest childhood memories are from that time.
And then, one day...
Everything - Church, Family, Devotions - all of it.
It has since remained one of the most painful, deeply buried, most detrimental things of my youth.
From that point on, I would always get very defensive when someone would say that I couldn't be a Christian if I did not attend a church. To be honest, I thought that was ridiculous. Even from a very early age, I knew that relationships with God were very personal, intimate, and constant. God still loved me, listened to my prayers and forgave me of my sins by the blood of His Son. That defensiveness grew and grew and grew until I had a very angst filled opinion of such establishments.
I also held some very bitter feelings to what I deemed as "Church People". Having abruptly lost all of the church family I held dear with very little explanation, I started to buy the hype that it was their fault that all of that was taken from me. As a child, that loss was traumatic, and I held on to those warped ideas for a very long time.
Very Recently - Something Wonderful happened.
God exercised His Power, and Jesus poured out his love on my family. Wil and I realized that the only way we are going to make it in this world, is to return and never leave the arms of our loving Heavenly Father. He doesn't hand over the "Easy Button", but He does promise to guide us every step of the way.
Then, I had a realization - an epiphany - if you will.
Come close, I'll tell you. Here is the deal on church:
You go to church because you love Jesus and when you really love him - you want to go. You want to worship. You want to learn. You want to grow. You want to honor him. Church helps you do that. You can't leave that part out of it, not because it "makes" you a Christian, but because if you love Jesus, why wouldn't you go?
It's not easy for me - the social side to church overwhelms me (to put it lightly), and the enemy hurls accusations, insults and apprehensions with all his might as I walk through those doors. . But, the moment we sit down, I know that I am there to honor my Lord, and the King of all Kings and that with time, God will heal all of those wounds.
For the first time in 17 years, I want to be known as a "Church Girl" not only a "Jesus Girl".