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Contently Walking Into Church- Single on the First Sunday of 2019

As I walked into church with my friend Bilicia today- the first Sunday of the new year- I reflected on all the different ways I had walked into church (and when I didn’t) over my life.

When I was a little girl, my best friend Shauna always talked about church. My mother was a Christian, but we didn’t go to church very often- although my mom had a church home in Bolivar. I asked if we could go more, and we did. Nearly every Sunday we made the maybe 30 minute drive from Jackson to Bolivar usually stopping at Walgreen’s to pick up a pair of stockings because either my mom, my sisters, or I had a run in ours.

So we- my mom, my two sisters and two brothers, myself and sometimes my stepdad- walked into church together. For the most part at least. Our family wasn’t perfect by any means, but we were together -at least then.

After I got pregnant at 15, I waddled into church then soon walked in carrying my baby.  Often with my head down and sometimes with an embarrassed smile on my face. Some of the judgmental stares eventually faded, and I walked into that same church until I moved away for college.

I was blessed to have friends who shared my faith (although we were not angels by any means), and we found a new church to walk into. The youth pastor of the church we attended had drawn in lots of college students, and we made it most…well many…Sundays.

When I graduated from college, I visited several churches and a friend/co-worker from my days at the Memphis Grizzlies even started a great church that I attended pretty frequently with my son. A few years later I got a boyfriend (which was rare for me) and he introduced me to his church. The pastor was my youth pastor from my college years, and I felt great there. I also felt great walking in with my boyfriend and my son. I felt like I had a complete family and a future. We even walked in holding hands!

Well, that future was short-lived, and that relationship had a dramatic yet drawn-out and necessary end. Then I started making the drive across town to church with only my son to pick up two of my friends who had also gone to church with me in college. They lived near the church, and we all walked in together.

One night after Bible study, I was approached by a man and his friend selling candles. The details of that story are in my first book, but we started dating. And I soon walked into church with him and my son thinking that maybe I’d one day walk into church with him as my husband. 

And two years later I did. However, it wasn’t like I expected. When he did walk in with me, he walked so fast ahead of me that I had to nearly run to keep up. And he had stopped holding my hand long before. But most often, he didn’t even walk in with me because he didn’t go.

I continued walking into the church with my son by side though. I bought the message on DVD’s and encouraged him to listen, and I kept walking into church and even up to the alter.

A year later he was no longer my husband, I was struggling with my son, I was moving and starting all over, and I questioned why I was even still walking into the church. That internal struggle continued, and my dedication to going to church faded even when I moved into my apartment closer to the church.

But as the struggle continued, I realized that was even more reason for me to be in the presence of God and to hear his Word and be reminded of his promises. In the midst of my hurt, pain, loss, and suffering, I knew restoration was coming for me. I had dreamed of walking into church with my complete family, but I learned to be content and feel complete regardless of my circumstances.

So I started walking into church again, now with my teenage son. Many times he probably didn’t want to go or just not with me, but we went. And I received what I needed and gave what I could.

When my son moved away, I continued to walk into church. Sometimes I was alone and sometimes I met up with friends. It’s been nearly six years, and I still drive to church alone. I think of my son and the man I thought would be in the picture walking into church with me. With us.

But rather being sad, I am grateful for my journey. I’m blessed to now truly know myself and blessed to be able to enjoy my own company. So whether I am sitting alone at church- sometimes a bit envious of the seemingly happy couples (hopefully they are) but remembering my own “happy in public couple” moments. Or sitting with a friend grateful for the blessing of true, long-lasting friendship.

I feel joy when I walk into church.

This morning when I woke up, I didn’t even consider NOT going to church.

In 2018 I experienced new as well as ongoing challenges, but I also had the biggest breakthrough I had ever experienced as an entrepreneur with earning more in one year than I had in the past four years combined.

So I got up earlier than expected and sent a routine text to Bilicia, “You going to church today?” For the past several years, whoever got up first reached out to other to ask the question.

This year, I’m choosing to make it an expectation rather than a question. But whether I am walking into my church, someone else’s, or worshiping wherever I am, I choose to be grateful for where I am in life. Even when I am walking alone.

How can you change your perspective on disappointments in your life to give you contentment in your current situation?

No More Excuses

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