Finding My Way
It’s been a few months since I have sat in a church. The two times I have shown up were to rock the babies, change the diapers, and wipe little noses so that the moms and dads could sing the hymns and hear the word, but I have not warmed a seat myself. This has been a choice. I’ve pulled away for many reasons that I cannot write about. Reasons that don’t have much to do with God or anything else that can be talked about here. This is the longest I’ve been away. I want to be there. I just don’t know how.
I rocked another baby this Sunday. Tears rolled down her apple cheeks as she called for “Mama”. I sat and rocked and held her bottle to her quivering lips even though she could hold it for herself. It felt good to help. It is holy work when we comfort. And as I heard the faint sound of hymns filling the rented high school theater on the other side of the cinderblock wall, I myself wanted to whimper. Perhaps my rocking and bottle holding were more for me than her. I felt like a baby longing for the return of her mother. My absent mother is the church.
I suppose I could get myself up this Sunday morning. I could force my kids into their daytime wears and remind them to brush and gel and tie their shoes. I could endure the complaining about having to leave the house and the arguing over who is sitting in which seat. But I won’t. I need space.
I haven’t left the church.
These are my people and they always will be. I still walk, eat, and pray with them. We still send texts and hugs and do all the proper family stuff. I haven’t walked away from God or the family. I just haven’t walked through the doors.
It’s been a hard year. A year that has asked too many questions. A year with very few answers. A year in which my idea of church and ministry has been blitzed. Unfaithfulness, backstabbing, misrepresentations, flattery, public shaming and more have been the theme in more than one situation. And instead of the comfort and the safety that I’ve needed, church has felt like one big platitude. Triteness doesn’t answer my “why’s”. Perhaps nothing will.
I used to think that God made bad things happen. Or in proper reformed Christianese, God “allows” bad things to happen. I used to think it was all part of a master plan to teach me a lesson. I’m questioning that now too. I believe that God has grieved every one of the hurts of this past year. I believe that God is love and that he doesn’t really want it all to fall apart just so that I can “grow”. He wants goodness and gentleness to be our theme.
He wants wholeness and redemption. And so do I.
One thing that I know for certain is that Jesus has been in the midst of the mess. Right there, smack dab in the middle of all of the crappy lies. All of the miscommunications. All of the disintegration. Sitting there weeping with those who weep. And at the same time he is right in the middle announcing that evil will not prevail, that it is he who will have the last word, and that redemption will come. I am carefully watching and waiting to see Jesus do what he does best.
I know what the Bible says. My theology is strong. I can give you all the verses. I know God wants me in his house with his people. I know why I held back sobs when I heard the music start on Sunday morning. I know why I take the kids to get donuts on the days that we don’t show up. I know where I belong but I want to know why I belong there. I know the theological why, but I want to know the Kimm why.
Why do I get up early every Sunday morning, wash my hair, blow dry, straighten, put on my face, change outfits three times, pull kids from the television, check to make sure they are wearing underwear and make sure the little dude’s hair is gelled? Why do I drive across town, climb the stairs to my seat in the furthest corner to avoid the perfume lady, and hush my children the way I do? Why do I sit and listen and pray and sing? Why am I there? Is it just because it’s what I do? Is it because I am afraid to do anything else? Am I there because I need to be or because I have to be?
I am searching for an answer. Not the typical Christian answer. Not another platitude. A real answer. One that I can hold onto and know that it won’t fail me. One that isn’t another should in my life. Part of my wandering is sorting through the platitudes to see what Jesus and the church really are. Because it seems that maybe I have been all wrong.
I want to go back for nothing other than Jesus.
I don’t know when I’ll be back but I know I will. I know that church is for those that love God and as my aunt said when speaking about her own journey, “I will go soon. My love for the Lord will make me.”