this has been the quest of my year, deep down under it all. to find (or create) a space that is "church" for me.
because the walls i was being held in by were not giving life. and i need life.
i stopped attending the church campus we helped to plant two years prior, in february. and i have had criticisms, pleas, and eye-rolls my direction. but never a "what you believe God is leading you into is valid." i only intended to stay away a few weeks, take a breather, get my feet under me, begin to exercise my voice and learn to hear His over Theirs. but the cacophony of their responses has made it feel unsafe for my tender places, so for now, i have stayed away.
but i have needed the body. and i have found the body. i see incarnate love every single day in this space i have found, this online community that refuses to settle for being less than jesus-with-skin-on. i see women loving each other and loving jesus and wrestling their way through the hardest of questions TOGETHER. i have seen people held, and people called out to live courageously into their calling when they were hesitating. we sit with each other in pain, and dance through each others' delights.
we are a varied fabric, woven hopelessly together, for better or worse, so that we are bound to love each other.
i didn't create this space, but i am part of its church. i bring my heart to the table as they bring theirs, and we thrash, and are never alone.
there are pastors among us, offering "church in the wild" for ones who need words of life poured in. and really, that is what we are always offering each other. words of life. we are seeing each other. and we offer our selves, our own courage and hope and light for the others to catch when theirs is failing. we are moving ever closer to our purposes and the One who gave them, each unique.
we wrestle through hard things like family and the bible and feminism and modesty culture and what happens when you have to leave church? (you find church, in the wild).
somehow we all bring more of our deep selves to this space, pieces we wouldn't dare unveil to the ones who have touched us and judged us even so.
this is a beautiful, amazing thing, this space that is shepherded by ones who love us, who see us deeply.
at its core, church is worship and community.
and, ideally, that community would be able to give hugs, and come over and hold my baby while i nap after a particularly sleepless night, or i could drop one kid off for a playdate while i take the other one in for shots. we could borrow things from each other and share fresh-baked and brewed kind of love. we could dread each others' hair.
i have hope for this kind of tactile community one day, but i wish everyone had a safe and beautiful space like the one i have found.
i wouldn't trade it for anything.