Getting Through a Storm
Have you ever felt God was dumping stress on you with one shit show after another? Yeah. Me, too. It got to the point (when I thought I couldn’t handle ONE MORE THING) I looked up at the sky, smirked, and said, “Ok… I got this. Not sure why you’re giving me all this, but You must have a plan!”
I went through what I’ve come to learn many Christians call a storm or a difficult season. It was a season so difficult that I found myself crying out to God. Literally. But I had given up on church years prior because it was boring, the service took too long, and rarely did I leave with the guidance or inspiration I was seeking (but I did leave with my wallet a lot lighter!)
I grew up Catholic and had ’bouts’ of attending church, mostly out of guilt or when my soul felt a bit dehydrated, hoping some Holy water and a good sermon would do the trick for another few months. During my rough season, my then-husband asked if I wanted to try out his church. When he told me which one, I responded, “Wait, isn’t that the ‘cult’ church?” It was a non-denominational church that felt more like a concert than a church. Instead of pews filled with “Ssshhing” moms, people were standing, singing, and raising their hands up in praise … oh, and drinking coffee! I felt like I was sinning just by being in the place. But, my season was beginning to feel like an ongoing Category 5 hurricane. I was desperate. So, I went reluctantly, and the next thing I knew, I was in tears. I felt like the pastor was speaking directly to me. Whoa. The black hole that was my soul just got a flicker of light. Suddenly I felt understood. I felt heard. I felt LOVED — an unconditional love where I felt accepted for exactly who I was, faults and all. I was hooked.
Here’s my take on why these churches get the reputation of being a ‘cult.’ First, they’re non-denominational. Most of us grew up faithfully serving a specific denomination — similar to growing up in a household with one political affiliation — we wouldn’t even THINK of switching! Second, there’s an intensity that is typically uncharacteristic in many churches. They are SO INTO IT! Raising their hands, proclaiming out loud their conviction in the pastor’s words, the music, and just their unabashed enthusiasm!
Only because I’ve become one of those people do I feel I can offer some insight into that enthusiasm. When you walk into a place feeling completely broken, alone, void of hope, and then that place becomes the sole source for not only feeling loved and becoming whole again but for transforming you into the person you knew you were meant to be, yeah, you tend to be enthusiastic. So enthusiastic that you want to share that feeling with EVERYONE possible. It was like my heart was getting a big bear hug every Sunday. I was the absolute best version of myself on Sundays. Eventually, going to church on Sundays wasn’t enough. I went from being hooked to being addicted. I couldn’t get enough. I wanted this feeling EVERY day.
Then, one day, I walked into a Hobby Lobby for the first time. If you haven’t been, Hobby Lobby was founded by a preacher’s son, and the company prides itself on its Christian values. I never knew! So imagine my JOY as I walked around with SO many faith-based crafts and home decor accessories!! I had recently moved and needed decorations for the house and left with a cart FULL. I couldn’t get enough! My home looks like Hobby Lobby threw up – in almost every room. (This pic is just ONE counter in my kitchen) 😉
One of my favorite purchases was these three square barn wood frames I hung in my bedroom and see every morning.
Grace: Unmerited mercy; pardon. “Out of His fullness, we have all received grace upon grace.” John 1:16
Faith: Complete trust; belief without proof. “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive if you have faith.” Matthew 21:22
Hope: A feeling of confident trust. “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:12
Faith, religion, and spirituality are all incredibly personal. Not everyone believes in the same God. But whoever (or whatever) it is you ask for guidance, I hope this page will be useful in your journey.