Still Haven’t Found What I’ve Barely Looked For

April 4, 2011

It’s been two years since I made the painful decision to change churches, flip flopped around on the issue, then decided that my church wasn’t so bad, and it seems like forever.  (Heck, I first started this post a year ago!) My first couple of weeks back I was excited and happy to be there, but it didn’t take long for the old feelings to come flooding back to me. 

There have been so many incidents that made me start to really question my future at my home church.  I’ll spare you the boring details, but my kids were getting absolutely no age approporoiate spiritual education, I was not being filled spiritually, and I felt nothing but disdain for my fellow church memebers for a variety of reasons. 

I think the icing on the cake happened in the fall of 2009.  Karate boy contracted a nasty case of salmonella, which landed him in the hospital for 6 days, Wednesday-Saturday.  During that time we got no cards, calls, flowers, meals, or any type of support from our church family, unless you count 3 facebook comments saying, “hope he feels better soon”.  Our pastor visited us once in the hospital and called one other time to check on him, but that was it.  Fortunately my family, co-workers, and outside of church friends provided emotional and physical support, offering to stay with Karate boy, keep sir sweats alot overnight, or just bring us whatever we needed to the hospital.  While it may be true that family is obligated to help you out during difficult times, that’s not so with friends and co-workers.  I stayed with KB during 5 of those 6 days and nights, and I had alot of time to think, which was good and bad.  I couldn’t help but notice that my co-workers, who I had only known for less than 2 years and had never seen or met KB, called to check on us and offer to bring supplies every day, while his own Sunday School teachers and church family did nothing.  I also couldn’t help but notice how my bestie Brian and his honey called and emailed despite having very busy schedules that week, and most of the members of my church would write them off entirely because of what they are.  I can’t even begin to explain how hurt, disapointed  and alone I felt and still feel over the situation.  Every time anyone is sick in our church I send a card, at the very least.  Many times I fix a meal, however when I needed it, it seemed like nobody cared.  After talking with some people that attend other churches, and hearing their stories of how their church family has really come through for them in times of need, I was jealous, and ready to move on. 

KB retunred from the hospital on a Saturday, and J and I had discussed our severe disapointment in our congregation, and I had decided it was time for us to move on.  We agreed to take that next day off, to get KB well, and try a new church the next week.  Sunday morning KB awoke and BEGGED us to go to church.   So we did.  And I cried for the entire 2 hours we were there.  I’m not just talking about a few tears either, I’m talking full on bawling, complete with sobs and the inability to catch my breath.  When I confided to a few close friends as well as our pastor what the problem was, one of those people had the audacity to tell me that:  “people are just too busy now days”.  That logic really hit me the wrong way for a variety of reasons.  Primarily because just a couple of weeks before Karate Boy’s hospitalization I had taken an amazing dietary approporiate meal to the home of  a couple that had been in a car accident and are on special diets.  That particular week I had worked 50 plus hours at my job, countless more at home, and was dead on my feet.  However, I knew that couple was struggling with their future in our church, and feeling hurt by how they got support from only a select few during the loss of their grandchild the year before, and I didn’t want my inability to come to their aid to be the reason they left our church.  To hear that other people were “too busy” to help me out really pissed me off.  But I eventually made an attempt to suck up my bitterness, and gave “my” church another second chance. 

In March of  last year, something changed for me, and I really don’t know what it was, but sitting there one Sunday, filled with so much bitterness and hard feelings, just like so many weeks before, I knew that I just couldn’t worship there anymore.  I just knew.  It wasn’t like the other times, I knew that this time, this was it.  And it was. 

At home that evening I told J that we simply had to find another place to worship.  The next week we went to church at my sister’s new home church, and we really didn’t like it.  The next week was Easter, and due to the myraid of family obligations we didn’t go to church, too much to do.  Ironic isn’t it?  Even people who don’t go to church very often usually manage to go on Easter. 

That Sunday began a trend, and obligations, the idea of a Sunday off, and yes, fear kept us from going to any church for the next 6 or so weeks.  When Sunday is your only day off, spending it doing what you want to do rather than fighting with your kids for 2 hours in a place where you are all miserable is rather inticing.  Every week we would talk about where we were going to visit, but we never managed to do so.  Sunday as a family day was much more fitting than Sunday as a worship day. 

It was around this time when I discovered the Christian Rock band Casting Crowns.  They were preforming locally and, although I wasn’t that familiar with their music, I really wanted to go.  In preperation for the concert I downloaded 20 or so of their songs and put them on my MP3 player.  One day at work I put only their music on shuffle for a couple of hours, and I liked it.  “Praise You In This Storm” espically spoke to me.  After listening solely to them until the songs were repeating and threepeating themselves, I returned my settings to, “shuffle all”. 

A few days later, I was feeling quite fragile.  My inferiority complex was rearing it’s ugly head, and as I worked, reflecting on my church situation, the old feelings were creeping up on me.  The voices in my head said, “All churches have their issues”, “It’s really not that bad”, and most loudly, “You will never be accepted anywhere else”.  As I thought on these things I heard something new through my earbuds, something about a comfort zone and being laughed at, and I was intrigued.  I re-started that track, and listened carefully.  What I discovered was a previously undiscovered (t0 me) Casting Crowns track, “The Voice Of Truth”:

Oh,what I would do to have
the kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I’m in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown
Where Jesus is,
And he’s holding out his hand

But the waves are calling out my name
and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I’ve tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
time and time again
“Boy, you’ll never win,
You you’ll never win

But the Voice of truth tells me a different story
the Voice of truth says “do not be afraid!”
and the Voice of truth says “this is for My glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

Oh, what I would do
to have the kind of strength it takes
To stand before a giant
with just a sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound
of a thousand warriors
shaking in their armor
Wishing they’d have had the strength to stand

But the giant’s calling out
my name and he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times
I’ve tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
time and time again
“Boy you’ll never win,
you’ll never win.”

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
the Voice of truth says “do not be afraid!”
and the Voice of truth says “this is for My glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

But the stone was just the right size
to put the giant on the ground
and the waves they don’t seem so high
from on top of them looking down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
when I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
singing over me

But the Voice of truth tells me a different story
The Voice of truth says “do not be afraid!”
And the Voice of truth says “this is for my glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me (calling out to me)
I will choose to listen and believe (I will choose to listen and believe)
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

It’s been a year now, and I can honestly say that this song changed my life.  It still makes no sense to me why it didn’t come up on my mp3 player when it had it set to just play Casting Crowns songs.  It came to my earbuds amist 1,000 songs, at just the right time.  The waves and the giants stopped calling out my name and laughing at me, reminding me of all the times I tried and failed.  I fought the urges to go back to my home church.  I stepped out of my comfort zone and I’m incredibly happy.  The giant still calls me every now and then, but I know how to fight him now!

2 Responses to “Still Haven’t Found What I’ve Barely Looked For”

  1. Brian Says:

    Great post, Alyson!! Don’t you just love it when a song comes into your life at the perfect moment? That’s one of the reasons that I think most music is divinely-inspired.

  2. […] never blessed me with personally.  We’ve laughed alot and cried a little.  When I had my convulsing crying episode at my old church, it was Marie who consoled me first.  When I left that church it was Bret who sat with me in my […]

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