My Ink Dance

Discovering Extraordinary Grace in an Ordinary Life

How I Went Back To Church, Part I

It wasn’t that long ago that I was spiritually homeless. I had my faith, held it tight, or loose depending on the day. But it never left. I never let it go. Church was a different story.

I never meant to leave. Church just moved further and further down the list of things I wanted to do. It felt hard and uncomfortable and like so much work. The season of 3 in car seats wore me out, and the show on the church stage wasn’t working in my real life.

I faded into the background and eventually disappeared from church.

But there is an important distinction between church the institution and church the body. While I may not have attended services I was always, and will always be part of the body, the bride, the people who love God. I had gone from the church of my youth and the idolization of an institution to feeling like part of the body wandering the desert.

I was not spiritually lost, but I was homeless. Click To Tweet

I had become hard to the idea of church, but then God started working in me, softening me. So I did what I felt right, I fought Him. I gave Him every excuse. Found reason after reason not to put my heart out there again. I fought daily and weekly and monthly. Until I realized one thing:

God loves the church, even in all her imperfections, so very deeply. Click To Tweet

How could I hate something God loved? 

So I told my people we were going to church. Met with shock, moans, and a seed of hope we stepped out and visited a new church. Now this is where I want to write how amazing it was and how we fit right in and it had everything we needed and we felt at home.

But it was awful.

My husband and I left wide-eyed silently vowing never to go back there again. We knew it wasn’t right for us. I almost hoped that would be the final answer and we would let it go, content with our homelessness. But even that awful church experience stirred a desire in us to find something that did feel right.

***

Don’t miss the rest of the story! More posts in the series:

How I Went Back to Church, Part II

The Church Project, Part I


Sharing words with these great writers today!

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About Becky Hastings

I am emotional and logical. I am strong and dependent. I am a juxtaposition of head and heart exploring it all through writing. And in all my mixed-up ways I am loved. I’m here to tell you that you are, too. Just the way you are.

28 Replies

  1. Looking forward to hearing the rest of the story, and so glad to know that you made it back! Wow – 3 car seats. The most we ever had was 2, I think.

    1. Becky Hastings

      Thank you Michele. I’m glad too! And yes, 3! I think having 3 kids in 3 1/2 years presented a special set of challenges (and blessings!)

  2. “I was not spiritually lost but I was homeless.” Been there, done that, got several tee shirts. I can say with great peace and joy, we found our place and have corporately worshiped there for almost 15 years.! There is hope.

    1. Becky Hastings

      YES! I love this. Especially the Tee Shirts! Ha!

  3. I’m glad you have a home. I’m looking forward to hearing the rest of the story. Thanks for linking up at #ThreeWordWednesday.

    1. Becky Hastings

      Thank you Kristin…it’s becoming a home of sorts 🙂

  4. We had 3 car seats too…a cliff-hanger? are you kidding me? ….alright you got me…I wanna know how it ends…. Linkup at threewordwednesday

    1. Becky Hastings

      LOL! Thanks Liz! And those 3 car seats….whew! Glad I’m out of that stage (as beautifully messy as it was!)

    2. I know, right?! 🙂
      It reminds me of when I was a kid and we didn’t have a tv, and I would get all involved in a story on a friend’s tv only to find “continued next week” at the end. Oh well, at least this time I can come back next week and read the ending. When I was a kid, I never got to see those endings.
      Well written story. I want to know the ending!

      1. Becky Hastings

        🙂 I’m glad you came back!

  5. I love that line “Spiritually Homeless”.

    1. Becky Hastings

      Can I tell you a secret? It’s my favorite line. 🙂 Thank you!

  6. I’m glad you didn’t give up the search, Becky. I can’t wait to read the rest of the story. 🙂

    1. Becky Hastings

      Thanks Lois! It’s on it’s way Monday bright & early!

  7. Ohh, the suspense! Can’t wait to hear the rest of the story. — “Church shopping” is so hard, isn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s often hard to find a house of God where we feel at home. So glad you found something, and can’t wait to read about it. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your heart with #ChasingCommunity. ((xoxo))

    1. Becky Hastings

      LOL Thank you Brenda. I just knew it was too much to stuff into one post 🙂

  8. Looking forward to the rest, Becky : )

    1. Becky Hastings

      🙂 Thanks friend!

  9. I cannot wait to read more! I’m part of a church plant team right now and I’m totally intrigued with why people choose the church they do and want makes them feel welcome and what encourages them to come back next Sunday. Blessings, friend!

    1. Becky Hastings

      Yay! So glad you’re finding this helpful! It’s interesting to see how we all have these experiences and how we handle them in relation to this big idea of church. So glad you’re here 🙂

  10. Thank you for sharing so openly. God bless you!

    1. Becky Hastings

      Thanks Valerie!

  11. Because I have an inkling of where you are going with this story, I am eager to hear the rest of it. And because, I too, have a similar confession of homelessness in the figurative address of a church but permanent residence in the literal body of His Church… I understand how hard the journey can be. I don’t think church was ever supposed to be that hard, but when I realize in terms of living life with people in my home…sinful people like me… I am more and more convinced that we ought to learn to expect grace in church. I needed to start with expecting it from me first. 🙂

    Blessings,
    Dawn

    1. Becky Hastings

      YES! You are so right Dawn. Somehow we expect the people in the church to be sinless….but then there’s me. And the reality that every single member of the body is human. Grace, grace, grace!

  12. Dori P

    been there too. thought my church family was, well, my church family. they were when we volunteered, attended when the doors were open, participated in bible studies, and moms’ groups. but something was missing. had 100s of friendships an inch deep but none a mile long.

    hardest part about retreating from church was the pain and realization those 100 friendships didn’t come after me. i’m in a better frame of mind now. thankfully. love those people. never stopped. but that was a painful experience.

    1. Becky Hastings

      Oh Dori. I understand that pain. I love how you describe the pain connection to those 100 friendships not coming after you. So grateful you kept loving and found your way. Grace upon grace!

  13. Fran

    Awesome post Becky. Its unique. I didn’t think anyone would really talk about that. Keep sharing like you do. You are a blessing.

    1. Becky Hastings

      Thank you so much! I love talking about the things people tend to shy away from 😉

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