It hit me during communion. I had been on a Women's Retreat with other ladies from my church over the weekend and now I was home and enjoying the worship service on Sunday night. I have been worshiping at the same church for almost 4 years, but due to the distance between our home and the church as well as work obstacles I hadn't been able to get plugged in and serve. At least that was the story I had been telling myself.
God has been taking me down a path of discovery and of self awareness and, honestly, it hasn't been a fun journey. It's felt a little like being on a roller coaster with no seat belt. My heart has sunk to new lows as I acknowledged a sense of loneliness that had been chewing on me for some time. I have felt guilt, remorse and every other word that describes regret as I recognized my own part in the distance I have created from this body of believers. Then in an upward thrill on the roller coaster I have felt God forgive my selfishness and fill me with his presence to ease the loneliness. Fear then peace. Down and up and then up and down. And at times during the last several months when I've felt too weak to hold on, God would place His hands on my shoulders and remind me that I wasn't going to fly out of the car, He would see to it that I stayed in my seat.
The weekend retreat was the result of a divine intervention and because of that I went eagerly to see what God was going to do. I have been to enough retreats and camps to know that I would connect with someone and come home with a friend. But, of course, God's plans are always more grand than our own. I came home connected to many women. I was able to have small moments with several different women. I made one friend who was designed to be the friend to the wife of a pastor--and hopefully, I've been designed to be her friend as well. The part of me that has been holding back was slapped gently across the face in a way that only the Holy Spirit can do and I came home confident in the power of God to work in my life and make me a better servant. My weekend was overflowing--beyond my expectations.
At the Sunday evening service I looked around and the faces that I had seen before and suddenly they had names to go with them, I no longer felt fearful as the roller coaster moved along the track. God had already been showing me He could provide peace during the scary times, but I had forgotten that He also provides people.
I took my bread and placed it on my lips and whispered to myself, "This is your body..."
And my eyes welled up with heartfelt tears. THIS IS YOUR BODY. These people are your body and they are here for me. I am your body and I am here for someone! As a body of believers we are here for each other. WE are the hands to minister to the weak and hurting, we are the voice that tells the lost of His Kingdom and we are also the arms to hug one another. God has allowed me the chance to be in this body to experience the arms around me and for me to be the arms around someone as well.
I know that being involved in ministry and serving is not going to save me from feeling the downward fall of the roller coaster. I've served in other churches and I know that serving the Lord is a ride like no other. But, I won't be alone on the ride! God's body of believers will be riding with me. I also don't know all the ways that God will use me in this body, but I do know this: the best part about riding on a roller coaster is I don't have to steer. God has taken care of the destination and I just need to be in the car and ready to go.